OLDHAM Athletic's youth team put in a valiant effort but suffered defeat in their first pre-season friendly, away to North West Counties side Winsford United.

Latics have had a late start to their summer programme due to Covid restrictions and a number of players, including new pro Harry Vaughan, having to isolate.

Nevertheless, Oli Havens got the young Latics off to a good start as he latched on to Kane Badby's throughball and finished well from a tight angle.

But the celebrations were short-lived as Winsford's Steve Jenyons converted amid a goalmouth scramble before Joe Duckworth put the home side in front with close range finish on the half-hour.

To their credit, Latics refused to let their heads drop against their more experienced opponents and made it 2-2 before the break.

Jake Forshaw sent a deft chip over goalkeeper Mike Langley after getting on the end of Vaughan's measured pass from midfield before the break.

But that was not the end of the first-half action as Duckworth headed Winsford back in front with his second of the night.

The young Latics showed real endeavour in the second half, and played some bright attacking football.

They were rewarded when Isaac Modi sent a low shot from distance into the bottom right corner in the 68th minute.

A draw would have been a deserved result for Latics, but D'arcy O’Connor grabbed a late winner for Winsford with three minutes to go, despite late pressure from the visitors in their attempts for a last-ditch equaliser.

Latics youth team manager Selim Benachour said: "For a young group I’m very proud of them.

"It was our first game of pre-season, so there’s a lot learnt, but we’re at a good stage already with our fitness.

"We started late because of a group isolation but we’ve worked hard individually, reporting over zoom on fitness regimes.

"We had a few U16s playing with us again in the game and they all did really well, we just need to improve our focus and cut out silly mistakes that cost us but that’s why we play games like this."

Speaking to the club website, Benachour added: "It was a really good test for us and it wasn’t easy. Winsford are a strong, experienced team with players who are smart on and off the ball and wanted to compete properly, it was a lesson learnt and a valuable one for our players.

"If you don’t take your chances though, you get punished and it happened but in a friendly this is what we wanted from it and always wanted to test the players by going for the win instead of sitting back. The result isn’t the issue or main focus for us, more the performance, confidence and attitude. The players want to represent the club with pride and fight for every ball.

"It was also great to see the fans at the ground showing their support and it was a great occasion for some of these young players.

"We have a few more fixtures now before the season starts, so we’ll look to improve our fitness even more and become more physical. The first year pros did well too and showed the scholars that there is a pathway, but on the whole it was a really good workout and we’d like to thank Winsford for hosting us."

First half XI: Danieilewicz, Withers, Cookson, Chapman, Couto, Kilner, Havens, Vaughan, Da Silva, Badby, Forshaw.

Second half XI: Danieilewicz (Brindley-Smith 60), Corley, Sutton, Hughes, Okeke, Spencer (Williams 70), Vaughan (Trialist 60), Simms, Modi, Moore, Luamba.