Sheffield United's Under 18s run of six wins in a row came to an abrupt end with a heavy defeat at home to league leaders Wigan Athletic.
A seventh win on the bounce would have put the young Blades just two points behind their nearest rivals with two games in hand but they paid for a slow first half which saw the visitors race into a 3-0 lead at the break.
It took just eight minutes for Wigan to take the lead when striker Sean McGurk jinked his way into the box and slotted the ball into the corner past Jordan Amissah.
United just couldn't find their usual rhythm in tough conditions and it was 2-0 after 20 minutes when Tom Costello fired home and it was 3-0 shortly before the break when Joseph tapped home from close range after Amissah had clawed away an effort from distance.
The Blades though came out fighting in the second half and were gaining some momentum when the ball fell kindly for midfielder Harrison Neal who promptly chipped the goalkeeper when in on goal to bring the deficit to two.
Just when it looked like United may have a route back into the game they lost defender Harrison Foulstone to two yellow cards and could have perhaps had a penalty when Zak Brunt was pushed to the ground by the goalkeeper just after he'd denied Leo Gaxha with a strong hand.
The 10-men struggled to stop Wigan's counters as they pushed for a way back into the game and the fourth arrived soon after Brunt's penalty appeal and Wigan had a chance for a fifth when Tom Williams fouled McGurk inside the box.
But the Latics striker slipped from the spot and the ball went over the bar, but the fifth arrived with 10 minutes to go as a fast break led to a tap in just in front of goal, leaving Amissah with little chance.
United didn't give up though and did score again as the game moved into stoppage time. Substitutes Hackford and Maguire linked up with the latter volleying home into the corner from just inside the box.
Blades: Amissah, J. Kelly, Boyes, Neal, Gordon (Maguire 46), Foulstone, Gaxha, To. Williams, Viggars (Hackford 46), Brunt (Seriki 66), Jebbison.
Unused subs: Cullinan, Ayari.