Stuart Holden and Josh Vela stepped up their recoveries from injury after they both played over an hour in Bolton Wanderers development squad’s resounding victory over Oldham Athletic in their Manchester Senior Cup clash.
Holden and Vela managed 65 and 76 minutes respectively in a game where goals from Jack Sampson, Chris Lester and Tom Eaves secured a comfortable win at the County Ground.
Despite Wanderers enjoying more possession in the opening stages, it was Oldham who hit the first attempt.
Winger Connor Hughes received the ball in midfield before dragging a powerful 30-yard drive well wide.
The dominance of Vela and Holden in the middle of the park provided Sampson with the opportunity to try his luck from similar distance, his shot was on target but it was a fairly tame effort that didn’t trouble goalkeeper Liam Jacob.
Wanderers continued to press for the opener and were nearly rewarded for their efforts in the 18th minute.
Sampson slid the ball through to Lester who was too quick for David Mellor as he burst into the box before striking a low effort that Jacob stretched to palm wide.
Constant pressure from Bolton paid dividends five minutes later as they broke the deadlock.
Lester laid the ball across to Sampson who swiftly turned and hammered the ball past Jacob and crashing into the net from 16 yards out.
The Whites maintained their high level of pressure and nearly extended their lead in the 39th minute but were denied by some heroic defending.
Sanmi Odelusi raced down the left flank before drilling an inviting cross towards the six-yard box before seeing it clipped over the crossbar by Mellor as Lester was lurking.
Wanderers were unfortunate not to go into the break with a two-goal lead after they were thwarted by some quality goalkeeping on the stroke of half-time.
A rapid Bolton counter-attack allowed Sampson to play the ball through to Odelusi for a clear run at goal. The attacker side-footed a shot destined for the bottom corner but Jacob glanced the effort wide.
The early stages of the second half were starved of opportunities for either side until Lester conjured up the second goal that Bolton craved.
The winger received the ball on the right side of the box before firing a low shot that ricocheted into the back of the net off the post.
Moments later, Oldham had a rare attempt at goal from a free-kick.
Mellor rifled the set-piece and the ball took two deflections as it travelled through the Bolton defence before fizzing wide.
As the second period progressed Bolton looked increasingly at ease and nearly scored a third with six minutes remaining through Lester in a position almost identical to his first goal, on this occasion his low drive flew just beyond the post.
Three minutes later Wanderers found the third goal to condemn their opponents through a corner.
Sampson whipped the ball in and the towering Eaves rose to nod a powerful header into the far corner to seal the victory.
BWFC:Lynch, Maher, McQuade, Threlkeld, Dennis, Holden (McKee, 65), Lester, Vela (Woodland, 76), Eaves, Sampson, Odelusi
Oldham: Jacob, Brown, Mellor, Truelove, Clarke, Tarkowski (Poxon, 57), Gosset, Millar, Taylor, Winchester (McIntosh, 71), Hughes