Wanderers’ development squad suffered defeat against Everton on Thursday night in their final league fixture before the Christmas break.
Marvin Sordell’s first-half strike wasn’t enough for the Trotters as goals from Apostolos Vellios, Matthew Kennedy and Ross Barkley secured all three points for the visitors.
The Whites began to stamp their authority early on, and nearly broke the deadlock through Sordell after just five minutes.
The striker received the ball 30 yards from goal before instinctively turning and firing in a low drive that flew narrowly wide of the post.
Despite their early dominance, Wanderers found themselves behind through Vellios after 11 minutes.
A pass played from deep by Ibou Touray found the Greek striker who controlled the ball well before slotting past Rob Lainton to open the scoring.
Wanderers could consider themselves unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty minutes later.
Sordell cut inside from the left flank before firing a low shot that goalkeeper Jan Mucha struggled to control, and then the stopper appeared to bring down Sanmi Odelusi when challenging for the loose ball.
Wanderers nearly became victims of the weather conditions as Everton came close to doubling their lead.
As the rain continued to pour, Joe Riley’s attempted pass to Ben Hampson stopped short due to the soaked pitch. Ross Barkley retrieved possession and skipped past Hampson before being foiled by the conditions himself as his tame side-footed effort was weakened by the soggy ground which made it easy for Lainton to save.
On the stroke of half time, Bolton were back on level terms from the penalty spot.
Odelusi raced in behind the Everton backline before being brought down in the area by Shane Duffy. Despite Mucha guessing the direction of Sordell’s resulting spot-kick, the attempt was too accurate as it flew beyond the outstretched arm of the goalkeeper and into the corner.
Unfortunately for Bolton, Everton regained the lead 11 minutes after the restart as Vellios found himself at the heart of the move again.
Vellios was the provider for the goal on this occasion as he curled the ball through the Bolton defence which Kennedy met and prodded past Lainton to hand Everton a second.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Wanderers came agonisingly close to leveling the scores again, but were prevented by heroics from Mucha.
A free-kick drilled into the area resulted in a goalmouth scramble before Sordell struck a shot from close range that Mucha flung himself in the way of to maintain Everton’s lead.
Bolton’s admirable efforts to steal a draw were in vain as Everton condemned the home side in the dying moments of the game.
A cross from Gueye ricocheted around the area and into the path of Barkley who fired a powerful effort into the bottom corner to seal all three points for the visitors after a valiant display from Bolton.
Wanderers will now be competing in the second tier of the Qualification Group after the festive break when the entire league structure is split into three groups.
Wanderers:Lainton, Riley, Threlkeld, McQuade, Hampson, Blakeman, Lester (Woodland,77) , Kelly, Sordell, Odelusi (Iliev, 77), Sampson (Unused subs: Kellet, Fielding, McKee)
Everton: Mucha, Browning, Touray, Lundstram, Duffy, Hammar, Kennedy, Barkley, Vellios, Gueye, Hope (Unused subs: Taudul, Forrester, Green, Jones, Long)