Dev Squad: Wanderers 3-1 Manchester City

Matt Mills, Chris Lester and Jack Sampson on target in Manchester Senior Cup win

A dominant display against Manchester City at the County Ground ensured that the Whites' development squad ran out 3-1 winners in the Manchester Senior Cup.

Goals from Matt Mills, Chris Lester and Jack Sampson had given Bolton a commanding lead before James Horsfield pulled a goal back for City late on, but the result was never in doubt in a game which Wanderers controlled from start to finish.

The Whites had started brightly, with Andy Kellett foiling the City defence inside the first minute, but nobody was able to connect with his inch perfect cross.

Sampson in particular was proving to be a handful for the visitors during the opening stages, with Attilio Lombardo’s side struggling to force their way into Wanderers’ half of the pitch.

Having been unable to break down a resilient Wanderers’ defence early on, Sinan Bytqi finally muscled his way into the Bolton penalty area in the tenth minute, but Jay Lynch was quickly off his line to scoop the ball to safety.

Wanderers looked certain to take a deserved lead just two minutes later through Rob Hall, but the winger fired over from two yards out after Sampson had headed Adam Blakeman’s free-kick back into the mix.

Blakeman was again the orchestrator soon after as he found Tim Ream unmarked in the area with his pin point corner, but the centre-half failed to keep his header down.

Straight from the resulting goal kick, Bytqi raced into the Whites’ penalty area and shot from a tight angle, but his effort went high and wide.

The hosts were claiming for a penalty kick with 16 minutes on the clock as Shay Facey appeared to block Zach Clough’s goal bound shot with his hands, but the referee was unmoved.

Having withstood a tirade of Wanderers pressure, City almost snatched the lead against the run of play in the 22nd minute through Seko Fofana’s free-kick, but Lynch responded well to get down to his near post in time.

Hall had Angus Gunn panicking in the City goal on the half hour mark as he unleashed a curling shot from just outside the area, but the ball flew just wide.

Oscar Threlkeld was next take a chance at goal after Lester had pulled the ball back into the penalty area, but he failed to keep his shot down.

It seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken, and Wanderers did duly oblige in the 36th minute as Mills headed home from Blakeman’s corner.

The lead was no more than Bolton deserved given their dominance in the game, and Clough almost doubled the advantage two minutes later as his shot from distance flew just over.

The young striker was almost in again soon after as he chased the ball downfield when all hope seemed lost, but Gunn was quickly out to clear the ball away from danger.

Clough and Hall combined well as the half drew to it conclusion, but neither player could finish from close range.

Having started the first period in emphatic fashion, the Whites did so again in the second with the ever threatening Clough powering forward inside the early stages.

With momentum well and truly in their favour, Wanderers added to their tally in the 48th minute after Clough found Lester in space, with the winger firing home under the advancing keeper.

Sampson looked have fired home a third just minutes later, but the assistant referee’s flag denied him a well deserved goal.

The striker wasn’t to be denied his name on the score sheet however, as he capitalised on a lapse in concentration from Tosin Adarabioyo on the edge of the area to slot home past a stranded Gunn.

Such a commanding lead still didn’t flatter the Whites, as both Clough and Lester going close to adding what would have been a deserved fourth 

City found themselves even struggling to get out of their own half, with Bolton well and truly in control of the clash.

Clough went within inches of extending Wanderers’ lead in the 69th minute with a superbly executed volley from just outside the area, but the centre forward’s shot flew just over Gunn’s crossbar.

With Lynch having virtually been a spectator during the second half, City stunned the County Ground by pulling a goal back out of nothing through substitute James Horsfield who fired home from an acute angle.

Despite reducing the deficit though, Horsfield’s strike was the last notable action of the match from the visitors as both Lester and Sampson tested Gunn from close range inside the final ten minutes.

Having run the City defence ragged throughout the course of the evening, it seemed fitting that Sampson would enjoy the last real opportunity of the match as he connected with Blakeman’s corner, but Gunn was alert to deny the striker a brace as the Whites ran out deserved winners.

Wanderers:Lynch, Maher, Kellett, Mills (Dennis, 70), Ream (Bolger, 63), Threlkeld, Lester, Blakeman, Sampson, Clough, Hall (Odelusi, 63) (Subs not used: Sievers, Hamer)

Manchester City: Gunn, Wabara, Marin, Fofana, Facey, Adarabioyo, Bytqi (Horsfield, 57), Glendon, Adarabioyo, Dzuzdanovic, Mancini (Subs not used: Lawlor, Boyata, Rusnak, McHale)
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