Under-21s: Wanderers 0-2 Stoke City

Jamie Fullarton's side edged out at the County Ground

Two second half goals against the run of play meant that the Whites’ development squad suffered an unfortunate 2-0 defeat against Stoke City at the County Ground.
Despite Bolton having enjoyed the majority of possession and chances during the course of the game, the visitors snatched the three points through Ben Heneghan and a Lucas Dawson penalty.
The result was a harsh reflection of the game itself, but the Whites will have the opportunity to avenge the defeat when they face the Potters again in ten days' time.
During a evenly contested opening period chances were few and far between for both sides, but Matt Mills was to have the first notable opportunity of the game in the eighth minute as his header floated just past the post.
Stoke responded almost immediately through the dangerous Andy Musungu as the striker played a lethal ball across the face of goal, but there was to be no end product as it eluded the approaching Potters’ strike force.
The ever-persistent Chris Lester was next to test the visitors’ resolve in the 18th minute with a shot from the edge of the area, but his tame strike was easily collected by Dale Eve.
Lester’s opportunity appeared to rejuvenate a game which had been lacking in goalmouth action as the Whites began to pile on the pressure, but Stoke’s defence stood firm.
The deadlock looked set to be broken with 24 minutes on the clock as Joe McKee played an in-swinging free-kick into the area, but Mills failed to connect with the goal at his mercy.
With the visitors having only managed a handful of half chances throughout the opening half hour, Stoke right-back Elliott Wheeler almost handed his side the lead with a perfectly executed volley from just outside the area, but the ball flew inches over Jay Lynch’s crossbar.
Both sides enjoyed chances as the half wore on with the ever-threatening Musungu firing into the side netting for the visitors and both McKee and Zach Clough going close for the Whites, but the opening 45 minutes ended goalless.
Bolton started the second period as they ended the first with Oluwasanmi Odelusi playing the ball back for the advancing Clough immediately after the restart, but the striker’s shot was blocked at close range.
The Whites almost took the lead shortly after as Lester found Odelusi in space, but the winger failed to get the direction needed on his shot to test Eve.
Zach Clough almost capitalised on a mistake by the Stoke keeper on the hour mark as he spilled the ball just inside the area, but Eve recovered to spare his blushes and palm his shot away.
With Wanderers well and truly on top in the clash, Jamie Fullarton’s side were dealt a cruel blow just moments later as Stoke snatched the lead through Heneghan who headed home from Dawson’s free-kick.
Despite falling behind however, the goal appeared to rejuvenate Bolton as Clough again shot just wide after a clever run into the area.
Just as it seemed an equaliser was imminent for the Whites, Stoke were handed the opportunity to double their lead from the penalty spot after Mills had fouled John Marsden inside the box with 67 minutes gone.
Dawson stepped up to take the spot kick and despite guessing the right way, Lynch was powerless to prevent the ball nestling into the bottom corner of the net.
Despite their disappointment, Wanderers almost responded just a minute later as Clough turned his man just inside the area, but he blazed his shot high and wide.
Bolton pushed for a route back into the clash as the game drew to its conclusion with Odelusi, Andy Kellett and Stuart Holden testing Eve inside the final ten minutes, but their persistence was ultimately in vain as the visitors held out for the victory.
Wanderers:Lynch, Threlkeld, Kellett, Mills, Bolger,Vela, Lester, Holden, Odelusi, Clough, McKee (Youngs, 69) (Unused subs: Hampson, Sievers, Blakeman, McQuade)
Stoke City: Eve, Wheeler, Campbell, Dawson, Heneghan, Keane (Colson,79) Thomas, Richardson, Marsden (Thompson, 84), Rigg, Musungu (Unused subs: Glasgow, Barrington, Hall)
Read Time: 4 mins