U21s: Bolton 1-3 Fulham

Cottagers' second half showing enough to secure victory for the London outfit

Wanderers' Under 21 side suffered their first league home defeat of the season with a 3-1 reverse at the hands of Fulham at the County Ground.

Following a first half of few chances, the visitors hit the Whites with a brace from Moussa Dembele and a goal from Mesca Tue Na Bangna to ensure that they made the trip back to the capital with all three points.

Georg Iliev did grab a consolation for the hosts late on, but it was ultimately a case of too little too late.

The game started brightly, with both sides enjoying half chances inside the opening minutes of the game. 
Zach Clough proved to be an early threat for Wanderers with a number of dangerous runs into the Fulham penalty area, but the 18-year-old's hard work was ultimately in vain. 
After a fairly evenly contested start to proceedings, Dembele ensured that Arran Lee-Barrett was on his guard with a smartly taken shot from just inside the area in the tenth minute, but the keeper did well to deny him. 
The tempo of the game appeared to drop somewhat as the half wore on, with chances at a premium for both sides. 
With each defence standing firm, the frustration was clear to see on the faces of both sets of players as the half time whistle drew near. 
Tom Youngs was enjoying the best chances of the game however, with the striker testing the Cottagers' defence on more than one occasion. 
With a lack of opportunities throughout the first period, Fulham almost snatched the lead on the stroke of half time as Tom Richards fired goalbound, but Andy Kellett was on hand to clear the ball to safety and keep the scores level at the break.

It was clear to see straight after the restart that both sides had emerged from the dressing room with a renewed sense of vigour, with Lasse Vigen Christensen’s shot deflecting just over the crossbar inside two minutes of the second half.

Wanderers responded with a excellent run by Clough, but the striker had given himself just too much work to do and the ball was collected by David Stockdale.

Given the rampant start to the second half a goal seemed to be imminent, and it was to be the visitors who would break the deadline in the 54th minute as Mesca headed the ball across the face of goal to allow an unmarked Dembele to head home from close range.

Bolton almost hit back soon after as Iliev found himself in space, but the striker failed to keep his balance and skewed his shot wide of the upright with the goal at his mercy.

With the Whites on the hunt for an equaliser however, the Cottagers were to hit them with a sucker punch as Mesca curled the ball home from just outside the area to double his side's advantage.

A scoreline which was undoubtedly cruel on Wanderers, it was to get worse just five minutes later as Dembele connected with Joshua Passley's ball and calmly fired past Lee-Barrett in the Bolton goal.

Wanderers looked set to pull a goal back with 70 minutes on the clock after a scintillating run by Youngs from his own half, but the youngster was denied by some last ditch Fulham defending.

Mesca almost made it four for Fulham moments later as he found himself in acres of space in the area, but he somehow headed over with the goal at his mercy.

Muamer Tankovic nearly added to the Cottagers' tally with ten minutes left on the clock as he unleashed a shot on goal, but Robert Holding was on hand to block the ball and keep the scoreline at three. 

With confidence seemingly high amongst the Fulham team, the visitors enjoyed a number of opportunities to extend their lead as the game drew to its conclusion.

Wanderers weren't to be denied altogether though, with Iliev snatching a consolation for the hosts with just three minutes to go as he tapped the ball home from a matter of yards out, while Jan Gregus saw his free-kick flash past the post in the dying seconds.

Next up for the Under 21s is a trip to Gigg Lane in the Manchester FA Senior Challenge Cup against Bury next Tuesday, kick off 1pm.

Bolton: Lee-Barrett, White, Kellett, Threlkeld, Holding, Kelly (Woodland, 61), Matthews (Abbotts, 69), Gregus, Iliev, Clough, Young

Subs not used: Campbell, Bailey, Ball

Fulham: Stockdale, Passley, Richards, Minkwitz, Arthurworrey, Grimmer (Islamovic, 61), Tue Na Bangna, Vigen Christensen, Dembele (Buatu, 71), Tankovic, Verde (Plumain, 65)

Subs not used: Joronen, O'Reilly
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