U18s: Bolton 1-4 Fulham

Young guns slip to defeat against the Cottagers

Wanderers’ Under 18 side slipped to a 4-1 defeat against Fulham on Saturday morning, with Moussa Dembele notching a hat-trick for the visitors.

Steve Wigley’s side had taken the lead in the 23rd minute as Solomon Sambou bundled the ball into the net from close range, with Fulham doubling their advantage just two minutes later as Dembele completed a simple tap in at the far post.

With confidence flowing, the Londoners added a third with 35 minutes on the clock as the Belgian headed home from a matter of yards out to send last season’s U18 Premier League champions into the half time break three goals to the good.

Having struggled to find a foothold in the game throughout the first period, Wanderers did reduce the deficit with 55 minutes on the clock through Christopher Cvetko, but it was ultimately in vain as Dembele completed his hat-trick shortly after with a well-taken strike from just inside the area.

Speaking following the final whistle, David Lee confessed that Fulham were well worth their victory at Lostock.

"We have to hold our hands up and admit that in the first half Fulham where better than us in many departments," he said.  "I had a good chat with the players at half time along with Sammy Lee and we altered one or two things. 

“We looked for a reaction from the players and we played with a lot more intensity in the second half. 

"Individual players had to play at a higher intensity in order to affect the game in a positive way. The good thing about it was that the players performed a lot better in the second half. 

He added: "It was a great learning curve for all the players because when you are playing against strong teams like Fulham then you cannot afford to slack and have no intensity at the start of the game.”

"Fulham have some quality football players and after the game I spoke to their Academy manager Steve Wigley and he has high hopes for a lot of his players and expects one or two to be involved with the first team before the end of the season.

"However, Fulham's quality doesn't take away the fact that our players have a job that they need to do. We have to make sure our players do things right. It is our job to make sure our players are ready to play at their maximum potential and the only way they will get better is by playing games and training day in day out. 

"A lot of our players are only three months into their football so there is a lot of long term development to go. The players are always showing glimpses that they are improving and getting better.”
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