U21s: Manchester United 4-1 Bolton

Jamie Fullarton's side defeated by the Red Devils

Wanderers’ Under 21 side slipped to a 4-1 defeat against Manchester United at the Salford City Stadium.

The Whites had taken a first half lead through Conor Wilkinson after Tom Youngs missed from the penalty spot, but goals from William Keane, Tom Thorpe and a brace from Jesse Lingard ensured that the Fullarton’s team would leave empty handed.

Wanderers had begun brightly and were pushing from the off, with their excellent start almost paying dividends as Jan Gregus clipped the crossbar with his perfectly executed free-kick inside four minutes.

United did respond almost immediately, but their best effort was a shot from Adnan Januzaj just inside the area which took a deflection, allowing Jay Lynch to scoop the ball to safety.

Despite chances being at a premium inside the opening ten minutes, Wanderers were without doubt the team on top as the hosts struggled to contain the Whites’ dogged midfield duo of Vela and Gregus.

With 13 minutes on the clock, Tom Eaves spurned Bolton’s best chance of the game as he connected with Hayden White’s lofty ball into the area, but the young striker just lacked the control needed to test Ben Amos in the United goal.

Having been virtually camped in their own half, United almost snatched the lead in the 17th minute as Lingard fired through a crowded Wanderers penalty area, but Lynch was equal to his effort. 

Given their dominance, it seemed only a matter of time before Wanderers were handed a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead and it did come in the 21st minute as Youngs was brought down by goalkeeper Amos in the area.

The striker stepped up to take the spot kick himself, but frustratingly saw his effort saved by the United keeper to deny the Whites what would have been a deserved lead.

Wanderers’ spurned opportunity appeared to breathe life into United, with Tom Lawrence firing just over from close range after good work from Lingard and Januzaj blasting an effort over the bar soon after.

Not to be deterred however, Wanderers looked likely to break the deadlock with eight minutes of the half remaining as Gregus collected Chris Lester’s lethal ball into the area, but the midfielder was harshly penalised for handball just as he was set to pull the trigger.

With it looking as though it wasn’t to be Bolton’s night, Youngs made up for his earlier penalty miss with a superb ball into the area for Wilkinson who turned his man and slotted home past a helpless Ben Amos in the 38th minute.

It was no more than Wanderers deserved given their efforts, but United pulled themselves level on the stroke of half time through William Keane who fired home from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

Lynch and the Bolton team protested to the referee that there had been the use of a hand in the build up to the goal but he remained unmoved, with there barely being enough time to restart proceedings before the half time whistle.

As the second period got underway, United looked to be playing with more confidence than they had done in the first half, and their early dominance paid off with just six minutes of the half played as Lingard handed the Red Devils the lead with a shot from just inside the penalty area.

Wanderers appeared slightly shell shocked at having found themselves behind, but their composure was restored soon after as Eaves and Wilkinson powered forward – sadly however, their effort was ultimately in vain as the United defence cleared their lines.

Despite their rally, Wanderers soon found themselves conceding a third just short of the hour mark as Thorpe headed home from a matter of yards out after connecting with Januzaj’s free-kick into the box.

With United in cruise control, Wanderers almost snatched a route back into the game against the run of play as Gregus volleyed the ball towards goal, but Amos managed to prevent the shot sneaking into the top corner, much to the relief of his defence.

As the clock ran down, United substitute Jack Barmby tested Lynch with a curling effort from just outside the area and Donald Love had him panicking with a dangerous ball across the face of goal before Lingard made it four with just six minutes remaining.

Wanderers had looked to have halved the deficit just moments earlier as Cian Bolger saw his header cleared off the line, but the United striker broke free and slotted home past the advancing Bolton keeper.

Despite a late attempt at securing a consolation goal from Youngs, it was ultimately in vain as United ran out comfortable winners.

Manchester United: Amos, Varela (Barmby, 71), Blackett, Thorpe, M.Keane, Ekangamene, Cole, Lawrence (Borthwick-Jackson, 84), W.Keane (Love, 60), Januzaj, Lingard

Subs not used: Sutherland, McConnell

Wanderers: Lynch, White, Kellett, Threlkeld, Bolger, Vela, Lester, Gregus, Eaves, Wilkinson, Youngs

Subs not used: Campbell, Holding, Kelly, Bailey, Knight
Read Time: 5 mins