Youngsters defeated on home soil
Wanderers’ under-18 side slipped to a 1-0 defeat in their final home game of the season against Southampton at Lostock on Saturday morning.
After a goalless first half, the visitors proceeded to take the lead from the penalty spot through forward Ryan Seager.
Despite Bolton’s best efforts to notch an equaliser inside the closing stages, their hard work was ultimately in vain as the Saints held out for the win.
The Whites started the game brightly and almost had the perfect start as Sam Bailey advanced forward and flashed the ball across the goal face in the opening minute.
Bailey again produced the goods moments later, but the starting Saul Hamer didn’t gamble on the opportunity and the ball went into touch.
With ten minutes gone, William Abbotts could have put the hosts one up from Elliot Newby’s corner but misjudging the ball, the frontman headed wide.
Jason Dodds’ side had their first chance five minutes later as Seager struck, but goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen gathered comfortably.
Christopher Cvetko then produced a moment of magic, splitting the Southampton defence with a left footed volley diagonally to Aaron Knight, but unfortunately it went just over his head and out of play.
With twenty minutes gone, Seager was involved again for the visitors as he helped on defender Jake Flannigan's pull-back to another Jake in Hesketh, but the Bolton back line blocked a shot from just inside the box.
Abbotts came close to an opener on the half hour mark he controlled the ball delicately and unleashed 25 yards from goal, but the effort went comfortably over for the Saints’ keeper Andreas Faikla.
Southampton frontman Marcus Barnes received lengthy treatment five minutes from the end which meant an extended stoppage period in which Bolton’s Knight fired at Faikla from the edge of box after cutting in from the right hand side of the Saints area.
The final effort of the half came from the hosts as Cvetko and Bailey worked a quick free kick from a desirable position but their shot ultimately culminated in a goal kick after good defensive work from Southampton’s back four.
Bolton’s Garratt advanced with pace down the left hand side soon after the restart before crossing the ball with venom and troubling Faikla who palmed the ball out for a corner, but nothing came of the following set piece.
Abbotts was hastily bought down edge of box with an hour gone, but Bailey’s resulting free kick flew wide of the upright, while Newby was unable to capitalise on the space afforded to him.
The only goal of the game however came against the run of play in the 71st minute as Alex Honeyball upended Flannigan in the area, with the visitors having failed to trouble Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal until that point.
A killer blow for Wanderers, Seager stepped up to convert the resulting spot kick, sending Jaaskelainen the wrong way to put the Saints a goal to the good.
Bolton threw bodies forward for the final quarter of the tie in a bid to force an equalising goal, but Southampton defended resiliently as they held out for the three points.
Away in the capital next week against West Ham United, David Lee and Tony Kelly’s’ youngsters will be hoping to return to winning ways with just one more fixture remaining at Liverpool thereafter.
Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Bailey, Garratt, Ball, Honeyball, Kennedy, Knight, Cvetko, Abbotts, Hamer (Torres 80), Newby.
Subs not used: Turner, Hinchliffe, Perry, Nolan
Southampton: Faikla, Deasy, Debayo, McCarthy, Wood, Mason (Mells 65), Flannigan, Sims Hesketh (Regis 81), Barnes (Demkiv 37), Seager
Subs not used: Needle, Regis, Cook