Young Whites exit U21 Premier League Cup to holders
Ten-man Bolton Wanderers were knocked out of the U21 Premier League Cup at the round-of-16 stage to holders Reading, losing 3-1 after taking the tie to extra-time.
Rob Holding had equalised for the Whites just after the half-hour mark, curling home after cutting in from the right to cancel out Dominic Samuel’s opener.
However, early goals in each half of extra-time from Aaron Tshibola and Jack Stacey saw Reading secure victory, while Tom Walker was sent off late on for Bolton after kicking out at Craig Tanner.
Adam Bogdan and Medo Kamara were both named in the Wanderers starting XI for their cup clash with Reading, while Sanmi Odelusi and Tom Walker kept their places in the side having impressed in the Whites’ last two matches.
There was a starting place in attack for Emile Heskey, while Arsenal match-winner Kaiyne Woolery was named on the bench alongside under-18s forward JamieThomas.
After a slow start to the first half, Niall Maher had the first shot of the night for Wanderers, stinging goalkeeper Daniel Lincoln’s gloves as he tried his luck from range.
However, it was from the resulting corner that Reading took an early lead as Dominic Samuel found himself one-on-one after running onto a through-ball, before beating the out-rushing Adam Bogdan with a clever chipped finish.
Tom Walker was combining well with Emile Heskey, and was unfortunate not to level the scores almost immediately as he saw a curling effort fly narrowly over the bar.
The Whites number ten continued to be heavily involved, and had tried another effort from range midway through the first half, only to see Lincoln get back to tip the strike over.
Adam Bogdan was called into action on the half-hour mark, getting down well to keep out a powerful Samuel effort.
The Hungarian’s save proved to be vital moments later as Bolton equalised through right-back Rob Holding.
Cutting in from the right, the defender beat his man with a clever stepover, before finding the bottom left-hand corner with a low, curling effort on his weaker left foot.
Ending the half strongly, Walker saw a 25-yard free-kick curl narrowly wide of the near post for the Trotters.
Holding was denied a second on the stroke of half-time, heading straight at Lincoln when left unmarked at a corner as the two sides went in at the break with the scores level.
Having come off the bench to score twice in Wanderers’ last match against Arsenal, Kaiyne Woolery was introduced to the action at half-time in place of Medo Kamara.
However, the sides continued to cancel each out as the half progressed before Jamie Thomas was introduced in place of Heskey just after the hour-mark.
Reading began to control proceedings as the game entered its final quarter, missing four great chances in the space of four minutes.
First Niall Keown saw a floated headed effort rebound off the post into Bogdan’s arms, before Samuel shot wildly over the crossbar when left unmarked at the far post moments later.
Alex Finney had to be alert to block Craig Tanner after he found space in the penalty area, before Samuel failed to hit the target having found himself one-on-one after racing on to another Reading through-ball.
Bogdan got down well again to tip away a goalbound Jack Stacey effort, while the Hungarian had to come off his line to punch clear a Keown header in the last minute as neither side were able to find a winner inside 90 minutes.
EXTRA-TIME FIRST HALF
Reading re-took the lead inside the opening two minutes of extra-time as Aaron Tshibola raced forward from midfielder and finished coolly after playing a neat one-two in the penalty area.
However, that was to be the only chance of note in the half as the visitors sat back looking to see out the victory.
EXTRA-TIME SECOND HALF
It was 3-1 moments after the restart as a cruel defection saw Stacey’s strike catch Bogdan off-guard on its way into the net.
And any chance of a Whites comeback was extinguished late on after Tom Walker was sent off for kicking out at Craig Tanner, ensuring Bolton exited the U21 Premier League Cup at the round-of-16 stage.
Bolton: Bogdan, Holding, Sellers, Finney, Taylor, Maher, Lester, Medo (Woolery 46), Heskey (Thomas 63), Walker, Odelusi.
Unused subs: Fitzsimons, Matthews, Ball.
Reading: Lincoln, Long, Griffin, Tshibola (Shaughnessy 105), Keown, Sweeney, Stacey, Kelly (Cardwell 116), Samuel, Tanner, Fosu.
Unused subs: Dickie, Ward, Hyam.