Youngsters slip to defeat against their Molineux counterparts
Wanderers’ under-21 side slipped to a 3-2 defeat against their Wolverhampton Wanderers counterparts at the County Ground on Monday evening.
Despite a bright start from the home side, Wolves proceeded to open up a two-goal advantage inside the first half courtesy of strikes from Anthony Forde and Eusebio Bancessi.
The Whites did halve the deficit shortly after the restart through Georg Iliev, only for Bradley Reid to add to Wolves’ tally from close range.
Zach Clough did give Bolton hope with 13 minutes remaining as he bundled home from a matter of yards out, but it was ultimately in vain as Wolves held out for the win.
Wanderers started the game brightly, with Conor Wilkinson powering his way to the edge of the Wolves penalty area inside four minutes, but the striker’s resulting effort flew over Jon Flatt’s crossbar.
The visitors responded immediately however, with Sam Whittall connecting with Jamie O’Hara’s pinpoint cross but failing to trouble Arran Lee-Barrett in the Bolton goal.
Despite a lack of clear cut chances inside the opening ten minutes of the clash, the Whites did look lively with Iliev running amok and teasing the Wolves’ backline on a number of occasions.
Whittall squandered another glorious opportunity to hand the Molineux outfit the lead shortly after as Forde found the unmarked frontman with a ball from the left flank, but he somehow managed to put the ball over Lee-Barrett’s crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
He was in the thick of the action yet again moments later as his blasted effort was blocked in the area, with Forde’s resulting rebound flying harmlessly wide of the Bolton upright to the relief of Wanderers.
Having found themselves under pressure, Bolton did hit back as they penned Wolves into their own area with a quarter of the game gone but their best chance of the period was spurned by Iliev whose cross eluded the advancing strike force.
After threatening to break the deadlock throughout the duration of the first half however, Wolves did so in style with 27 minutes on the clock as Forde unleashed a powerful drive from just outside the area which eluded Lee-Barrett to hand the visitors the lead.
No sooner had they opened the scoring, Wolves proceeded to double their advantage just two minutes later following an impressive powerful run from Bancessi, with the winger rifling the ball into the back of the net.
The two quick-fire goals appeared to have stunned the Whites, with Whittall somehow putting the ball over from a matter of yards out with 38 minutes on the clock while Forde almost doubled his tally with a shot from distance.
Wanderers did come close to halving the deficit on the stroke of half time as Iliev whipped a wicked ball across the face of goal, but neither Clough nor Wilkinson could meet it.
Having entered the half time break behind, Wanderers began the second half with more vigour and were almost rewarded in the 50th minute as Clough connected with a loose ball inside the area, but the frontman couldn’t keep his effort down and it lofted over the crossbar.
The introduction of Aaron Knight in place of Wilkinson following the restart offered the Whites a different approach to the game, and it reaped dividends with 53 minutes gone as Iliev broke free of the Wolves defence before slotting the ball beyond Flatt to halve the deficit.
The comeback was almost completed just four minutes later as Chris Lester’s ball across the face of goal eluded the Wolves defence, but Iliev was unable to connect and notch what seemed a certain equaliser.
Lester himself almost had his name on the scoresheet shortly after as he unleashed from distance, but Flatt was equal to his effort.
With Wanderers ruling proceedings, Wolves stunned the hosts as against the run of play they extended their lead through substitute Bradley Reid who slotted home past Lee-Barrett from close range with 71 minutes on the clock.
The Whites weren’t finished there however, with Clough connecting with Knight’s pass into the box before heading home from close range for Bolton’s second to set up a grandstand finish with just over ten minutes remaining.
Iliev looked to have rescued a point from the game late on as Clough found him unmarked in the area, but the striker somehow headed the ball over the crossbar as Wolves held out for the win.
Wanderers: Lee-Barrett, Maher, Kelly, Bastos, Ball, Woodland, Lester, Walker, Wilkinson (Knight, 45), Clough, Iliev
Subs not used: Thomas, Campbell, Bailey, Garrett
Wolves: Flatt, Kostrna (Reid, 59), Cranston, Davis, Hause, Tank, Bancessi, O'Hara, Keita (Erdei, 59), Whittall, Forde
Subs not used: Torras, Jakobsson, Kellerman