Youngsters defeated by their Reading counterparts in Basingstoke
Wanderers’ under-21 side suffered a 4-1 defeat away at Reading on Monday evening.
The hosts had taken an early lead from the penalty spot through De’Jaune Taylor-Crossdale, but Luke Woodland drew the Whites level on the stroke of half time.
His effort was to be in vain however as Taylor-Crossdale doubled his tally before goals from Shepperd Murombedzi and Jake Cooper wrapped up all three points for the Berkshire outfit.
On a clear night in Basingstoke, the Whites started the better of the two sides as Zach Clough was fouled on the edge of the box by defender Cooper, with the following free kick resulting in a passage of play which culminated in an Oscar Threlkeld diving header that went narrowly wide.
During the opening quarter of the game the visitors were well and truly in control, with Andy Kellett advancing and perfecting a whipped ball across the face of keeper Stuart Moore’s box that no one was able to meet.
The pressure did result in an opening goal, but against the run of play it fell in the Royals’ favour as Kellett brought down Taylor-Crossdale in the area with 18 minutes gone, with the frontman taking it upon himself to convert the spot kick past Bolton keeper Harry Campbell.
Following the goal, the visitors found themselves on the back foot with Reading undoubtedly in the ascendancy as first Taylor-Crossdale and then Bogdan Vastsuk enjoyed long range efforts which failed to test Campbell.
Midfielder Yannick Bastos was the next Whites player to have an attempt following the hosts’ pressure, but his right footed inside shot found Moore's hands comfortably.
With half an hour gone, some impressive footwork from the corner of the box from Clough allowed the striker to get away a shot which bounced in front of Moore but also past the post.
Kellett then went on a mazy run, skipping past two men before playing the ball into the feet of Woodland but the resulting shot was blocked at close range.
With the game becoming lively and open, Wanderers did pull level on the stroke of half time as Woodland released an unstoppable effort from 30 yards out which flew straight into the corner of the Reading net past the outstretched Moore to ensure that the visitors went into the break high on confidence.
Moments after the restart and the visiting bench were left perplexed after Kellett was brought down inside the box, but the referee remained unmoved and waved play on.
Following a bright start from Wanderers, a well worked set piece initially taken by Woodland saw Iliev narrowly miss out on Clough’s pull back at the far post.
With the Whites sensing blood, Tom Walker was introduced into the fold for Yannick Bastos to provide more firepower upfront.
As the half wore on, Bolton were controlling the pace of the game and Iliev was unlucky to blast over from six yards out upon leaning back on the damp playing surface with the inside of his boot.
Clough was creative throughout and his through ball on the hour found substitute Walker who with his pace got on the end of the neat pass, but his momentum had the ball bounce off his shin and into Moore’s hands.
Having withstood pressure from the visitors, Reading’s Taylor-Crossdale had a crisp dipping shot from 30 yards but Campbell used his both hands to push the ball over the bar.
After denying him once however, the Bolton goalkeeper was beaten just moments later when Taylor-Crossdale again, same as with his previous effort, unleashed a ferocious mirror effort which left Campbell stranded and had the home side in front.
The goal sparked a difficult spell for the Whites’ youngsters, with Murombedzi firing home from a similar position as Taylor-Crossdale did for the Royals’ second before Cooper lost his man at the back post and beat Campbell at his near post with a well taken half volley at the near post to make it four with ten minutes remaining.
Conor Wilkinson was introduced inside the closing stages and almost added to Bolton’s tally late on as he jumped to meet Chris Lester’s cross, but his header failed to test Moore as Reading ran out winners on the night.
Bolton: Campbell, Threlkeld, Kellett, White, Holding, Woodland, Lester, Bastos (Walker), Clough (Wilkinson), Iliev, Maher.
Reading: Moore, Sheppard, Griffin, Collins, Cooper, Sweeney, Ofori, Murombedzi, Taylor-Crossdale, Vastsuk, Williams