The young Whites exited the Lancashire Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage
Bolton Wanderers were knocked out of the Lancashire Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage after falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat against ten-man Wigan Athletic.
The hosts had Joey Johnson sent off after 50 minutes, but took the lead midway through the second half as Jordan Flores finished from close-range.
The Whites, playing under new development coach Iain Brunskill for the first time, had started the game well with Rob Hall and Joe Mason both going close in the opening ten minutes, while Liam Trotter missed a great chance to equalise late on, but with Wigan staying strong at the back they were unable to make a breakthrough.
Wanderers named a strong side for the Lancashire Senior Cup clash with Wigan Athletic, naming no less than eight players with first team experience.
Joe Mason partnered Conor Wilkinson in attack, while David Wheater was again selected in the heart of defence as he continued his comeback from injury.
Elsewhere there were also starts for Rob Hall, Chris Lester, Dean Moxey, Oscar Threlkeld and Liam Trotter.
Wanderers, heading into the game off the back of a four game unbeaten run, started the game brightly with Rob Hall in particular looking lively, and should have taken the lead inside the opening ten minutes after creating numerous opportunities.
Having seen a Hall strike deflected behind, Conor Wilkinson could only head the resulting corner straight at Lee Nicholls, while the keeper was on hand to keep out Joe Mason’s powerful close-range strike moments later.
Hall went close again soon after having cut in from the right. Jinking his way into the penalty area, the winger beat his man before firing a shot at goal, only to see it bounce back off the near post.
Chris Lester missed a good chance to open the scoring on the half-hour mark, volleying wide when left free at the far post, while Nicholls had to be alert to gather a low Hall strike from range at the second attempt being caught off-guard by the slippery surface.
The conditions were proving to be problematic to both goalkeepers as Ross Fitzsimons fumbled a Alex Cvetkovic effort before pouncing on the loose ball.
David Wheater headed over from a corner late on in the half as the Whites continued to push for an opener, but it was to no avail as the sides went in at the break with the scores level.
Wilkinson was unfortunate not to open the scoring shortly after the break after being picked out by Hall at the far post. The forward showed clever footwork to create space in the box, only for his marker to regain composure to block the shot.
However, having weather the storm Wigan soon turned the game on its head, despite being reduced to ten men early on in the half.
Having seen Cvetkovic hit the woodwork from distance with a thunderous effort, Joey Johnson was sent off after 50 minutes following a lunge on Wilkinson.
But despite their man advantage, the Trotters were unable to gain the upper hand as Wigan looked the most likely to open the scoring as the half wore on.
Fitzsimons got down well to keep out a powerful Flores effort across goal which looked destined for the bottom corner, but there was nothing the Wanderers keeper could do to deny the forward minutes later.
Following a swift counter-attack, Sam Cosgrove picked out Flores in the box with a low cross, and the forward made no mistake from close-range to give his side the lead.
The Whites fought back and almost found an immediate equaliser as Wheater headed narrowly wide from a corner.
A slight deflection denied Flores a second after his powerful free-kick drifted just wide of the far post, with Fitzsimons left scrambling.
Bolton created a late flurry of chances in the final five minutes in their continued efforts to equaliser.
First Wilkinson headed a Hall corner narrowly over the bar, before the winger himself went close, cutting in from the right before firing into the side-netting.
Channing Campbell-Young was unable to hit the target after connecting with another Hall corner, while Nicholls got down well at his near post to deny Wilkinson a certain corner after the forward bullied his way into the area.
In the game’s dying embers Liam Trotter missed a glorious chance to equalise, failing to hit the target with the goal gaping when left unmarked in the area.
There was still time for Hall to create one final chance after squaring the ball across the six-yard box, only for Cosgrove to clear the ball of the line after it was deflected goalwards with Nicholls left stranded.
But despite the Trotters best efforts Wigan held strong, ensuring Iain Brunskill’s side exited the Lancashire Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Bolton: Fitzsimons, Maher, Moxey, Threlkeld (Sellers 46), Wheater, Campbell-Young, Lester (Clough 62), Trotter, Mason (Woolery 77), Wilkinson, Hall.
Unused subs: Taylor, Jaaskelainen.
Wigan: Nicholls, Burke, Lambert, Cvetkovic, Rogne, Wilson, Jennings, Hamilton, Cosgrove, Johnson, Flores (Robles 86).
Unused subs: Absalom, Balogun, Baxendale.
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