Last-minute penalty sees young Whites suffer late defeat
Bolton Wanderers fell to a last-minute defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday lunchtime in what was a game of few chances at the Seagulls’ Amex Elite Football Performance Centre.
Charlie Harris sealed the points for Brighton from the penalty spot in stoppage-time, smashing home after Jason Davis had been brought down by Ryan Sellers.
Georg Iliev had the Whites’ best opportunities but saw a powerful diving header kept out by goalkeeper Christian Walton before later seeing an effort cleared off the line by Danny Pappoe as Bolton were left with nothing to show for their efforts.
Jordan Lussey and Filip Twardzik both made their first competitive starts for the Under-21s as Bolton took part in their first match for over five weeks.
Quade Taylor captained the side while elsewhere there also starts for Harry Campbell in goal, Daniel O’Brien and Rob Holding, as well as a place on the bench for coach Andy Hughes.
Despite a slow start to the first half, Brighton had an early chance to take the lead as Jesse Starkley curled a 25-yard free-kick narrowly wide of goal, while at the other end Ryan Sellers’ long throws were proving to be a nuisance to the hosts without any reward.
Relying on Kaiyne Woolery’s pace in attack and their ability to hit Brighton on the counter, the forward had Wanderers’ first shot on goal after bursting into the area having lost his man after a fine dart down the left-wing. However, a last-minute challenge saw his eventual shot blocked.
Filip Twardzik and Jordan Lussey were next to try their luck midway through the half with the former Celtic-man firing a speculative long-range effort over the bar before the Liverpool loanee hit a free-kick straight at Christian Walton.
Walton was on hand to deny the Whites again on the half-hour mark as his stood his ground well to keep out Georg Iliev’s diving header from Ryan Sellers’ cross.
Taking advantage of a poor back-header, Woolery again broke free soon after only to fire into the side-netting when under-pressure on his weaker left foot.
Iliev managed to get the better of Walton with a looping effort, only to see Danny Pappoe clear off the line, while at the other end Harry Campbell comfortable saved a George Cole free-kick as the two sides went in at the break with the scores level.
The Trotters started brightly following the restart as Iliev came close to firing them in front with another header following Twardzik’s corner, only to see his effort drift wide of the far post.
After sprinting down the right-hand side before cutting in, Woolery twice tried his luck from close-range only to see both efforts blocked before Brighton eventually cleared their lines, much to the forward’s frustration.
Campbell was called into action for the first time in the half when he had to be alert to dive full-stretch to tip away Robin Deen’s powerful downward header.
The keeper was beaten soon after when substitute James Tilley unleashed an unstoppable strike on goal from range, only to see his thunderous effort cannon back off the crossbar.
At the other end Lussey fired over from range on the hour-mark, before Twardzik was also unable to keep an effort down after being teed up by Woolery on the edge of the box.
Having joined the action as Wanderers chased a late winner, Elliot Newby dragged an effort wide of goal late on after cutting in from the right-hand side.
And just when a draw seemed inevitable as the tie entered stoppage-time, Sellers brought down Jason Davis in the area, presenting Charlie Harris with the perfect opportunity to hammer home from the penalty spot as the Whites fell to a narrow defeat.
Bolton: Campbell, Holding, Sellers, Boben, Taylor, Campbell-Young (Perry 75), O’Brien (Newby 60), Lussey. Woolery, Twardzik, Iliev.
Unused subs: Fitzsimons, Hughes.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Walton, Hunt, Starkey, Rea, White, Pappoe, Barry (Tilley 55), Harris, Deen, Cole (Davis 68), Muitt.
Unused subs: Wiltshire, Doherty, Dallison.