George Newell and Jamie Thomas on scoresheet as Wanderers open season with win
Bolton Wanderers Under-21s opened their league season with a win against Bristol City on Monday night.
George Newell fired home Niall Maher’s low cross to open the scoring for the Whites early on, only for Ashley Harper to level for the visitors soon after.
However, Jamie Thomas skilfully fired Bolton back ahead shortly after the break as the Trotters saw out the game to clinch the points.
Jon Ceberio and George Newell made their competitive debuts for the Under-21s in Wanderers’ season-opener against Bristol City.
Making his return from injury, Channing Campbell-Young started at centre-back while Callum Spooner continued at right-back, with Niall Maher again captaining the side.
Wanderers started brightly and took an early lead following a superb solo-run down the left from Niall Maher.
Shrugging off two challenges as he burst into the penalty area, the full-back unselfishly squared the ball to George Newell, leaving the forward with a simple finish into the unguarded net at the far post.
However, Bristol City pegged back the Whites almost immediately as Ashley Harper stole possession in midfield before firing home from the edge of the penalty area.
Despite the explosive start at the County Ground, Leyland, chances were few and far between before Bolton began to take control of proceedings in the final quarter of the first half as the game wore on.
Bristol City goalkeeper JoJo Wollacott twice had to be alert in a matter of moments to deny Jamie Thomas at the near post as the forward first turned his man well before shooting, before connecting with Newell’s lofted cross from the Trotters’ next attack.
Chris Cvetko and Medo Kamara both fired over from distance as Wanderers continued to press, before Jon Ceberio saw his first-time effort from inside the area drift agonisingly wide of the far post from Thomas’ pull-back.
Newell and Thomas continued to combine well as he proved themselves a constant thorn in the Bristol City defence, but their efforts both sides went in at the break with the scores level.
The first chance after the interval fell to Marley Bishop as the forward found space in the Whites’ penalty area. However, with Hayden White chasing him down, he lashed wildly at his strike as it flew wide.
At the other end, Bolton took the lead with the very next attack following a fantastic piece of individual skill from Thomas to lose his mark.
Receiving the ball on the edge of the area with his back to goal, the forward lost his marker and turned with a fine flick before calmly slotting past Wollacott into the bottom corner to fire the Trotters ahead.
Growing into the match as the half continued, Bristol City pushed for a second equaliser but struggled to test Harry Campbell despite creating a number of openings.
Connor Lemmonheigh-Evans shot narrowly wide following a well-worked corner, before substitute George Dowling showed great footwork to wrong-foot two Wanderers defenders in the area, only to get his effort horribly wrong as he scuffed his shot wide.
From Bristol City’s next attack, Joe Morrell cut in from the left before unleashing a goalbound strike from the edge of the box, only to see it deflect narrowly over.
The resulting corner found its way through to Lemmonheigh-Evans at the far post, but, with the goal gaping, he was unable to keep his close-range header down as it floated harmlessly over the bar.
Pressing back, the Whites were unfortunate not to extend their lead late on as Callum Spooner broke free down the right before picking out an unmarked Ceberio at the far post.
However, following an awkward bounce, the outstretched Spaniard was unable to keep his first-time strike down.
And with Bolton doing their best to hold onto possession during the game’s dying embers, the Trotters managed to see out the game to open their league campaign with a win.
Bolton: Campbell, Spooner, Maher, Campbell-Young, H.White, Medo, Perry, Cvetko, Newell, Ceberio, Thomas.
Unused substitutes: Garratt, Jaaskelainen, Griffiths, Honeyball, R.White.
Under-21s match report sponsors: Bristol Street Motors