Iain Brunskill's side come from behind to pick up a point against the Railwaymen
Wanderers and their Crewe Alexandra counterparts played out a 1-1 draw at the Alexandra Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Following a goalless first period which saw Bolton rule proceedings and come close to breaking the deadlock on a number of occasions, the hosts took the lead just after the hour mark courtesy of Ryan Wintle’s strike from just outside the area.
A cruel goal for the Whites to concede given their efforts throughout the clash, they were back level with just 15 minutes remaining as Jamie Thomas poked the ball home at the back post – a goal which ultimately earned the Trotters a share of the spoils at the final whistle.
Luke Brattan made his first appearance in a Bolton shirt following his loan move from Manchester City last week, while Under-18s striker Alex Samizadeh took his place amongst the substitutes.
Wanderers looked the livelier of the two sides inside the opening stages of the encounter, with a Chris Cvetko free-kick into a crowded penalty area being headed away from danger by the Crewe defence with a number of Bolton bodies lurking.
Jamie Thomas was also looking dangerous for Bolton, with the home side struggling to make any inroads into the Whites’ territory in the first ten minutes of the clash as Iain Brunskill’s side pushed forward relentlessly.
Callum Ainley enjoyed the Railwaymen’s first venture into Bolton’s third of the pitch shortly after, although Alex Finney was quick to dispossess the youngster as he moved in on goal.
Bolton then proceeded to enjoy their best chance of the game so far as Jon Ceberio threaded a clever through ball into the path of the advancing George Newell, only for the frontman to fire just wide of the goalmouth.
Cvetko was next to try his luck, only to see his angled effort fail to hit the target by a matter of inches with Alex Morris in the Crewe goal a beaten man.
Having withstood pressure from the visitors during the opening quarter of the game, Crewe did find themselves enjoying a little more possession but were still struggling to break past a resolute Bolton defence.
An early change for Wanderers saw Alex Perry introduced in place of Channing Campbell-Young on the half hour mark, with the academy graduate seeing a snap-shot from the edge of the box moments later cautiously saved by Morris.
The deadlock seemed set to be broken a minute later as Newell cleverly pulled the ball back across the face of goal with Niall Maher unmarked, but the captain somehow dragged his effort wide with the goal at his mercy.
With just minutes of the first half remaining, Crewe’s George Cooper scurried his way inside the Bolton penalty area before unleashing from a tight angle, but Ross Fitzsimons wasn’t troubled by his shot which flew harmlessly wide.
On the stroke of half time, Jordan Lussey looked set to open the scoring with a beautifully crafted shot from just outside the box, only to be denied by the outstretched palms of Morris who ensured that his side were still on level terms at the break.
Having found themselves on the back foot for much of the first half, Crewe were the team showing a little more promise inside the opening minutes of the second with Lauri Dalla Valle firing wide of the far post in the 52nd minute.
For all their dominance in possession however, the hosts were still struggling to break down a resolute Bolton backline.
Up the other end of the field meanwhile, Maher found Thomas at the far post with a clever cross, only to see the offside flag raised with a goal seemingly imminent.
The introduction of Samizadeh on the hour mark in place of Cvetko signalled Wanderers’ intent to go all out for victory, but their challenge was thrown off course as the hosts took the lead just minutes later.
A well taken long range strike from the edge of the box, Fitzsimons was given no chance with Wintle’s effort with the ball cruising into the back of the net from all of 20 yards.
The hosts then proceeded to pepper the Bolton goal with attacks, but Wanderers were back on level terms with 15 minutes to go as Thomas poked the ball home at the back post after Samizadeh had won a corner kick for the Trotters.
No more than they deserved given their efforts, there was no resting on laurels for either side as the game entered its final ten minutes with Thomas’ calls for a penalty kick after being muscled off the ball falling on deaf ears while Ainley forced a smartb save out of Fitzsimons up the other end.
Brattan then attempted to open his account for the club from distance late on, only to see his shot fly high and wide above the goalmouth as the game ended all square.
Bolton: Fitzsimons, Maher, Lussey (Garratt 77’), Finney, Holding, Brattan, Campbell-Young (Perry 30’), Cvetko (Samizadeh 63’), Newell, Ceberio, Thomas
Subs not used: Campbell, Palmer
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