An Alex Finney own goal proved the difference between Bolton Wanderers and Huddersfield Town as the young Whites slipped to a narrow defeat on Monday.
Facing off against the league-leaders at the John Smith’s Stadium, the young Whites fell behind moments before the interval as Ronan Coughlan took advantage of a defensive mix-up to slot home.
Kaiyne Woolery equalised for Bolton shortly after the restart with a well-taken individual goal, however, Finney diverted a low cross past Harry Campbell midway through the half to inflict a cruel defeat on the travelling Trotters.
Francesco Pisano, Derik Osede, Luke Brattan and Tom Walker all started as Wanderers named a strong team at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Elsewhere, Jamie Thomas was also included in the young Whites’ starting XI following his return from international duty.
Both sides exchanged chances in the game’s opening quarter in what was an even start on a cold day at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Hosts Huddersfield created the first opening of the match through Rekeil Pyke, but he was unable to keep his looping header down.
At the other end, Tom Walker looked in impressive form for Wanderers as he made his return from injury, and came close to creating the opener for Rob Holding.
Picking out the defender with a lofted free-kick to the far post, Holding was unable to hit the target with a guided volley as his strike landed on the roof of the net.
Walker tried his luck himself moments later after cutting in from the right before showing quick feet to squeeze past two defenders, only to drill his subsequent strike narrowly wide.
The Whites continued to threaten with Luke Brattan forcing a save from Tadhg Ryan after trying his luck from range, before Jamie Thomas curled a 25-yard free-kick narrowly over the crossbar.
However, one-way traffic it was anything but as Huddersfield remained a threat to Harry Campbell’s goal.
With the hosts looking more threating as the half wore on, Flo Bojaj headed wide at the near post before Campbell was called upon to keep out a fierce Duane Homes strike.
But there was little he could do to stop Huddersfield from taking the lead moments before the interval as Ronan Coughlan slotted home Holmes’ low cross following a defensive mix-up.
Coughlan went close again moments later, turning well on the edge of the box before curling just wide, leaving the Trotters grateful at the sound of the half-time whistle.
Regrouping at the interval, Wanderers started brightly following the restart and were rewarded with an immediate equaliser through Kaiyne Woolery.
Bursting down the right, the forward cut in from the flank, side-stepping Joe Wilkinson before powerfully drilling past Ryan into the bottom corner.
Woolery wasn’t finished there as the Whites looked to utilise his pace with Jamie Thomas and Walker combining to play in the forward.
However, with Ryan sprinting forward off his line, Woolery was unable to beat the goalkeeper when under pressure from a covering defender, his strike being tipped wide.
Chris Cvetko and Jon Ceberio both joined the action shortly before the hour-mark, and the latter came close to making an immediate impact.
Controlling the ball in midfield, Ceberio ran forward into space before unleashing a low shot at goal, only to see Ryan get down low to palm clear.
But despite enjoying the better of the second half, Bolton cruelly found themselves behind against the run of play moments later as Alex Finney deflected Regan Booty’s low cross past Campbell.
Jamie Thomas twice went close to levelling the scores as the half wore on, side-footing a low Holding cross narrowly wide before forcing a good save from Ryan following clever link-up play with Woolery.
Woolery nearly earned the Trotters a deserved point in stoppage-time following good build-up play from Holding, Cvetko and Thomas, but was unfortunate to see his thunderous half-volley fly narrowly over the bar.
And with virtually no time left on the clock, that was the closest Wanderers came to clinching a share of the spoils as Huddersfield held on secure all three points following an even encounter, much to the frustration of the young Whites.
Bolton: Campbell: Pisano (Perry 75), Maher, Derik, Holding, Finney, Brattan, Lussey (Cvetko 54), Woolery, Walker (Ceberio 58), Thomas.
Unused substitutes: Jaaskelainen, Newell.