Alex Samizadeh nets debut strike as young Whites maintain unbeaten run
Alex Samizadeh came off the bench to score on his Under-21s debut as Bolton Wanderers fought out a 1-1 draw away at Cardiff City.
The young Whites trailed after Eli Phipps headed the Bluebirds ahead against the run of play midway through the first half.
But Samizadeh emerged from the bench to fire Bolton level just over ten minutes into his maiden appearance, side-footing home when one-on-one to ensure the Trotters maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
With Jamie Thomas away on international duty, both George Newell and Jon Ceberio started in attack alongside Kaiyne Woolery, while there was also place on the bench for Under-18s forward Alex Samizadeh.
Ross Fitzsimons returned in goal, while Channing Campbell-Young, Chris Cvetko, Tyler Garratt and Jordan Lussey were also handed starting berths as Wanderers made seven changes to the side that beat Manchester City last weekend.
Attacking right from kick-off, Wanderers started brightly and were denied an early lead as George Newell could only fire straight at goalkeeper Luke O’Reilly after bursting into the area.
The Whites went close again soon after as Chris Cvetko found space on the edge of the Cardiff area, before drilling his shot narrowly wide of the far post.
But despite controlling the early possession as they dominated proceedings, Bolton found themselves behind in the 17th minute as Cardiff took the lead from their very first shot on goal.
Finding himself unmarked at the far post, Eli Phipps beat Ross Fitzsimons with a diving header from close-range from Macauley Southam’s cross.
The Trotters fought back immediately and seemed to have valid appeals for a penalty turned down after Kaiyne Woolery was pulled back then tripped in the area.
At the other end, Thomas James blazed a 25-yard free-kick harmlessly over Fitzsimon’s crossbar.
Newell was denied by O’Reilly once more shortly after the half-hour mark as the keeper got down well to keep out his powerful first-time effort from the edge of the box from Jordan Lussey’s low corner.
There was still time for Quade Taylor to go close from distance following good work outwide from Woolery, but the defender was unlucky not to hit the target as Wanderers went in at the break a goal behind.
Continuing to enjoy the best of the action, O’Reilly had to be alert to deny the Whites an equaliser as he dived full-stretch to tip away a goalbound header from his own defender James.
The keeper was on hand to deny Bolton once more as he combined with a defender to throw his body on the line and keep out Jon Ceberio’s rifled effort from close-range following a corner on the hour-mark.
Having scored six times already this season from just four appearances for the Under-18s, Alex Samizadeh was brought out in place of the Spaniard just a minute later for his Under-21s debut as the Trotters continued to search for an equaliser.
And the young forward wasted no time in making an immediate impact as he levelled the scores just over ten minutes after taking to the field, racing clear of the defence before calmly slotting past O’Reilly and celebrating in style.
Samizadeh was twice denied a late winner as he fizzed a half-volley narrowly wide before failing to hit the target with a header from Lussey’s deep free-kick, as Wanderers were forced to settle for a share of the spoils despite their dominant display.
Bolton: Fitzsimons, Maher, Garratt, Taylor, Twardzik, Lussey, Campbell-Young, Cvetko, Newell, Ceberio (Samizadeh 63), Woolery.
Unused substitutes: Spooner, Campbell, Perry, Griffiths.
Development Squad match report sponsors: Bristol Street Motors