Young Whites earn draw in season-opener at Macron Stadium
Bolton Wanderers Under-23s’ first game of the 2016/17 season ended in stalemate as they fought out a 1-1 draw with Bristol City on Monday night.
Boasting a number of trialists in their starting line-up, the young Whites were unable to break down the Robins defence in an uneventful first half at Macron Stadium.
With both sides afforded few chances, the visitors were almost gifted an early lead as Will Jaaskelainen spilled Diego De Girolamo’s long-range effort onto his own crossbar.
At the other end, Conor Wilkinson saw a couple of half-chances fall his way for Bolton, rifling wide from distance before later heading over from Callum Spooner’s cross.
Jaaskelainen was called into action again by De Girolamo on the half-hour mark, diving low to his left to palm away the midfielder’s fierce free-kick.
However, the tide of the game changed soon after the restart as Bristol City took the lead early in the second half.
Timing his run to perfection, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans emphatically volleyed the Robins ahead after connecting with Lloyd Kelly’s cross at the far post.
The Trotters fought back with Alex Perry volleying off-target, before Cole Lonsdale’s rasping strike was kept out by Jojo Wollacott at the near post.
Bristol City were desperately unlucky not to extend their lead shortly before the hour mark as Jonny Smith found himself in space after cutting inside from the right.
Pulling the trigger from distance, the midfielder left Jaaskelainen well-beaten with a thunderous long-range effort only to see it cannon back off the underside of the Finn’s crossbar.
Introducing Alex Samizadeh to the field as they went in search of an equaliser, Wanderers managed to level the scores with a sublime effort of their own midway through the half.
Coming against the run of play, Hyuga Tanner beat Wollacott with an unstoppable first-time volley to find the bottom corner from 25-yards with a strike out of nothing.
Both sides pushed forward in search of a late winner with Wollacott and Jaaskelainen both called into action to deny Samizadeh and James Difford respectively inside the final ten minutes.
Samizadeh went close again in stoppage-time as he fired narrowly wide, but neither side was able to find an elusive second goal as the Whites ended up with a share of the spoils from their opening game of the campaign.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Spooner, Lonsdale, Honeyball, Lavelle, Wright (Reid 61), Perry, Tanner, O'Hanlon, Wilkinson (Samizadeh 57), Earing.
Unused substitutes: Turner, Brockbank, Politic.
Development Squad match report sponsors: Bristol Street Motors