Young Whites slip to narrow defeat at Oakwell
Bolton Wanderers Under-21s' unbeaten start to 2016 came to an end away at Barnsley on Monday.
Facing off at Oakwell, both sides struggled with conditions on a sodden pitch in what was a game of few chances.
Jamie Thomas had numerous opportunities for the Whites but was unable to beat Tykes goalkeeper Nick Townsend.
Conceding in unfortunate circumstances late on, Otis Khan's deflected cross looped over Harry Campbell off a defender to inflict a cruel defeat on Bolton.
Having been an unused substitute for Wanderers' first team on Saturday, Neil Danns started in the heart of midfield for the Under-21s as he made his return from injury.
Elsewhere, there were also starts for fellow first teamers Derik Osede, Filip Twardzik and Tom Walker as Iain Brunskill named an experienced side at Oakwell.
With the rain pouring down at Oakwell, both sides struggled with the conditions with chances on either goal limited.
During a quiet opening quarter, Nat Phillips was on hand to block a rare Barnsley shot on goal.
Meanwhile at the other end, both Jamie Thomas and George Newell were unable to convert from Niall Maher's cross following a great solo-run down the right from the defender.
Wanderers created a few half-chances as the half wore on as Derik Osede and Filip Twardzik both saw efforts blocked in the box after Neil Danns whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left flank.
The Whites continued to push forward as the half wore on without managing to make the breakthrough in the final third.
Phillips saw his header back across goal cleared with Alex Finney lurking, while Thomas was denied by yet another Barnsley block after showing quick-feet to beat his marker inside the Tykes' area.
Moments later Thomas found himself with only the goalkeeper to bear after racing clear onto Derik's long free-kick forward, only to be let down by an uncharacteristic heavy touch.
At the other end, having seen Josh Scowen earlier drag an effort wide from 30-yards, Harry Campbell was called into action for the first time as he spread his body well to deny Shaun Tuton when one-on-one.
Bolton's best chance of the half fell to Thomas moments before the interval as the Wales youth international ran onto Tom Walker's threaded pass, only to see his drilled effort kept out by Nick Townsend.
There was still time in the half for Phillips to go close again from a corner, before Thomas curled a 25-yard free-kick off-target as both sides went in at the break with the scores level.
Thomas continued to be heavily involved after the interval, and was unfortunate to see a penalty appeal turned down after tricking his way past three defenders before being brought down.
However, goal-action remained limited for either side as they continued to cancel each other out on a sodden Oakwell turf.
Newell had a rare opportunity for the Trotters midway through the half after controlled Maher's low cross in the box, only be denied by Jack Cowgill's last-gasp sliding tackle.
Meanwhile at the other end, Matty Templeton fired straight as Campbell when well-placed following a swift Barnsley counter-attack.
Enock-Likoy-Elumba was brought on with twenty minutes left to play as Wanderers continued to press forward in search of breaking the deadlock.
However, it was to be the Tykes who took the lead five minutes later in rather fortuitous circumstances as Otis Khan's cross deflected off a Whites defender before looping over Campbell on its way into the net.
There proved to be one last chance for Bolton as Thomas again went close from a free-kick, however, he was unable to beat Townsend as the Trotters slipped to a narrow defeat.
Bolton: Campbell, Maher, Twardzik (Garratt 70), Phillips, Derik, Finney, Cvetko, Danns (Ceberio 76), Newell (Likoy-Elumba 68), Walker, Thomas.
Unused substitutes: Turner, Spooner.
Under-21s match report sponsors: Bristol Street Motors
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