Bolton Wanderers slipped to a narrow defeat against league-leaders Huddersfield Town at The County Ground, Leyland on Monday.
Facing off against a side that had lost just once since August, the young Whites fell behind as Flo Bojaj headed home from a corner midway through the first half.
However, Bolton responded well as George Newell saw two efforts chalked off for offside, while Tom Walker was unlucky not to net a last-minute equaliser with a 25-yard free-kick as the Trotters suffered a second successive reversal.
Alex Finney, Niall Maher, Filip Twardzik, Tom Walker and Lawrie Wilson all started for the Under-21s against Huddersfield, having all been named in the Wanderers travelling squad for Saturday’s trip to Brighton.
Meanwhile, with George Newell fielded as a lone striker, support was provided by Jon Ceberio, Chris Cvetko and Walker, with Maher operating in an unfamiliar holding midfield position.
Elsewhere, Ross Fitzsimons was named on the substitutes’ bench following the end of his loan spell with Bishop’s Stortford, alongside Channing Campbell-Young on his return from suspension, and Alex Samizadeh after he scored the winner for Bolton’s Under-18s against Crewe.
Hosting a side who have lost only once since August, Wanderers found themselves on the back-foot straight from kick-off as Huddersfield had the first shot on goal inside the game’s opening minutes.
Coming from a quickly-taken free-kick, the set-piece was played short across the edge of the box to Regan Booty, however, he was unable to keep his strike down as it looped over the crossbar.
At the other end Filip Twardzik volleyed narrowly wide for the young Whites, only to be ruled offside, but it was to be a rare shot on goal for Bolton during the opening quarter.
With the Terriers looking to control possession, Harry Campbell was twice called into action to deny the visitors as they pushed forward in search of the game’s first goal.
First getting down well to tip Flo Bojaj’s drilled strike from range behind, the Bolton goalkeeper again did well to keep out a close-range Jordy Hiwula effort.
However, Huddersfield did not have to wait much longer to find the opening goal as Bojaj headed home at the far post from Booty’s deep corner.
Awakened by falling behind, the Trotters pressed back and were unfortunate not to find themselves level on the half-hour mark.
Having already seen captain Niall Maher drag an effort wide when well-placed on the edge of the box, Jon Ceberio failed to hit the target when unmarked after running onto Tom Walker’s square ball.
Walker’s influence grew as the half wore on and he thought he had created the equaliser soon after as George Newell poked home his cross from close-range, only for the forward’s effort to be ruled out for offside.
Finding space down the right, Lawrie Wilson picked out Twardzik with a deep cross late in the half, only for the former Czech Republic youth international to volley off-target at the far post.
There was still time before the interval for Ceberio to go close once more, firing straight at Terriers goalkeeper Tadgh Ryan from the edge of the box, but Wanderers were unable to make a breakthrough as they went in at the break a goal behind.
Starting positively following the break, Walker and Newell both had chances for the Whites as they looked to level the scores.
Having seen Walker denied from close-range, Newell failed to hit the target with a diving header from Twardzik’s cross, before seeing a further glancing header from Wilson’s free-kick kept out by Ryan.
At the other end, Ronan Coughlan twice went close for Huddersfield from similar positions inside the area, first seeing a powerful strike tipped away by Campbell before later firing over the crossbar.
Bolton introduced Enock Likoy-Elumba with twenty minutes left to play in place of Maher as they changed formation in their continued efforts to find an equaliser.
And the Trotters thought they had equalised moments later, only to once again be denied by the linesman’s flag as Newell strayed offside to tap home after Ryan had palmed clear Walker’s fierce strike from the edge of the box.
Alex Samizadeh was introduced to the action with ten minutes left to play as Wanderers continued to bomb forward, keen to replicate their previous late goals of recent outings.
However, their attacking intent almost came back to haunt them as Huddersfield nearly sealed the victory in the dying embers of the match, with Campbell required to spread his body well to deny Hiwula when left one-on-one.
There was still one last chance for the Whites as Walker went close with a dipping 25-yard free-kick, only to see Ryan dive full-stretch to tip his effort over the crossbar.
And with minimal time left on the clock, Bolton were unable to find a leveller as they slipped to their second successive defeat.