U21s: Bolton 1-2 Leeds United

Filip Twardzik nets screamer as Wanderers suffer home defeat.

Bolton Wanderers Under-21s slipped to a disappointing defeat at home to Leeds United on Thursday night.

Facing off at The County Ground Leyland, Kalvin Phillips and Tom Walker both hit the woodwork for either side during an even first half.

Goals in quick succession from Lee Erwin and Jake Skelton put the visitors in control after the break.

And despite Filip Twardzik halving the deficit with a wonder-goal in stoppage-time, the Trotters were unable to find an even later equaliser.

Tom Walker and Filip Twardzik both started for Wanderers, while Alex Finney again captained the young Whites.

Elsewhere Alex Perry was also named in the starting XI as Chris Cvetko and Jamie Thomas dropped out from the side that won away at Brentford.

Having shared six goals the last time the two sides met earlier in the season, there were limited opportunities during what was a slow start at The County Ground, Leyland.

The first chance of the night fell to the visitors after ten minutes as Kalvin Phillips looked to beat Ross Fitzsimons with a curling 25-yard free-kick only to see the Wanderers goalkeeper tip his effort onto the post.

At the other end, Nat Phillips had the young Whites first chance though he knew little about it as Jordan Lussey’s low corner connected with his knee before diverting narrowly wide.

Leeds continued to threaten as the half wore on without really testing Fitzsimons in the Bolton goal, failing to provide the finishing touch to a number of balls into the box as the Trotters defended well.

However, the visitors were nearly gifted the opening goal shortly after the half-hour mark as Ronaldo Vieira looked to run onto a tame Alex Finney backpass.

Alert to the situation, Fitzsimons raced off his line to get to the ball first and clear the danger when under pressure.

The Trotters finished the half strongly and had two good opportunities to break the deadlock themselves soon after.

First George Newell found himself in space inside the Leeds penalty area after taking advantage of a defensive mix-up.

However, caught in two minds whether to shoot or pass, the forward took the ball wide of goal, allowing Eric Grimes to sprint off his line to deny the forward.

Wanderers best chance of the half fell to Tom Walker from their very next attack as the wideman spotted an opportunity from distance.

Unleashing a thunderous effort from distance, the youngster was desperately unlucky to see his strike cannon back off the crossbar having left Grimes well beaten.

Bursting into life following his near miss, Walker remained heavily involved nearly created a good opening late in the half as he embarked on a fine solo-run forwards.

Jinking his way past three challenges on his way into the Leeds box, Walker crossed low cross across goal, only to see Leeds clear with Enock Likoy-Elumba lurking behind, ensuring the sides went in at the break with the scores goalless.

Clear-cut chances continued to be few and far between following the restart as both sides continued to cancel each other out in the middle of the park.

The visitors slowly began to assert their authority and could have taken the lead when Euan Mulhern connect with Phillips’ cross, only to head wide when well-placed inside the box.

However, Leeds did not have long to wait until they broke the deadlock as two goals in quick succession saw them take control of the tie.

Lee Erwin finished well to fire his side ahead moments after the hour-mark, sending a first-time finish into the bottom corner after connecting with a low cross.

Jake Skelton doubled Leeds’ lead moments following a corner, beating Fitzsimons with a looping header which the Whites were unable to clear off the line.

Bolton fought back and had only Grimes to curse for not halving the deficit from a corner of their own with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Nat Phillips leapt well to connect with the set-piece at the far post, only for Grimes to produce a fine reaction save to tip the defender’s header over the crossbar.

The Trotters went close again from the resulting set-piece but were ultimately unable to convert as Leeds survived the danger to clear off the line.

Jack Earing and Alex Samizadeh were both introduced to the action as the half wore on as Wanderers looked to fight their way back into the match.

Having scored within a minute of coming on in last week’s victory over Brentford, Samizadeh looked lively as he once again tried to make an immediate impact.

Seeking to cause problems, the forward burst into the area only to be denied by a covering defender, with what was to be a rare half-chance for Wanderers during the game’s dying embers.

The Whites should have had a goal back in the last minute as Jack Earing was denied with only the goalkeeper to beat, with Samizadeh unable to convert the rebound.

However, they did have their goal moments later as Filip Twardzik beat Grimes with an unstoppable 25-yard effort.

But try as they might, Bolton were unable to level the scores as they slipped to defeat in their penultimate home game of the league season.



Bolton: Fitzsimons, Spooner, Garratt, Finney, Phillips, Perry, Lussey (Earing 68), Twardzik, Newell (Samizadeh 73), Likoy-Elumba, Walker (Allen 85).

Unused substitutes: Turner, Brockbank.

Under-21s match report sponsors: Bristol Street Motors
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