Report: Bolton Wanderers U23s 1-3 Nottingham Forest U23s

Stephen Darby completed 65 minutes as he made his return from injury in Bolton Wanderers Under-23s' defeat to Nottingham Forest at Macron Stadium on Monday night.

Having seen Connor Hall cancel out a first half Forest penalty, the young Whites were made to rue missed opportunities with Jack Earing hitting the crossbar and Alex Perry seeing a fortuitous effort cleared off the line as they fell to an eventual 3-1 defeat.

Starting brightly as Bolton signalled their intent straight from kick-off, Ryan White had the Trotters' first opening of the night as he drilled wide across goal when well-placed inside the opening ten minutes.

Having seen Chris Regis call goalkeeper George Shelvey into action for the first time moments later with a tame strike, Joe Muscatt then missed a golden opportunity when blazing over the crossbar after breaking free into the Forest penalty area.

Wanderers found themselves behind moments later against the run of play as Aaron Smith sent James Aspinall the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Unfazed by falling behind, the young Whites maintained their early pressure and were unfortunate not to find an immediate equaliser through Jack Earing.

Finding himself in space 25-yards from goal, the talented midfielder left Shelvey well-beaten with a stunning, curling strike from distance only to see his thunderous effort cannon back off the crossbar.

But Bolton did not have to wait much longer to net a deserved equaliser as Hall leapt to connect with Perry's header back across goal, powerfully finishing past Shelvey as his emphatic header kissed the underside of the crossbar on its way into the net.

Hall could have had a second just after the half-hour mark following a great piece of wing-play from Earing.

Beaten numerous men on his way into the Forest area with skilful footwood, the midfielder picked out Muscatt outwide with Hall unfortunate not to convert his subsequent low cross at the far post.

However, the Trotters' missed chances came back to haunt them before the break as the visitors finished the half strongly. 

Ethan Stewart lost his marker to fire Forest back ahead at the far post following a corner to ensure his side went in ahead at the interval.


Determined to respond following the restart, Dennis Politic called Shelvey into action with a long-range effort before Hall forced another save from the goalkeeper after pouncing on a defensive error.

Forest had their chances too, however, with both Harry Brockbank and Darby required to make last-ditch challenges to deny Forest what looked like certain goals after getting caught out at the back.

At the other end, Perry almost equalised in fortuitous circumstances as the midfielder charged down a Shelvey clearance.

Seeing it ricochet back towards goal, a Forest defender won the race back to head clear off the line just as the ball looked to be about to bounce in.

In a frantic final ten minutes, substitute Virgil Gomis sealed the win for Forest after turning one way and then another before drilling across goal into the bottom corner for his side's third of the night.

Smith and Gomis both then missed further opportunities to extend the visitors' lead before an ultimately unsuccessful late barrage on the Forest goal from Wanderers.

Hall saw an effort blocked from Muscatt's low cross before drilling inches wide from an acute angle after showing great determination to burst forward into the box when under pressure.

White then saw a long-range piledriver deflected wide as the young Whites' efforts to forge a dramatic comeback proved fruitless. 

The result leaves Bolton 11th in the Northern Section of the U23 Professional Development League, with the young Whites travelling to Sheffield United next week in their next outing.

Wanderers team: Aspinall, Darby, Muscatt, Edwards, Brockbank, Regis, Politic, Perry, Hall, White, Earing.

Subs: Morris, Johnson, Navarro, Fearnley, Lonsdale. 

Read Time: 4 mins