Bolton Wanderers suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of play-off chasing Millwall at Macron Stadium on Tuesday night.
Goals either side of the break from Tom Elliott and Ben Marshall ensured the visitors ran out winners on the night.
Phil Parkinson made a total of six changes from the side that lost to Derby County on the weekend. Jon Flanagan, Andrew Taylor, Derik, Craig Noone, Sammy Ameobi and captain Darren Pratley all returned to the starting Xl with Mark Little, Antonee Robinson, Reece Burke, Jem Karacan, Will Buckley and Aaron Wilbraham dropping to the bench.
Wanderers began with purpose with widemen Craig Noone and Sammy Ameobi pushing high up the pitch and applying pressure from the off.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors. Tom Elliott played a nicely weighted through ball to Jed Wallace, who squared for George Saville but the midfielder got his feet tangled and the move petered out.
Bolton created two opportunities of their own moments later. Ameobi clipped the post from a tight angle before picking out Noone, whose header at the back post was scrambled away.
Enjoying the bulk of possession, the Whites grew in momentum as the first-half progressed and were inches wide of taking the lead when Noone’s whipped in cross from the right deflected off Adam Le Fondre and the ball flashed just wide of the post.
Wanderers pressed high and forced their opponents into an error when Le Fondre pounced on Wallace’s misplaced back pass. Bearing through on goal one-on-one with goalkeeper Jordan Archer, the striker ran out of time and space and the opportunity fizzled out.
Millwall immediately launched their own attack with Wallace racing forward down the right-hand side and seeing his effort blocked by Andrew Taylor.
Karl Henry then tested Archer with a volley from the edge of the 18-yard box following some tricky wing play by Ameobi.
The deadlock was broken in the 33rd minute when Ben Marshall swung in an inviting delivery and Elliott was on the end of it, cushioning his header past Ben Alnwick.
Noone produced a long-range strike which travelled high over the crossbar, as the Trotters headed into half-time trailing.
The second period began with Elliott rising highest from Wallace’s cross and steering his header off target.
Several minutes later, Saville’s weak shot lacked sufficient power to worry Alnwick.
Parkinson made an attacking double substitution on the hour mark, with Derik and Noone being replaced by Zach Clough and Filipe Morais, making his first appearance since Good Friday.
Wanderers’ chances of getting back into the contest were dealt a heavy blow in the 62nd minute, however, when the Lions doubled their lead through the lively Marshall.
Mahlon Romeo marauded forward down the right-hand side, and with Clough unable to keep up, the Antiguan and Barbudan international neatly pulled the ball back for Marshall who rifled home from close range.
Millwall’s No.44 could have had a second to his name 10 minutes later, yet Alnwick was alert to parry away his long-range effort.
Pratley made way for Josh Vela in Bolton’s final substitution, but the Whites were unable to mount a late comeback in the latter stages of the match as the visitors went home with all three points.