Bolton Wanderers Under-23s fell to a disappointing 3-0 defeat away at Birmingham City in their penultimate game of the regular league season on Thursday afternoon.
Without striker Connor Hall and with four trialists starting the game, the young Whites struggled to break down the Blues in a disjointed first half performance.
David Lee's side fell behind early on as Jack Storer found the corner with an unstoppable long-range effort before Harry Brockbank deflected Jorge Aker's strike past Jake Turner as Bolton trailed 2-0 at the break.
Ryan White, Dennis Politic and Luca Navarro were all introduced at half-time as the Trotters looked to find a way back into the game.
Jeff King had a free-kick saved while Navarro had a tame effort easily saved, but that was the closest Wanderers came to reducing the deficit.
There was no coming back soon after as Birmingham extended their lead further on the hour-mark through Corey O'Keeffe, compiling further misery on the young Whites.
Despite the defeat, Bolton remain top of the Professional Development League North table with one game left to play.
Sitting two points ahead of second-placed Sheffield Wednesday and six points ahead of third-placed Sheffield United, having played a game more than both, the Trotters need to pick up at least a point in their final game of the season against Ipswich Town on Monday night to secure their play-off place.
Wanderers Under-23s: Turner, Brockbank, Lonsdale, Edwards, Elsdon, Morris, Hall (White 46), Earing, King, Beckford (Politic 46), Morrison (Navarro 46).
Unused Subs: Hartshorne, Shckleford.