Bolton Wanderers' Under-23s were crowned champions of the Professional Development League 2017/18 as they ran out 2-1 victors over Nottingham Forest on Friday evening.
Early signs of Bolton pressure came just five minutes in, with midfielder Jeff King stinging the gloves of Liam Bossin from distance.
This resulted in an early goal for the Whites after six minutes, as King’s incisive through ball found Stephen McKenna who calmly slotted home into the bottom corner for an early Wanderers lead.
It nearly became 2-0, as King’s free kick looped into the area, narrowly missing the head of in-rushing defender Adam Mitchell.
Forest started to come back into the tie midway through the first half, with Toby Edser and Virgil Gomis testing the goalkeeping skills of James Aspinall. The shot stopper was equal to all that Forest had to offer however.
Just before the break however and David Lee’s men doubled their lead, as Dennis Politic thundered a shot past Forest’s Bossin, leaving him rooted to the spot as the Romanian wheeled away in celebration.
The Reds certainly came into the game as the second half progressed, with Brennan Johnson firing a shot from close-range, only to be matched by goalkeeper Aspinall.
Bolton also had their chances to kill the game as it went on, with King again testing the ability of Forest’s number one Bossin with a long rang effort.
With 13 minutes to go though, the home side pulled one back through substitute Danny Preston, as he nodded the ball past Aspinall.
It led to a nervous last ten minutes, with Adam Mitchell and Liam Edwards both putting their bodies on the line with fantastic blocks late on.
Forest threw everything at the Wanderers goal, but it wasn’t enough as referee Scott Simpson blew the final whistle and Bolton were crowned champions.
Wanderers starting XI: Aspinall, Brockbank, Lonsdale, Edwards (c), Mitchell, Pritchard, Politic, Earing, McKenna, King, White
Substitutes: Muscatt, Turner, Navarro, Jones-Griffiths, Morris