Bolton Wanderers suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Preston North End in the Sky Bet Championship at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturd
Phil Parkinson made four changes to his starting eleven that went up against Sheffield United in the Sky Bet Championship.
Andrew Taylor and Jack Hobbs missed out through injury, with Marc Wilson and Jonathan Grounds coming in to replace them.
Furthermore, Josh Vela and Clayton Donaldson dropped out for Craig Noone and Josh Magennis.
Magennis had the first chance of the game, as a Gary O’Neil floated delivery into the area was nodded towards goal by the Northern Irishman but saved comfortably by Declan Rudd.
The target man was at it again mere minutes after, with a curling effort from outside the North End area sailing wide of the mark.
The Lilywhites responded through Alan Browne, as the midfielder struck an effort on the half volley that never troubled Matthews in the Wanderers goal.
Following a defensive mix up at the back by Wanderers, Barkhuizen intercepted a misplaced pass by David Wheater and lashed an effort across goal and wide of the far post.
Shortly after the 20 minute mark and Barkhuizen broke into space for Alex Neil’s men, powering through the middle of the Trotters half and tried to angle the ball into the bottom corner but dragged his effort wide.
As the clash hit the half hour point, O’Neil produced a tantalising corner kick into the six yard area for Marc Wilson to latch onto, but the defender’s aerial attempt flew over the bar.
Eight minutes before the interval as a shot on the Wanderers goal had Matthews beaten with a deflection but Wilson came in to clear the ball off the line in a last ditch attempt.
Soon after, Preston had the lead as Alan Browne found space in the right side of the box and hit the back of the net with a low right footed strike into the corner.
Almost immediately after play resumed and Maguire almost managed to tap the ball past Matthews at his near post, but the goalkeeper stood firm and saved well with his foot.
Ten minutes into the second period and Alan Browne played a menacing ball across the face of the Whites goal, but Wilson was on hand to avert the danger with a sliding clearance.
Paul Gallagher came close to doubling Preston’s lead soon after, with an effort across goal just inches away from finding the net.
With 67 minutes on the clock, Preston caught the Whites on the counter attack as Brad Potts steamed through on goal, one on one with Matthews.
The midfielder fired at goal, but was denied by the post from getting North End’s second of the game.
North End made it two with eight minutes left of regulation play, as Barkhuizen was played through with only Matthews to beat, and crept the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper and into the back of the Wanderers goal.
Wanderers responded with a chance soon after, as an O’Neil corner found the head of Wheater who couldn’t get his effort past the mixture of bodies in the area.
Preston broke away with three minutes to go, with Nmecha getting away an effort on goal that Matthews saved well through rushing out to the striker.
The Whites managed to pull one back through Clayton Donaldson, as the forward latched onto a Magennis knock down and dispatched from close range past Rudd.
Magennis nearly had the equaliser in added time of this clash, as a header from point blank range off a deflected cross saw Rudd make a magnificent save to tip it over his crossbar.
However, it wasn’t enough as the visiting side took the three points at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Wanderers XI: Matthews, Lowe, Ameobi, Noone (Pritchard 77), Connolly, Wilson, O’Neil, Magennis, Grounds (Donaldson 62), Wheater (C), Connell (Vela 23).
Unused substitutes: Alnwick, Buckley, Olkowski, Dyer.