Bolton Wanderers bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup after suffering a narrow defeat against Sky Bet League One opponents Crewe Alexandra.
Nathan Delfouneso got both Wanderers’ goals in the second half after Mickael Mandron put the visitors in front inside the first half. Further goals from Oli Finney and Charlie Kirk saw the Railwaymen home.
Ian Evatt made one change from the side that drew 1-1 in midweek against Mansfield Town with Liam Gordon coming in for the injured Harry Brockbank at wing-back as the Wanderers head coach named a strong line-up for the cup tie.
The visitors looked to test Billy Crellin straight away with the Wanderers keeper getting hold of Crewe captain Perry Ng’s effort.
Oli Finney played in a good ball to striker Charlie Kirk but, under pressure from the Wanderers defence, he hit the ball low into the side-netting.
Ryan Wintle’s effort was tipped onto the top of the cross bar by Crellin after letting fly from 25 yards as the visitors looked to capitalise on their bright start.
Delaney made a vital block just in front of his own goal line to deny Mikael Mandron after Harry Pickering found the Frenchman.
Pickering and Mandron linked up again as the full-back rounded Baptiste to put in a cross for the frontman, who wasn’t able to connect the the low centre.
Antoni Sarcevic brought about Wanderers’ first chance after Delfouneso beat the offside trap to pass back to Ryan Delaney. The Irishman took a deft touch to set up the Wanderers captain, whose low drive from distance went out for a goalkick.
The visitors took the lead moment later through Mandron who steered home from close range after receiving a cross from Ng.
Mandron hit a tame low shot at Crellin after Wanderers lost possession in a dangerous area.
Wanderers equalised on 37 minutes courtesy of a great strike by Delfouneso, who spun, lost his marker and curled in a left footer past Will Jaaskelainen into the top corner. Crawford got another assist in the build up to the goal after some progressive by Wanderers which involved 11 passes.
No changes were made by either side during the break.
It was an encouraging start to the second-half by Wanderers who were looking to press forward at every opportunity.
Crewe began to build some momentum and a first-time volley from Finney with the outside of his foot went narrowly wide.
Shaun Miller came on for Darcy just after the hour mark as Evatt made his first change of the afternoon.
Delaney and Sarcevic combined well the thwart Mandron as the visitors looked to get their noses back in front.
Kioso put in a great cross into the box which was cleared behind by Ng.
From the resulting corner, the visitors launched a swift counter attack which ended when Gordon put in a very good block to deny Kirk.
Wanderers made their second subsitution after 68 minutes when Lloyd Isgrove came on for Crawford.
Alex regained their lead when Finney drove home from a narrow angle after beating White in the box.
Crewe got their third through Kirk who stabbed home from close range.
Wanderers earned themselves a lifeline just a couple of mniutes later when Delfouneso grabbed his second of the afternoon, poking home from close range after being found by Sarcevic.
Kioso headed over whilst under pressure after leaping to reach Sarcevic’s deep cross as Wanderers looked to get back on level terms.
But Wanderers were unable to find an equaliser as they were knocked out of the competition.
Bolton Wanderers: Crellin, Gordon, Almeida Santos, Delaney, Delfouneso, Sarcevic (C), Crawford (Isgrove 68), White (Tutte 76), Darcy (Miller 61), Baptiste, Kioso
Subs Not Used: Comley, Hickman, Mascoll, Greenidge.
Crewe Alexandra: Jaaskelainen, Ng (C), Pickering, Wintle, Powell, Lowery, Kirk, Mandron, Finney (Ainley 70), Offord, Beckles
Subs Not Used: Richards (GK), Nolan, Zanzala, Johnson, Adebisi
Read Time: 4 mins