Under-18s Report: Preston North End 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

A second-half goal from Jay Fitzmartin gave the young Wanderers victory in the Youth Alliance Cup against neighbours Preston North End last weekend.

The visitors started the game well with captain Regan Riley returning to the starting XI having been with the first team recently.

Wanderers’ front three combined well in the opening 20 minutes and created numerous opportunities to take the lead.

However, Preston responded well and the next 25 minutes were dominated in central areas.

Wanderers made a tactical switch during half-time with Finlay Lockett switching to the Number 10 position.

This changed the game in Wanderers favour, with Lockett linking play with Wanderers’ attacking unit.

Chances came thick and fast with substitute Kian Le Fondre nearly took the lead for the visitors. Then, Fitzmartin and Mitchell Henry all tested the North End keeper.

When the goal finally came, Wanderers were dominating possession. A flowing twelve-pass move sent Le Fondre racing down Preston’s left with the full-back to beat.

The sub beat the full-back and picked out Fitzmartin In the six yard box who slotted the ball home.

Preston rallied and created two half chances but terrific defending kept Preston at bay.

The game got stretched which suited Wanderers, whose front three created three fantastic opportunities to extend their lead but failed to capitalise.

Academy Manager Mark Litherland said: “The players were terrific and played like a big team. We dominated possession, creating some fantastic opportunities to score against a well organised side.  

“Our defensive structure and organisation were brilliant throughout the game, limiting Preston to half chances. 

“Dave Gardiner’s been working wíth the front three all week and it paid off with them combining brilliantly all game. 

“This is a cup competition so it was vital that we won the first game. This now gives us a great platform to move into the next round.” 


Bolton Wanderers:

Hutchinson, Tweedley, Whalley, Colvin, Toure, Pettifer, Henry, Assarsson, (Le Fondre 46), Fitmartin, Riley (C), Lockett

Subs Not Used: Brown, Thompson, Conway, Litherland. 

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