Bolton Wanderers Under 18's remain unbeaten in the Youth Alliance after a 2-2 draw with Rochdale. Bolton twice had the lead and will be disappointed at not taking all 3 points.
The Young Whites dominated the first half and could have put the game out of reach of Rochdale.
Chances were arriving in abundance but better decision making and more clinical finishing were required if the scoreline was going to reflect Wanderers’ dominance.
Bolton deservedly took the lead on 25 minutes, when Mitchell Henry won the ball back and finished well past the Rochdale keeper. Bolton then had the ball in the net twice in quick succession but both goals were ruled out thanks to an offside decision.
The second half started as expected, with Rochdale upping the tempo and throwing everything they had at Bolton.
The Young Whites withstood the pressure and played some fantastic football to once again cut open the Rochdale back line, with only the cross bar preventing Bolton adding to their tally.
Against the run of play, however, Rochdale found an equaliser, albeit through an own goal. Bolton reacted well, however, and quickly regained the lead through Jay Fitzmartin, who finished well from an Arran Pettifer through ball.
Wanderers had to withstand a heavy barrage of long balls for the remainder of the game and looked as if they had secured the win, that was until a Rochdale free kick was superbly dispatched into the top corner in the last minute.
Wanderers had a chance to win the game when Fitzmartin found himself through on goal, but the Rochdale keeper pulled off an outstanding save to deny Bolton three deserved points.
U18 Coach Dave Gardiner said: "It’s so disappointing not to get all 3 points. We did more than enough to win the game twice over; the game should have been over by half time.
"All credit to Rochdale, they kept going, but we were comfortable throughout and, in the end, two mistakes have cost us. The football we play at times going forward is fantastic but we have got to be able to see games out by keeping our concentration levels high and maintaining our application for the full duration of the game.”
Team Line up: Ellis Litherland, Joel Burgess, Max Conway, Noah Halford, Ryan Colvin, Matthew Tweedley, Arran Pettifer, Wesley Frimpong, Mitchell Henry, Max Wilcox, Jay Fitzmartin.
Subs: Kian Le Fondre, Danny Jones, Lamine Toure, Harrison Fleury, Sonny Sharples-Ahmed.