Bolton Wanderers 3-1 Manchester City U21

  • October 29, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton registered back-to-back wins for the first time in 14 months as they beat Manchester City U21 in a Trophy tie at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Wanderers broke the deadlock when Ali Crawford, who was later stretchered off, swept home inside four minutes, but City drew level on 13 minutes when Fisayo Dele-Bashiru's cross ricocheted into the net off an unfortunate Yoan Zouma.

The sides largely cancelled each other out until just after the hour, when Chris O'Grady volleyed home from a corner, and the forward sealed victory in the final minute of normal time by pouncing on some hesitant defending to fire beyond Daniel Grimshaw.

After Saturday's League One clash at Lincoln City was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Wanderers boss Keith Hill made just one change to the side that beat Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium last Tuesday.

Out went Josh Earl, meaning Jason Lowe captained the side from a central defensive position, while James Weir came in to fill the gap in midfield.

Knowing only a win would give them a realistic opportunity of progression, the hosts burst out of the traps against their younger opposition and took the lead with less than four minutes played.

Neat interplay down the left-hand side resulted in Weir cutting the ball back for Crawford, who swept a first-time effort across goal and low into the bottom corner of Grimshaw's net.

Henri Ogunby was the first to try his luck for the visitors, firing off target with little over 10 minutes played, but it wasn't long until the Citizens were back on level terms as Dele-Bashiru worked his way to the byline before seeing his low cross bounce off Zouma and past Remi Matthews.

Weir shot straight at Grimshaw as Bolton looked to regain a lead, shortly before pressure from Luke Murphy forced a mistake from which Daryl Murphy and Crawford combined for the latter to drill wide of goal.

Daryl Murphy should have doubled the lead on the half-hour, but somehow put his effort wide of the target after being put clean through on goal by Crawford.

Lewis Fiorini cut a frustrated figure in the City midfield at times and twice came close as the half progressed, while Rowan McDonald poked the ball wide from a corner when it had looked easier to score.

Crawford and Fiorini shot over at either end, while the final opportunity of the half fell to Daryl Murphy, whose run into the box ended with Grimshaw smothering the ball at his feet.

There was one change to the home side as the players returned for the second period, as Dennis Politic was introduced in place of Daryl Murphy. It was their second substitution, after Sonny Graham had earlier replaced Weir towards the end of the first half.

With the action back underway, it was City who found the target first as Tyreke Wilson rolled an attempt just past the post within two minutes of the restart.

Cole Palmer was next to try his luck for the visitors, cutting inside Adam Chicksen before finding the arms of Matthews.

Josh Emmanuel thought he had given Bolton the lead on 54 minutes but his low drive, which had beaten Grimshaw, was cleared off the line by Taylor Harwood-Bellis.

Wanderers continued their pressure as the clock ticked towards the hour, with Graham and Zouma both testing Grimshaw, and their momentum paid off on 66 minutes as Hill's side went ahead for a second time.

With City failing to deal with a corner into their box, Lowe flicked the ball into the path of O'Grady, whose first-time volley on the turn found the net to make it 2-1.

City wasted two chances to equalise, with Nabil Touaizi and Palmer both firing wide, while Joe Dodoo lifted an effort just over the crossbar with 10 minutes to play.

Substitute James McAtee cleared the crossbar twice within moments of his introduction for the visitors, while Dele-Bashiru once again found the gloves of Matthews shortly afterwards.

The game was over as a contest with less than two minutes of normal time remaining, though, as O'Grady capitalised on some slack City defending to smash home his second of the evening and give Bolton a comfortable 3-1 lead.

The one major downpoint of the evening was yet to come, however, as Crawford went down in added time and was stretchered off after more than four minutes of treatment on the pitch.

Wanderers end the group stage on five points but must wait a fortnight to discover whether they will advance through to the knockout stages, with Bradford City and Rochdale due to meet on November 12. A clear winner of that tie will see the runners-up spot in Group F decided by goal difference.

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Chicksen, Lowe, Zouma, Emmanuel, L Murphy, Weir (Graham 37), Crawford, O'Grady, Dodoo, D Murphy (Politic 45)
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Boon, Senior, King-Harmes, Hall
Goals: Crawford 4, O'Grady 66,89

Manchester City U21: Grimshaw, Dionkou, Wilson, Harwood-Bellis, Burns (McAtee 82), McDonald, Dele-Bashiru, Fiorini (Rogers 72), Touaizi, Palmer, Ogunby (Knight 73)
Subs Not Used: Slicker, Garre, Ogbeta, Pozo
Goals: Zouma 13 (og)

Referee: Peter Wright
Attendance: 2,616

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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