Alex Under-23s Go Down In Bolton
A hat-trick for Connor Hall was the main feature of a 5-star Bolton Wanderers performance against Crewe Alexandra in the Under-23s Professional Development League Division 2 fixture at the Macron Stadium last night.
Manager Alex Morris named Ben Garratt in goal (also giving him the captain`s armband) and started with Billy Sass-Davies, Luke Offord and Ollie Harrison in a back 3. In front of them were wing-backs Travis Johnson and Alex Hurst with Regan Griffiths, Josh Lundstram and Ollie Finney in midfield whilst Charlie Kirk played in behind Lewis Reilly. On the bench was goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen, Luke Walsh, Joe Lynch, Rio Adebisi and Matthew Fenton.
The first chance came in the 2nd minute as Bolton wide-man Dennis Politic shot over from just outside the area before Finney gave the visitors the lead on 4 minutes with a right-footed effort from 20 yards. Bolton almost equalised straight away as le Fondre shot over under pressure from just outside the area with Reilly having the next Alex effort with the outside of his right-foot on 11 minutes.
Bolton equalised on 18 minutes as an in-swinging Politic corner was glanced on by le Fondre for his strike partner Hall to head home from close range. Hall headed an effort wide from Harry Brockbank`s right-wing cross under little pressure before the same combination would give the Trotters the lead 10 minutes before the break via another le Fondre flick-on from the full-back`s cross. The half`s chances finished with Hall getting in behind with Garratt making a decent save before the ball was cleared to Jem Karacan whose 30-yard effort was also saved by Garratt.
After a half-time change that saw Harrison replaced by Under-18s captain Joe Lynch and Lundstram move into the back 3 and a quiet quarter-hour ensued, it was Bolton who took advantage of some slack defending as Crewe gave away a penalty just after the hour-mark as Offord tripped Politic with Hall completing his hat-trick before le Fondre headed a Lonsdale corner wide of the target minutes later.
Crewe got themselves back into the game with 15 minutes to play as Charlie Kirk got on the end of Lundstram`s long-diagonal ball, chesting it and firing under Mark Howard in the Bolton goal. It didn`t take too long for Bolton as Dorian Dervite headed in a Jeff King corner a few minutes later before the scoring was completed in the final minute of normal-time with Cole Lonsdale scoring a rocket from inside the D as Garratt punched a corner out to the wide-man.
The next fixture for Morris` men comes next Monday afternoon as we welcome Sheffield Wednesday to Reaseheath, 1pm kick-off.
Crewe: Garratt (c); Sass-Davies (Adebisi 63), Offord, Harrison (Lynch 46); T. Johnson, Griffiths, Lundstram, Finney, Hurst (Walsh 63)
Bolton: Howard; Brockbank, Edwards (c), Dervite, Muscatt; Politic (White 74), Karacan (Perry 77), King, Lonsdale; Hall, le Fondre