Bolton Wanderers 5
Walker 12mins, 67mins, Thomas 45+3mins, 87mins, Newby 51mins
Barker 54mins, Ambrose 56mins
- Match reports
- 15 February 2014 14:04
- Posted by @porter_mcfc / pics by VHaydn_mcfc
City u18s surrendered their 13 game winning streak after going down 5-2 away to a well-drilled Bolton side.
Torrential rain and powerful winds made it difficult for either side to get much rhythm going, and City found it tricky to create chances when the weather deprived them of their usual attractive, passing game.
Jose Angel Pozo came in for Jorge Intima as the Spaniard continues his comeback from injury, but Brandon Barker and Thierry Ambrose retained their regular starting places up front. Ashley Smith-Brown continued in his unfamiliar role of centre back alongside Mathias Bossaerts, while Jack Byrne, Kean Bryan and Olivier Ntcham formed the midfield axis.
The game started slowly with both teams struggling to adapt to the conditions, but Billy O'Brien was the first goalkeeper to be called on, making a smart stop low down from a free kick to push the ball away from his near post.
At the other end, Kean Bryan shot wide for City, while a long ball from Smith-Brown reached Barker, who twisted and turned his way into a good position in the centre and saw his shot blocked.
But it was the hosts who struck first, Tom Walker coming in from the left to power his shot into the corner of O’Brien’s goal.
The gameplan was further derailed when Pozo had to be stretchered off after just 22 minutes to be replaced by Intima, which saw Barker swap wings to resume his favoured role on the left.
City grew more comfortable in possession as the half progressed and the Bolton keeper got down well to prevent Ambrose from grabbing the equaliser, while a swift pass from Byrne picked out Barker but his shot was wild and sailed off towards the corner flag.
Instead, it was the Trotters who doubled their lead just before the break with another great shot which left O’Brien with no chance – Jamie Thomas this time.
Things got worse at the start of the second period, as Elliot Newby pounced on the loose ball after City failed to deal with a corner to give the hosts a three goal cushion.
But under the watchful eye of Shaun Goater, City dusted themselves off and took the game to Bolton, determined to reduce the deficit. They were rewarded just three minutes later when one of Barker’s trademark shots from the left side of the box took a deflection on its way into the back of the net.
Revitalised, City came again and within two minutes had made it two. The ball found Ambrose lurking at the edge of the box, and the Frenchman had no hesitation in finding the bottom corner for his 15th goal of a remarkable debut season in City colours.
Wilcox’s men sensed blood, and strove forward in search of an equaliser. Barker had a good chance for his second of the game, while Ntcham was unlucky to fire over the bar on the half turn after Bolton couldn’t deal with yet another good run and cross from the England winger.
Unfortunately, with City bodies piling forward desperate to restore parity, the boy Blues were hit on the break as Walker found his second of the game to make it 4-2 with over 20 minutes remaining.
The Blues had chances to get back into the game once more – Bryan raced through the middle past the last defender but saw the goalkeeper rush out to make a good stop, while Intima blazed over at the far post when he might have done better.
As it was, the hosts were able to wrap things up just three minutes from the end when O’Brien’s kick was intercepted by the striker Thomas, who gleefully smacked the ball into the empty net to make the points safe.
After a disappointing morning, the young Blues will be determined to put things right when they take on Fulham in the Youth Cup at Boundary Park on Wednesday night.