Bolton U21’s 2
Barnsley U21’s 0
A Reds side featuring a number of first-team players lost by two goals at Bolton in what was a close encounter, despite the score-line.
A goal for the hosts either side of the half-time whistle was the difference, as former England International Emile Heskey struck to give them lead, before Tom Walker doubled Bolton’s advantage from the penalty spot.
The Reds had chances of their own, especially in the first half where the energetic Simeon Jackson saw his low effort expertly saved by Ross Fitzsimons in the Bolton net. Shortly after Ryan Williams played a neat one-two with Leon Dawson before Dawson swung in a pin-point cross which Jackson headed towards the top corner, only to be denied by Fitzsimons again as he tipped the header onto the bar.
Paul Digby had an effort fly just over the bar as his sweetly struck left-footed shot was inches away from the top corner.
The hosts had other chances of their own, but Reds ‘keeper Nick Townsend stood firm to deny efforts from Walker and Heskey on more than one occasion.
U21’s Manager Paul Heckingbottom gave his thoughts after the game, “It was a good competitive game with lots of experience for them, they have lots of games behind them which was good for our boys to play against.
“First half we were a real threat on the counter and we had more chances and got in more dangerous positions than them but the final ball wasn’t good enough. Simeon could have had a couple of tap-ins if it was.
“Their keeper has had to make a couple of fantastic saves. Great save from Simeon’s header onto the bar and from his one on one, but Nick Townsend has also made some good saves.
“The younger lads got a different feel to the game playing with some first team players. Making a bad decision can cost you and that’s what happened with their first goal.
“I’m disappointed we got beat because we’ve been on a good little run. We didn’t have the killer instinct to put the game to bed. When it went 2-0 their experienced players were good on the ball, it was a learning curve to our lads.”
Reds XI: Townsend (GK), Jeffs, Roberts (Scott 82), Gooda, Dawson, Williams (Templeton 45), Digby, Drennan, Abbott, Maris, Jackson (White 70).
Unused Subs: Murphy (GK), Cowgill.