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Match Reports

Match Report: Bolton Wanderers U19s 2 PNE U19s 0

22 April 2024

Match Reports

Match Report: Bolton Wanderers U19s 2 PNE U19s 0

22 April 2024

League leaders Preston North End U19s suffered a 2-0 defeat on the road to Bolton Wanderers in the penultimate game of the season.

In a key game at the top of the table, it was the second-placed Trotters who opened the scoring in the first half, and they doubled their lead on the hour mark to close the gap between the pair to just two points.

In a scrappy game held at the Eddie Davies Training Ground, both teams fought for the opener, with captain Max Wilson having an early chance that was to be denied by the ‘keeper.

Jonny Brindle provided a strong clearance in the 19th minute to deny an attack, but Bolton were to find their breakthrough just seven minutes later. James Westwood’s free-kick met the head of Sean Hogan in the box, who was able to tap beyond Tommy Davis. 

The majority of the game saw both teams launch into an attack, but most of the play was to be seen in the middle of the pitch with no notable chances as such being created. 

Just before the stroke of half-time, Brindle’s cross from the left swung in to Kaedyn Kamara, but the ball went over the crossbar. 

The second half started no different for the Lilywhites, who were evidently eager to equalise, but defensive errors in the 59th minute allowed Bolton’s Daeshon Lawrence to be played in the box to tap the ball past Davis.

As time ticked on, North End struggled to capitalise on balls being played forward, and Bolton defended extremely well to prevent any threat.

PNE were handed a blow after Tom Wilkinson was forced off due to injury just after the hour mark, but multiple other substitutions were made in an attempt to shift the dynamic of the game.

Wilson again was to try his luck from long range, but his effort went wide in the 74th minute. 

Bolton were able to hold back the visitors for the rest of the second half, and the whistle blew to hand Wanderers what could be a crucial victory in the title race.

Coach Andy Fensome reflected on the team’s performance, saying: “I’m disappointed for the players really. I think we were very naive at times and didn’t do well enough in both boxes and we didn’t look like scoring in the second half when we needed to.

“Bolton are a good side at the minute. They’re playing well and we just didn’t cope with the free-kicks into our box.

“We were punished for a little bit of slack marking for the first goal. We had enough half-chances in the first half to equalise and maybe go in front and we didn’t take them, which then puts yourselves under a lot of pressure when you’re chasing the game, and then we just didn’t have enough quality in the second half.”

Looking ahead to the final game of the season, Fenners said: “We will be exactly the same. We are trying to develop these players and we want a winning mentality so we are really disappointed that we’ve lost the game but we’ve got a young group.

“This young group have learnt through the season that we know when we are playing well and we know when we aren’t doing well enough. 

“We’ve learnt from that as the weeks have gone on and we’ll do exactly the same for the next two weeks.

“It’ll be good for them to get a little breather because we don’t play for two weeks but, above all, this a learning opportunity.”

PNE’s final game of the season sees them face Walsall at Springfields on Saturday 4th May, with the title still up for grabs.

PNE line-up: Davis, Critchley (Blake, 81), Brindle, Stringfellow (Ifezue, 60), Wilkinson (Garrigan, 69), McGhee, Tarry, Kamara, Rodriguez-Gentile, Wilson (Goldsmith, 90+2), Carroll. Subs not used: Stowell.

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