Bolton were knocked out of the EFL Trophy as a much-changed side were beaten by Shrewsbury Town.
Adam Senior pulled one back for Wanderers after being 2-0 down at half time, but defeat means next month’s home game against Newcastle United’s youngsters will be a dead rubber for both teams, with Crewe and Shrewsbury booking their tickets for the knockout stages.
Ian Evatt made nine changes from the weekend, with only goalkeeper Billy Crellin and defender Ryan Delaney keeping their places from Saturday’s win – even then Delaney would only play 45 minutes before Reiss Greenidge replaced him for the second half.
Despite that, there wasn’t a huge amount between the two sides, despite Shrewsbury playing a league above us. One thing missing from Bolton though, perhaps due to all the changes, was a lack of cohesion and that led to some more passing at the back, which ended up being repsonsible for both goals. Ryan Barnett pounced on George Taft’s loose ball for the first goal, while Regan Riley gave the ball away for Jason Cummings to score the second. In fairness to Riley, that wasn’t long after he came on for the injured Tom White, and went on to play some good passes in midfield.
In between those goals, we could, or even should have equalised. A great ball across goal couldn’t be tucked in by Arthur Gnahoua, whose movement and running on the ball was better than his finishing. He then won a penalty, but White’s poor effort was saved.
Wanderers did get back into the game when Adam Senior headed in a consolation, we had chances towards the end, but Taft had a header off target, Jak Hickman put one over and Jamie Mascoll also went close.
It wasn’t the worst performance, it was a respectable effort from a much changed side against League One opposition, and while it’s never brilliant to out of a competition, we’ll all get over it, especially if Grimsby are brushed aside this weekend.