U18 Premier League Elite Phase
Lostock Hall Farm Site
(Barmby 34, Weir 75, Wilson 91)
United’s youngsters triumphed in the opening game of the Elite phase of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League with James Wilson grabbing an injury-time winner.
Zach Clough scored twice for Bolton, the second with three minutes left, with Jack Barmby and James Weir on the scoresheet for the Reds before Wilson popped up with a dramatic strike.
The hosts made the brighter start in freezing conditions but Weir came close to an opening goal. The England Under-19 midfielder played a one-two with Wilson and stormed through, only roll his finish agonisingly wide of the far post.
Instead, Wanderers drew first blood on 16 minutes when Nicholas Ioannou was dispossessed and a fast breakaway raid allowed Clough and Tom Youngs to show off their understanding in attack. Youngs returned the ball to his strike partner, rather than shoot himself, with a glorious pass and Clough finished neatly past Jonny Sutherland.
The Reds battled back, with Wilson going close, and deservedly drew level courtesy of a cracker from Barmby. A quickly-taken free-kick, after Ben Pearson was fouled, led to Barmby blasting a dipping drive into the net from outside the box.
Mats Daehli became a growing influence on proceedings in midfield and Weir almost converted one dangerous cross at the start of the second half but there were not too many clear-cut openings until a manic minute with action at both ends. Daehli was denied a penalty shout after tumbling inside the area and Bolton broke with Youngs having his strike ruled out for a push on Donald Love, only given by referee’s assistant and not the man in the middle.
After Wilson fired over the top, United went in front courtesy of a superb team goal with Daehli picking out the overlapping Louis Rowley and his deep cross was rammed home on the volley by the energetic Weir. In the closing stages, Bolton hit back when Clough executed a perfect free-kick past Sutherland’s despairing dive to level matters.
However, there was still time for more drama as Paul McGuinness’ side showed the character that United are famed for. Barmby juggled a Donald Love cross before helping the ball on to Wilson, who kept his composure to drill in his 13th goal of the season.
United: Sutherland; Love, Ioannou, Grimshaw, Rowley; Weir, Rudge, Pearson, Daehli; Barmby, Wilson. Subs not used: Byrne, O’Hara, Rothwell, Gorre, Evans.