Hughes Nets Stunner as U23s Beat Bolton 6-3
Wednesday, 9th Oct 2019 15:00
Tommy Hughes scored a brilliant goal from just inside the opposition half as Town’s U23s beat Bolton Wanderers 6-3 at Playford Road. Tyreece Simpson gave the young Blues the lead before Hughes netted his first of the game to make it 2-0 at the break. Lounes Foudil headed in the third before Hughes, who made his first-team debut against Gillingham last night, lofted the fourth over the keeper from 45 yards. Brett McGavin and a Kai Brown penalty made it 6-0 before the visitors pulled back three goals in the closing minutes.
The Blues included two trialists in the XI, central defender Joy Mukena, 20, who was released by Watford in the summer having come through their academy having previously been with Tottenham’s youth set-up.
At right-back was Levi Andoh, who has been playing for Worcester City, having previously been with Cradley Town and Thompson Rivers University in Canada. Born in Amsterdam, 6ft 3in tall Andoh was brought up in Leicester.
Town dominated the early stages at a blustery Playford Road but with a couple of blocked shots from distance the nearest thing to a chance.
Bolton began to get more into the game and on 21 Blues keeper Harry Wright was forced to save a header down to his left from a corner.
In the 28th minute Mukena headed a Blues corner wide off a Trotters defender, then a minute later fellow trialist Andou leapt high to nod straight at the visitors’ keeper.
The Blues, with manager Paul Lambert watching along with first-team coach Matt Gill, took the lead in the 34th minute when McGavin, an unused sub for last night’s first team game against Gillingham, won the ball midway inside the Bolton half, brought it forward holding off his man before hitting a shot which the Wanderers keeper saved down to his right.
Simpson, another sub against the Gills, was first to the ball out to the right of the Trotters box and the striker hit a low shot into the net.
Three minutes later it was 2-0. A Blues move down the left ended with Brown playing the ball inside for Hughes and the midfielder swept home from the edge of the box.
Simpson hit a powerful effort straight at the Bolton keeper in the 40th minute, then moments before the whistle McGavin curled a freekick just wide.
Town had dominated the half and, although they hadn’t created too many chances, were well worth their two-goal lead at the break.
Five minutes after the restart the Blues extended their advantage to three. Skipper Bailey Clements crossed from the left and Frenchman Lounes Foudil nodded home at the far post.
Two minutes later, the Bolton left-back struck a shot over from an angle on the left, but in the 54th minute Hughes made it 4-0 with the goal of the game.
The 18-year-old, only a few yards inside his own half, spotted the Trotters keeper off his line and used the wind to lift it over him and into the corner of the net for his second of the afternoon.
The midfielder has form for scoring long-distance goals of that type having netted from just inside his own half for the U18s at Birmingham in March.
Hughes and Simpson made way for Liam Gibbs and Colin Oppong in the 59th minute, before the Blues stretched their lead further, McGavin curling a 25-yard strike beyond the Bolton keeper to make it 5-0.
In the 68th minute Matt Healy took over from Ryley Scott, then two minutes later Clements broke into the area but saw his shot deflect wide.
From the corner, Andoh’s header was blocked on the line and soon after Oppong shot wide from a tight angle on the right.
In the 75th minute Oppong played Foudil in on goal. The French midfielder should have scored but got the ball caught under his feet and the keeper claimed.
Two minutes later, the Blues were awarded a penalty when Oppong outmuscled his man and broke into the area before being felled by the Bolton defender. Referee Rob Whitton pointed straight to the spot and booked the Trotters man. Kai Brown confidently slammed home the penalty.
As the game moved into its final 10 minutes, Wright made a sharp save down to his left and from the corner the visitors pulled a goal back via a near-post finish from a Bolton sub.
Two minutes later the same Bolton sub pulled another goal back, bringing the ball forward from deep before hitting a shot past Wright to his right.
Bizarrely, the visitors, who had never been in the game until the closing stages, added their third in the 88th minute, the same Bolton sub appearing to get the last chance as the ball was bundled past Wright and over the line.
But the surprise comeback, the result of the Blues taking their collective foot off the gas, was ended by the referee’s whistle.
Town had controlled the game confidently for the first 80-odd minutes and deserved to be well in front and never looked in any danger until those closing minutes when they will be disappointed to have conceded three times.
Hughes’s second goal was the highlight of the match, while there were strong performances throughout the side.
For the trialist defenders it perhaps wasn’t a game in which they could show too much of their attributes with the Blues so dominant for the most part, although Andou twice came close to scoring with headers from corners.
The win sees Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg’s side claim their first Professional Development League Two South points of the season at the seventh attempt having won the division last season.
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