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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
John McDougall

Carty takes chance - Three ups & two downs for Bolton from Tranmere penalty shootout loss

Bolton Wanderers remain top of their Papa Johns Trophy group following a draw and penalty shootout defeat against Tranmere Rovers.

A Wanderers side that had 10 changes made to it from Saturday's win against Peterborough United went behind at Prenton Park thanks to Kieron Morris breaking the deadlock. Paul Lewis added a second for the hosts before half-time.

But Wanderers responded following their poor first half showing and halved the deficit through Kieran Sadlier's classy finish on the turn. And youngster Conor Carty came off the bench to ensure the clash went to penalties following a 2-2 draw.

READ MORE: Bolton Wanderers player ratings vs Tranmere Rovers - Josh Sheehan, Kieran Sadlier & Conor Carty good

Lloyd Isgrove saw his penalty saved as the hosts won 5-4 to claim the extra point for a shootout victory. However Wanderers still top the Northern Group B with four points overall.

Here, we analyse the ups and downs from a Wanderers perspective following the encounter and what stood out from the clash.


Carty takes chance from bench

Wanderers had got back into the game thanks to Sadlier's classy turn and strike. But they still needed something to claim at least a point from the encounter.

Ian Evatt threw Carty on with seven minutes of normal time remaining. It did not take long for the B team striker to make his mark on the game.

He fired home a fantastic effort which earned Wanderers a share of the spoils. Carty has caught the eye for the B team and he took the opportunity he was granted when given a chance foe the first team.

Beck debut and Isgrove injury return

Owen Beck made his debut last night for Wanderers. The Liverpool youngster has had to build up his fitness following his move from the Anfield club before the transfer window came to a close.

Beck showed flashes of what he can do going forwards and what he will offer, which will be built upon in the weeks to come. On the hour mark, he was brought off so Isgrove's return to action could take place.

The winger was deployed at right wing-back and, despite missing the penalty in the shootout, looked sharp upon his first-team return after being out since November. It was a great sight to see him back on the pitch and offer another option in the squad.

Come from behind to pick up point

Wanderers showed character once again to come from behind and get something out of the game. It is something that Evatt's side have proven they can do on numerous occasions when faced with this challenge.

Sadlier's strike on the turn was a great finish and Carty's on his Wanderers first-team competitive debut was a goal worthy of getting something out of the game. It gave Wanderers a point on the night, while Tranmere took away two following their penalty shootout triumph.

The point ensures Wanderers remain on top of their group in the Papa Johns Trophy. Their final group game is against Leeds United under-21s next month and they have their destiny firmly in their own hands.


Poor first half showing gave uphill struggle

All across the pitch, Wanderers looked second best in the first 45 minutes. It was a team that had made 10 changes and it showed, despite being a strong side on paper.

As Evatt noted afterwards, Wanderers did not do the fundamentals and basics well enough in the first 45 minutes. There was a lack of urgency and intensity which the hosts took full advantage of.

Wanderers were able to get back into the game following their second half performance. But their first half showing made life more difficult than it needed to be and gave them an uphill struggle they were able to eventually overcome.

Avoidable goals conceded

With the goals Wanderers conceded, it's fair to say that more could have been done to prevent them. When Morris broke the deadlock, Bolton stopper Joel Dixon almost certainly could have done better, with poor positioning for the strike.

When the second goal went in for the hosts via Lewis, he was free in the box after being vacated by George Johnston to slam home. It gave the hosts a deserved lead but, again, it was very much preventable.

Granted, it was a much changed team with Johnston the only survivor from the weekend win over Peterborough United to start. But they were still strikes that in the cold hard light of day could have been prevented.

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