Manchester United u21s were in action on Tuesday night at the same time as the first team with a cup match of their own as they took on the defending Champions Bolton Wanderers in the EFL Trophy.
United started brightly in the opening minutes with captain Shola Shoretire spreading the play with a nice diagonal pass to Mateo Mejia on the right wing who laid off the Ethan Williams to strike from 20 yards straight into the arms of the keeper.
The next 15 minutes minutes looked like the match was shaping up to be an even affair with both sides unable to breakthrough some resolute defending.
But the deadlock was suddenly broken in the 19th minute through Bolton’s first real chance of the match. Josh Sheehan skipped past Ethan Williams on the right wing far too easily and crossed to Dan N’Lundulu to finish past Radek Vitek.
This marked the opening of the floodgates and three minutes later Bolton added their second. Sheehan was the key danger man again as he dribbled into the box through the middle of Sonny Aljofree and Omari Forson, who both looked afraid to put a challenge in, and slotted into the bottom right corner.
United looked to respond with Maxi Oyedele providing some energy in midfield to win possession and quickly playing through Mateo Mejia on the right but the delivery into the box was poor.
In the 29th minute, a quick free kick at the back launched a counter attack for United with 16 year old James Scanlon expertly taking the ball on the turn in midfield to evade the challenge and charge up field before laying to Joe Hugill who crossed to Mejia at the back post but the Colombian moved too early and strayed offside.
In the 35th minute, Vitek made a pair of impressive back to back saves to deny Sheehan and Aaron Morley but a minute later he couldn’t punch his clearance from a corner far enough and Mejia’s poor follow up attempt meant the ball fell to Sheehan to strike superbly into the top right corner from outside the box.
It was becoming too easy for Bolton and they added their 4th before the break, a cross into the box from the left found Gethin Jones in acres of space as United stood and watched for the Bolton skipper to hit the back of the net.
United almost pulled ones back moments before the half time whistle when Oyedele threaded the needle to put Williams into the box, who struck hard and low, but a strong wrist from Nathan Baxter denied the effort.
The second half continued as the first ended with N’Lundulu quickly scoring his second of the match.
Bolton then added their sixth through Icelandic international striker Jón Daði Böðvarsson striking off the crossbar and in.
United were able to pull one back in the 67th minute, a quick free kick saw Forson play a give and go with Williams before running into the box and finishing low into the right corner.
But it was much too little too late and Bolton added a further two goals with the final goal of the match scored by Luke Matheson, the 20 year old defender who famously scored at Old Trafford at just 16 to bring it to penalties for Rochdale in the EFL Cup.
Despite the heavy defeat, United still stand a chance of advancing to the next stage if they can defeat Salford City in their final group match at the end of October.
United: Vitek, Kambwala, Bennett (Murray 46), Aljofree, Forson, Oyedele, Shoretire, Mejia (Nolan 46), Scanlon (Wheatley 65), Williams (McAllister 78), Hugill
Unused subs: Harrison, Kingdon