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Report: Bolton Wanderers U23s 1-1 Bristol City U23s

City Under-23s earned a point against Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium in the first game of the 2016/17 Professional Development League.

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans side-footed home at the back post following Lloyd Kelly’s rampaging dribble and cross to put City into the lead, but Hyuga Tanner’s effort from distance restored parity 20 minutes later and that’s how it stayed. 

Jamie McAllister was without several faces for the trip to Greater Manchester with Arnold Garita suspended, and Shawn McCoulsky, George Dowling and Joe Morrell all unavailable due to loan commitments. 

Skipper Kodi Lyons-Foster switched from his usual centre-back role to partner Joe McNulty in defensive midfield, while Diego De Girolamo occupied the number ten slot. 

The former Sheffield United youngster, who scored once and assisted twice on his last outing for the Under-23s, had the game’s first serious  chance following good work from Ash Harper. 

The full-back drove 20 yards down the right flank before passing inside to De Girolamo whose long range drive forced home keeper Will Jaaskelainen to fumble on to the crossbar. 

Bolton struggled to break City’s resilient defence down in the opening 15 minutes and were restricted to just one shot from Conor Wilkinson. 

The Republic of Ireland youth international found a yard of space just outside the box but failed to test Jojo Wollacott as his effort faded wide. 

With the game in a bit of a lull, it was going to take something special to liven up proceedings and De Girolamo almost did that for City. 

After winning a free kick with some nimble footwork, the 20-year-old’s curling effort looked destined for the corner but Jaaskelainen palmed away only for Aden Baldwin to lash over the rebound. 

McAllister switched to a diamond to match Bolton in the second half and it proved effective as Lemonheigh-Evans opened the scoring in the 48th minute. 

Left-back Kelly regained possession deep in his own half and embarked on a superb, surging run before delivering to the Welshman at the back post who finished on the volley with aplomb. 

The goal seemed to boost the young Robins’ confidence as they zipped the ball around with more purpose and created a number of attempts. 

The best came from summer recruit Jonny Smith who danced in from the right before sending a fizzing shot past Jaaskelainen only to see it crash off the bar. 

Despite City's dominance and positivity, Bolton restored parity with a fantastic shot from Tanner. 

The Bolton midfielder latched on to a loose ball and directed a straight drive into the bottom corner past the despairing dive of Wollacott. 

The match ebbed and flowed for the remaining 22 minutes with first Alex Samizadeh and then James Difford testing their opposition keeper but neither side could manage a winner. 

City Under-23s: Wollacott, Harper, Baldwin, Challis, Kelly, Lyons-Foster (Omofe 90), McNulty (Difford 70), Smith, De Girolamo, Andrews (Harris 78), Lemonheigh-Evans. Not used: Easterbrook, Moss.

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