- Defeat in the Northern Group B opener in Lancashire
- Baker-Richardson notches his fifth goal of the season
- Good experience for youngsters on a big stage
Crewe Alexandra slipped to a 4-1 defeat at Bolton Wanderers in their opening Papa John’s Trophy tie of the season.
Three goals in the final 12 minutes sealed it for the home side, as sub Dion Charles bagged a brace and Kieran Sadlier got on target.
That came after a first-half which had ended all square, when Courtney Baker-Richardson’s fifth goal of the season cancelled out Amadou Bakayoko’s opener.
It was a disappointing end to a tough night for The Railwaymen, but they will regroup and go again when League Two football returns with the visit of Stevenage on Saturday.
Alex Morris made eight changes to the side that drew at Bradford at the weekend, giving second career starts to youngsters Charlie Finney and Joel Tabiner.
Only Kelvin Mellor, Zac Williams and Baker-Richardson survived in the starting 11.
Bolton boss Ian Evatt also made eight changes, but his side still boasted plenty of quality and experience with the likes of Josh Sheehan and Will Aimson among them.
The home side hit the front on five minutes when Mellor did well to cut out a Gethin Jones cross but then lost the ball, and Bakayoko curled home from 12 yards.
But Crewe hit back on 16 minutes when Oliver Finney crossed from the left and Baker-Richardson got in front of keeper Joel Dixon and turned the ball home.
Keeper Dave Richards, named captain on his first start of the season, made a point-blank save to deny Bakayoko as Bolton pressed.
Richards made another good stop from Dapo Afolayan and Baker-Richardson cleared off the line, as the visitors put their bodies on the line to go in 1-1 at the break.
Crewe made two changes at the break and switched to a back three, to match Bolton’s system.
It had the desired effect, as The Railwaymen were able to restrict the flow of attacks and limit chances conceded.
Sub Charles rode a couple of challenges before blasting wide, and Williams made a super block from sub Elias Kachunga at the far post.
But on 78 minutes Charles picked up possession and sped forward before rounding Richards and slotting in for 2-1.
Suddenly, Richards was working overtime and he made three super saves in as many minutes as the hosts threatened to run away with it.
They got a third on 87 minutes when Sadlier played a slick give-and-go before curling confidently home from inside the box.
And it was 4-1 on 89 minutes when Charles slid in at the far post to tap in an accurate cross from the left.
Bolton (3-4-3): Dixon; Aimson, Johnston, Toal (Santos, 61); Jones (Bradley, 46), Thomason, Sheehan (Williams, 61), Iredale; Afolayan (Charles, 61), Bakayoko (Kachunga, 61), Sadlier.
Subs not used: Williams, Morley, Dempsey.
Crewe (4-3-3): Richards; Mellor (Offord, 46), Sass-Davies, Williams, C Finney; Griffiths (Kingm 76, O Finney (Ainley, 76), Leshabela; Sambou, Baker-Richardson (Agyei 46), Tabiner.
Subs not used: Okonkwo, McDonald, Thomas.
Referee: Scott Oldham.