Conor Bradley was again a standout for Bolton as they thrashed Plymouth Argyle 4-0 to clinch the Papa John’s Trophy at a packed-out Wembley.
Though for Liverpool the Papa John’s Trophy serves as an under-21s competition, for clubs in League One and League Two it is a major shot at silverware.
Bolton were among those to enter this season, and with Reds loanee Bradley in the side they overcame Crewe, Leeds, Barrow, Man United, Portsmouth and Accrington Stanley to set up a trip to Wembley in the final.
League One promotion rivals Plymouth were the opposition, with 79,389 fans making the journey to Wembley to see their sides in action.
Bradley made his 44th appearance of a stunning season out on loan, and was, unsurprisingly, key as Bolton sauntered to a 4-0 victory – with two of their goals coming in the opening 10 minutes.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 2, 2023
His relentless runs down the right flank were a hallmark of the game, with Kyle Dempsey, Dion Charles, Elias Kachunga and Gethin Jones the goalscorers.
“Bradley was outstanding for Bolton today as they won the EFL Trophy,” The Athletic’s Caoimhe O’Neill wrote after the 4-0 victory.
“He’s 19 and was one of the best players on the pitch at Wembley.
“I lost count of his sprints forward and back. He’s dependable in defence and calmly creative in attack.”
The teenager was joined by ex-Liverpool duo George Johnston and MJ Williams in lifting the trophy, with Bolton now turning their focus back to earning promotion to the Championship.
— FC Halifax Town (@FCHTOnline) April 1, 2023
There will also be a trip to Wembley for another Liverpool youngster next month, after Halifax Town booked their place in the FA Trophy final against Gateshead.
Fidel O’Rourke came off the bench in Saturday’s semi-final at Altrincham, with Halifax going on to win 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended at 1-1.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Tyler Morton made another start for Blackburn in their Championship clash with Birmingham, but proved “frustrating” in midfield.
That is according to Lancs Live‘s Elliott Jackson, who gave Morton a five-out-of-10 rating after the 1-0 defeat, writing: “[He] wasn’t on the same wavelength as some of his team-mates and was guilty of giving it away.”
Up in Scotland, Luke Chambers came off the bench in a hard-fought 2-1 victory for Kilmarnock at home to Hearts, with the full-back’s side playing the final half-hour with 10 men.
And finally, Leighton Clarkson played the full 90 minutes as Aberdeen earned a 1-0 win at St Johnstone in a game in which both sides saw a man sent off.
Liverpool Loan Watch Roundup
- Conor Bradley (Bolton) – 90 mins vs. Plymouth
- Tyler Morton (Blackburn) – 90 mins vs. Birmingham
- Leighton Clarkson (Aberdeen) – 90 mins vs. St Johnstone
- Luke Chambers (Kilmarnock) – 27 mins vs. Hearts
- Fidel O’Rourke (Halifax) – 2 mins vs. Altrincham