WANDERERS put one foot into the next round of the Leasing.com Trophy but their joy was tempered by a seemingly serious injury to playmaker Ali Crawford in stoppage time.

Chris O’Grady scored his first two goals for the club to put the game out of City’s reach in the second half, a Yoan Zouma own goal having earlier cancelled out Crawford’s early effort.

The win puts Bolton three points clear of Bradford and Rochdale, who will try and nudge ahead of them to claim second spot on goal difference when they meet at Valley Parade on November 12. This result means the Bantams would have to overturn a three-goal swing, their opponents, four.

Bolton hadn’t scored three goals in a game since January when they put five past Walsall in the FA Cup.

And while this was nowhere near as comfortable, it would have been a celebrated victory had it not been for Crawford’s late slice of bad fortune.

Hill stuck to his promise to name a strong side, and also brought James Weir back into the starting line-up for the first time since the 6-1 defeat at Rotherham.

City’s team had been deprived of exciting Dutch winger Jayden Braaf, who departed to play in the Under-17s World Cup, and a handful of other regulars used to supplement the senior team’s bench in their Carabao Cup clash with Southampton.

The Blues did have among their ranks a lifelong Bolton fan in the form of Henri Ogunby, who lined up on the left side of their attack.

Wanderers could hardly have wished for a better start, taking the lead after just four minutes.

James Weir did well to pick up possession on the left, his cross half-cleared to Crawford who tucked a shot into the bottom corner.

Unperturbed, City’s response was quite something. In possession the young Blues were almost metronomic at times, teasing the play one way and then the other across defence to open up gaps. And when the chance to pass forward did arrive, the sudden burst of pace was noticeable.

They nearly drew level instantly as Alpha Dionkou’s cross took a wicked deflection off Lowe and dropped just wide of the far post.

Ogunby also had a sighter before City did draw themselves level – Fisayo Dele-Bashiru’s low cross bouncing off Yoan Zouma and into his own net.

Wanderers struggled to get into any rhythm of their own but their hard work off the ball ensured they won possession in some decent areas. Weir forced a save out of Daniel Grimshaw and Crawford forced another shot just wide after Luke Murphy had won the ball back on the edge of the box.

Any disappointment Zouma had in conceding the own goal evaporated with a crowd-pleasing sliding challenge to block Ogunby’s shot 25 minutes in, the Frenchman’s name rarely far from the fans’ lips these days.

Daryl Murphy got himself off and running in the goal stakes at Bristol Rovers last week and should definitely have added another one before the break. Running on to a clever reverse ball from Crawford he waited until he could see the whites of Grimshaw’s eyes before passing a shot, then watching it drift agonisingly wide.

Lewis Fiorini will feel equally annoyed that he did not send City in a goal to the good having been played through the middle a few moments later, only to fail to bring the ball under control.

The Scottish striker then brought a smart save from Remi Matthews at his near post, Ogunby following up with a shot which bounced into the side netting. From the corner Rowan McDonald somehow nudged a shot wide from six yards.

Wanderers brought on Sonny Graham for Weir – seemingly as a tactical change – a few minutes before the break and had the last say of the half when Crawford curled another shot narrowly wide.

Hill made another switch at half time, bringing Dennis Politic on for Daryl Murphy, which meant O’Grady moving to the centre of attack in the second half.

City’s football was mesmeric at times in the first hour. One 20-pass move emanated from their own penalty box as keeper Grimshaw calmly passed the ball under pressure across the face of his own goal, ignoring every bit of advice those of us of a certain age were ever given in our formative years. Five touches later and the attack suddenly sprung into life, finishing 75 yards further up the field with a low drive from Cole Palmer.

At that point, however, Wanderers managed to flip a switch. They pressed higher, shook the ball loose more often, and worked their way back into the lead.

Referee Peter Wright waved away a big penalty shout when Taylor Harwood-Bellis clattered into O’Grady, moments after the City defender had hooked Josh Emmanuel’s shot off his own line.

Zouma and Graham went close with headers as the pressure started to build. And it was O’Grady who made it tell, sweeping home a volley at the far post after Jason Lowe had helped on a corner.

True, City should have drawn level. Nabil Touazi stabbed a shot into the side netting from close range and Palmer was equally wasteful when played in a few minutes later.

Wanderers saw out of the rest of the game professionally – Crawford summing up their resolve with a fine challenge on the edge of his own box to stop Palmer in his tracks.

Yet just as the official held up three minutes of stoppage time the Scot went down in a similar position clutching his leg, sadly exiting the field on a stretcher.