BOLTON came away from Fleetwood cursing their luck following a 12-10 defeat but remain optimistic for this weekend’s Lancashire Plate Cup semi-final clash at Heaton Moor.

The defeat was the fourth in a row for Bolton, who now sit ninth in the North Lancs/Cumbria division table.

Dave Crouch’s men put in a performance which perhaps deserved to have won but returned home frustrated with refereeing decisions and mistakes that cost them dearly.

Head coach Crouch shared the players’ anguish at the defeat but remained positive.

“I thought we played much better last week,” he said. “We dominated everything but couldn’t get over the line. It just wasn’t going to be our day.”

Fleetwood started the game brighter, converting two penalties in the early stages before Bolton were denied a certain try-scoring opportunity when Jonny Stansfield was in the clear to score, only for the referee to bring play back for a late foul on Niall Murphy.

Alex Charnock’s first try for the first team got them on the board but they trailed 12-5 at the break.

Flanker Ryan McClusky’s drive through the Fleetwood defence for their second try of the day brought the Cherry and Whites to within two points.

Unable to make the breakthrough, Bolton could still have clinched victory at the end when they were awarded a penalty but the kick hit the post and rebounded back into play.

Despite the result, Crouch remained optimistic and said: “We are improving and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re getting a lot of players back now. Will Bates is back from injury, which is a boost for the team.

“We’re looking forward to Heaton Moor in the semi-final of the Lancashire Plate Cup.

“They’re doing very well in their division [South Lancs and Cheshire Division Two] but it’s a game we want to dominate.”