WANDERERS’ Under-23s consolidated their place at the top of the league with a comfortable 3-1 win over Barnsley at the Macron.

Nigerian striker Edu Obasi continued his bid for match fitness, grabbing the second goal of the game and featuring for just over an hour.

Jack Earing stole the show with a sensational opening strike, and Connor Hall came off the bench to grab his 17th goal of the campaign, and the Whites’ third on the night.

Mark Howard, Mark Little, Stephen Darby, Harry Charsley and Tyler Walker were also included in a strong line-up, given license to attack by David Lee in a 4-4-2 formation.

Barnsley had the first meaningful shot, Victor Adeboyejo testing Howard with a well-struck free kick from just outside the box.

After Liam Morris had gone close for the Whites with a dipping volley, Earing opened the scoring with a scorching 30-yard strike into the top corner.

Trialist Alex Battle – who remains on the books of Plymouth Argyle – replaced Charsley at the break, and shortly afterwards Darby made a goal-saving challenge on Israeli striker Amir Berkovits to prevent a certain equaliser.

Obasi extended the lead on the hour, producing a fine bit of control at the far post to rifle home a shot past Jake Greatorex, sparking a frantic five minute spell with two more goals.

Barnsley pulled one back through Berkovits before Hall – who had replaced Obasi – got his head to Mark Little’s cross for Bolton’s third.

Harry Brockbank came close to making it four before the end but the result leaves Wanderers two points clear of second-placed Sheffield Wednesday with a game in hand, and seven left to play.

The top two sides in both the North and South sections of the Professional Development League will go into a play-off, before a final to produce the overall winner.