The youngest players to ever score on their Bolton Wanderers debut - LISTED

Conor Carty and, insets, Ricky Shakes and Zach Clough
Conor Carty and, insets, Ricky Shakes and Zach Clough

NAT Lofthouse scored twice against Bury on his Bolton Wanderers debut aged 20 years and 137 days, and since then 43 players have followed in his footsteps.

Conor Carty was the latest goal-scorer to celebrate on his first game for the Whites, grabbing an eye-catching equaliser against Tranmere Rovers in the Papa Johns Trophy.

He was 45 days younger than the legendary Lion of Vienna – and ranks as the 11th youngest player to score on their first team bow.

Here we list the top 10 youngest debutant goalscorers for Bolton Wanderers, with thanks to Twitter account BWFC Stats for their assistance.


Welsh winger placed 10th in the list having scored against Lincoln City on his one and only game for Bolton Wanderers aged 20 years and 20 days, in May 1934.

Jones enjoyed a much longer career with Swindon Town, playing for the Wiltshire side in a 10-year spell spanning the thirties and forties.



Who could forget the fresh-faced striker scoring an FA Cup winner against Wigan Athletic on his Bolton debut in January 2015? Fans had clamoured for Clough to be fast-tracked into the first team for months but he was 19 and 306 days when he beat Ali Al-Habsi to put the Whites into round four.



Loaned from Manchester United on transfer deadline day in a bizarre deal that saw Andy Kellett move in the opposite direction, the Swiss defender wasted no time ingratiating himself to his new club. Aged 19 years and 116 days, he scored a stunner against Fulham in a 3-1 win at the Macron Stadium.



Brixton-born winger who launched himself on to the first team scene with a goal against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup in January 2004. Though the strike forced the game into extra time, Shakes ended up on the losing side as Ian Hume grabbed the decisive strike.

Shakes was 18 years and 357 days old when he made his one-and-only appearance of that season for Sam Allardyce’s side, later featuring once more in the League Cup and having loan spells at Bury and Bristol Rovers.

He would go on to play for both Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, switching nationalities in 2011, and was playing in National League South for St Albans as recently as last year.



Rugged Edinburgh-born midfielder Neil Berry got his first taste of professional football – and a goal - in a League Cup game at Oldham. The Latics turned around a 2-1 first-leg deficit to force the game into extra time, eventually claiming the winner to send George Mulhall’s side out of the competition. Berry was 18 years and 167 days when he made his debut and eventually appeared 30 times for Wanderers over the course of the next three seasons.

He moved back to Scotland and played more than 400 games for Hearts, retiring in 2000 at Cowdenbeath.


The future England international had a dream debut aged 18 years and 99 days after becoming one of Phil Neal’s first additions at Burnden Park in February 1986.

Creating a goal for Tony Caldwell after just 13 seconds, Ripley then scored himself in a 4-0 rout against Newport County.

Alas, his time at Bolton spanned just five games and he returned to Middlesbrough before a £1.3million move to Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 1992. At Ewood Park he was part of a Premier League winning side, earning two England caps, before finishing his career with Southampton.

Ripley is now a qualified solicitor.


After joining Wanderers straight from school, Whatmore turned professional in 1973 and scored twice on his debut, a 3-2 win at Swansea in the old Third Division, aged 17 years and 323 days.

Whatmore proved the foil for a litany of Burnden Park strikers – John Byrom, Garry Jones, Frank Worthington – and helped fire Bolton to the First Division under Ian Greaves.

After leaving for a club record £340,000 to Birmingham City in August 1981 he returned on loan twice, then for a fourth spell when an anonymous benefactor volunteered to pay his wages in 1987.

In total, Whatmore played 338 games for Wanderers, scoring 121 goals, and is the only player to feature for the club in all four divisions of the Football League.



Forward who broke into the Bolton Wanderers first team in style, scoring twice against Manchester City inside his first 20 minutes on the pitch aged just 17 years and 305 days.

Despite his obvious promise, Allcock found it hard to get games ahead of established internationals like Nat Lofthouse, Willie Moir and Harold Hassall, and eventually transferred to Norwich City having played 32 games and scored 11 goals in nearly five years.

Allcock went on to carve out legendary status at Carrow Road, becoming the club’s second-highest scorer of all time, netting 127 goals, and also played first class cricket for Norfolk.



Bolton-born former Smithills Technical School pupil Fletcher scored on his debut, a 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace in November 1968 aged 17 years and 294 days.

Just a few years later, Burnden regulars were up in arms after the club sold him for a record £60,000 fee to Burnley to help ease mounting financial worries at the club following their relegation from Division One.

Fletcher earned caps at Under-23 level for England but injuries curtailed his early career trajectory. He played nearly 300 times for the Clarets and scored 71 times, including a strike deemed ‘goal of the decade’ against Leeds United in 1973/74.

He later became an expert on stadium design and construction, helping Huddersfield Town build the McAlpine in 1995 and then returning to Bolton as chief executive to push through the Reebok Stadium project.

He was honoured in 2007 with an MBE for his services to football.



Top of the list is another prodigious talent, Westhoughton’s finest, Francis Lee.

He had not even signed a professional contract when he scored against Manchester City in November 1960, aged 16 and 190 days, also picking up a yellow card for foul play.

These days, Lee would be described as ‘box office’. Never shy of venting his frustration, on or off the pitch, his fiery reputation was backed up by a steady stream of goals, many of which were scored from the penalty spot.

After scoring in seven consecutive games for Bolton he was signed by City for £65,000, winning a league title and European honours at Maine Road, he also went to the 1970 World Cup finals with England.

Lee moved to Derby, adding another league championship to his CV, and retired in 1976 to concentrate on his family’s paper business – which would later count among their employees a certain Peter Kay.

Alongside training racehorses, Lee also had a four-year stint as chairman at City between 1994 and 1998.