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Report: Ayr United 1 Wanderers 1

Posted: Wed 18 Jul 2012
Author: BWFC Staff

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Marcos Alonso on the scoresheet, as Wanderers are held to a draw in their opening pre-season game

In the first of their three-game pre-season tour of Scotland, Wanderers kicked off their preparations for the new campaign with a hard-fought draw against Ayr United at Somerset Park.

After taking a deserved second half lead through Spaniard Marcos Alonso, the hosts snatched a late leveller against the run of play on what was a wet evening in South Ayrshire.

In total 22 Bolton players were given a run out by boss Owen Coyle - including new signings Keith Andrews and Matt Mills, as well as Gregg Wylde and trialist Kalifa Cisse.


The first half was a somewhat cagey affair. A lively Mark Davies, paired in the engine room with Andrews, dictated possession early on with Wanderers breaching the Ayr backline with just three minutes on the clock.

Chris Eagles capitalised on some hesitant defending and after pouncing on a loose ball was sent sprawling by the onrushing goalkeeper inside the area. The referee paused for a split second before waving away the appeals of Kevin Davies and co.

Ayr, nicknamed The Honest Men, responded well and midway through the half carved out two guilt-edged chances.

Spearhead striker Michael Moffat wriggled away from a couple of Bolton jerseys to stab a near post effort goalwards, only to be denied by Adam Bogdan's right leg.

Moments later Mills' header back to Bogdan fell short and in the melee that followed Zat Knight blocked an almost certain goal, after Ross Robertson had struck a loose ball goalwards.

But as the half went on Bolton's superior class began to shine through.

Andrews fired wide at the back post after Chung-Yong Lee had shanked a shot across the face of goal, before the Republic of Ireland international steered a delightful pass into Kevin Davies' path, only for the skipper to fail to make sufficient contact with the goal gaping.

At half time Coyle shook things up and introduced no less than seven players, with both Wylde and trialist Cisse making their first appearances for the club.

And former Rangers man Wylde, back in his native Scotland, impressed throughout the course of the second half.

His delivery from set pieces caused numerous problems for the tiring Ayr backline. On one particular occasion he picked out Pratley who arrived late to power a header high and wide.

Bolton continued to dominate and came even closer on the hour mark.

Joe Riley skipped down the right before his centre found the head of Tom Eaves, who glanced marginally wide with the goalkeeper in no man's land.

But on 70 minutes Ayr's resistance was finally broken.

Alonso, whose introduction at the break had added an extra dimension to Wanderers' attacking play, burst into the penalty area to sweep home Eaves' cute pull-back from the left channel.

Just as it seemed Wanderers were home and hosed, the hosts hit back out of nowhere.

Jonathon Tiffoney reached the right byline and pulled the ball back into a ruck of players allowing for sub and player-manager Mark Roberts to convert beyond Jay Lynch in the Bolton goal.

The remaining 12 or so minutes soon ticked by, with Wanderers occasionally threating through livewire Wylde down the left flank, but as it was, the referee called time on a satisfying workout for Coyle's charges.

Ayr United: Brown, Tiffoney, McCann, Campbell (Brownlie 50), J Robertson, Sinclair, Marenghi (McGowan 67 (Crawford 73)), McStay, Moffat, Shankland (Kasubani 78), R Robertson (Roberts 74) (Unused substitutes: McLatchie, Murdoch)

Wanderers: Bogdan (Lynch 76), Mears (Riley 46), Knight (Blakeman 76), Mills (Ream 46), Ricketts (Alonso 46), Chung-Yong (O'Halloran 61), Andrews (Vela 46), M Davies (Cisse 46), Petrov (Wylde 46), Eagles (Pratley 46), K Davies (Eaves 61)