Wanderers rounded off their pre-season campaign with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Real Betis at the Reebok Stadium.
The visitors had broken the deadlock just after the half hour mark as Molina took advantage of a cruel deflection on David Wheater’s attempted clearance, while Verdu secured the victory late on with a well taken free-kick from distance.
Dougie Freedman made a number of changes from the team that started Tuesday’s clash at Carlisle United with the likes of Wheater and Marvin Sordell being named in the Whites’ line-up, while Adam Bogdan replaced Andy Lonergan in the Bolton goal.
Fresh from a 4-2 victory over Wanderers’ Championship rivals Huddersfield Town in midweek, Real Betis manager Jose Mel Perez named a strong side which included striker Juanfran, a former regular in Real Madrid’s B team.
The Reebok paid tribute to the victims of the recent train crash in Spain prior to kick off, with a minute’s silence being impeccably observed by all inside the ground.
As the game got underway it was to be Wanderers who started the brighter of the two sides, Rob Hall and Chris Eagles combining inside the opening two minutes to lay off the ball for Marvin Sordell just outside the area, but the striker couldn’t get the direction needed on his shot to trouble Andersen in the Betis net.
A goal looked imminent in the seventh minute as Hall collected the ball from the feet of Sordell and unleashed from close range, but the visitors had their keeper to thank for sparing their blushes with an impressive reflex save.
Having withstood a tirade of early Wanderers pressure, Betis provided the Reebok with an example of their quality as Molina and Nosa both went close from just a matter of yards out.
The chances appeared to breathe life into the Spaniards with Verdu ghosting past the Bolton defence soon after, but Bogdan was quick to deny him and keep the scores level.
Nosa was again proving himself to be a nuisance for the Wanderers’ backline as he unleashed a shot from just outside the area, only to be denied by the stretching fingertips of the Bolton keeper to send the ball for a corner.
Bogdan was left scrambling again just moments later after Sergio executed a superb half volley which look destined for the bottom corner of the net, but the Betis striker saw his shot fly just wide of the post.
After finding themselves under pressure for much of the opening period, Wanderers did hit back on the half hour mark as Eagles fired a shot from distance, but Andersen was equal to it and parried the ball away from goal.
Given the amount of goalmouth action it seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken, and the visitors did duly oblige in the 32nd minute as Molina fired home from halfway inside the penalty area after connecting with Wheater’s deflected clearance.
With Betis having finally broken Wanderers’ resistance the clash appeared to drop in tempo somewhat as the game drifted towards half time, with both sides enjoying a handful of chances before the break but neither managing to test either goalkeeper.
As the teams kicked off the second half, it was not to be until the 50th minute that the first real opportunity would arise and it came in the form of a mazy run from Wanderers’ full-back Alex Baptiste.
The defender powered his way into the penalty area and looked set to pull the trigger, but some last ditch Betis defending prevented him from troubling Andersen.
The chance appeared to bring the game back to life, with Molina going close to doubling his tally after Verdu played the ball into the feet of the midfielder, but Bogdan reacted quickly to deny him from close range.
Having survived a scare, Wanderers almost punished their opponents from the Bolton keeper’s resulting clearance as Medo found himself in space inside the area, but Andersen parried his scorching shot away from goal.
Hall was next to test the goalkeeper with an in-swinging free-kick in the 65th minute that had the Betis defence back-peddling, but none of the incoming Wanderers bodies were able to connect with the ball with the goal at their mercy.
With chances becoming few and far between as the clock ran down, the Spaniards hit Wanderers with a killer blow in the 75th minute as Verdu placed a perfectly executed free-kick from 25-yards past Bogdan.
Jermaine Beckford almost halved the deficit with just eight minutes left as he rose to meet Sordell’s cross, but the striker just failed to connect with the ball with Andersen nowhere in sight.
Another opportunity was to go begging for the Whites in the closing stages as Sordell connected with the ball from a matter of yards out, but somehow the centre forward’s header went over the crossbar.
Despite a late rally from Wanderers , it was ultimately in vain as Real Betis held out for the victory.
Wanderers: Bogdan, Baptiste, Knight, Wheater, Tierney, Medo, Andrews (Odelusi, 84), Pratley (Gregus, 89), Hall (Beckford, 76), Eagles, Sordell.
Subs not used: Lonergan, Ream, Mills, C Davies, Mears, Eaves
Real Betis: Andersen, Chica, Paulao, Verdu (Nono, 84), Juanfran (Cedric, 76), Perquis (Jordi, 87), Molina, Nosa (Salva, 84), Nacho, Garcia (Matilla, 76), Sergio (Steinhofer, 76)
Subs not used: Sara, Montoya, Alex, Chuli, Caro