Dev Squad: Macclesfield 0-1 Wanderers

Tom Eaves on target in Moss Rose victory.

An experienced Wanderers development squad ran out 1-0 winners against Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose.

With the likes of Andy Lonergan, Craig Davies and Matt Mills featuring in the starting line-up, Tom Eaves struck the decisive goal on the hour mark as he swept home from a matter of yards out.

Despite a late rally from the hosts, the Whites held out for the victory to extend the team’s unbeaten run in pre-season to five games.

Wanderers were in the ascendancy from the off, with Chris Lester’s excellent ball across the face of goal in the second minute being forced behind for a corner with a number of Bolton bodies lurking.

The opportunity merely seemed to breed confidence amongst the Whites’ front line of Craig Davies and Tom Eaves who looked threatening on every attack.

Davies was next to test Rhys Taylor in the Macclesfield goal as he combined well with Sanmi Odelusi outside the area before pulling the ball back from the by-line, but the striker’s attempt sailed just over the crossbar.

It wasn’t to be until the 13th minute that the hosts would finally test Lonergan, Jack Mackreth forcing his way into the area before unleashing a powerful shot which had the Bolton keeper scrambling towards his near post.

Wanderers looked to have taken the lead shortly after as Odelusi swept the ball home on the half volley from close range, but the assistant referee’s flag was to deny the winger the opening goal of the clash.

Having withstood a tirade of Bolton pressure in the opening stages, Macclesfield could count themselves unfortunate not to have found the back of the net just a minute later as Paul Lewis turned his man on the edge of the area, only to be denied by the outstretched palm of Lonergan.

Danny Andrew was next to try his luck for the home side with a scorching long range effort, but his shot was calmly collected by the Bolton keeper.

Macclesfield’s left-back wasn’t finished there however, with his 20th minute free-kick flying inches over the crossbar with Lonergan stranded.

After finding themselves on the back foot for a short period, Wanderers almost hit back emphatically with half an hour gone as Eaves pulled the ball back for the incoming Davies, but the forward was narrowly beaten to the ball by Macclesfield centre-half Steve Williams who swept it behind for a corner.

The two combined well yet again moments later as the former Oldham Athletic man chested the ball down for Davies, but he failed to get the direction needed on his shot to trouble Taylor.

Macclesfield looked certain to take the lead on the stroke of half time as Andrew powered the ball goal bound and Chris Holroyd was given the freedom of the six-yard-box, but the striker failed to connect with the net at his mercy.

Having ended the first period under pressure, it was to be the Whites who were first out of the traps as the second half got underway with Lester powering towards goal, only to see his shot drift just wide.

After a period of sustained pressure of their own Odelusi looked to have given Bolton the lead after bundling Lester’s cross towards goal, but the Macclesfield keeper somehow managed to prevent the ball from going over the line.

Connor Jennings soon replied for the hosts, with Lonergan having to react quickly to prevent his shot from distance from sneaking into the bottom corner of the net.

With both sides growing in confidence and chances aplenty going begging, it seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock would be broken and Holroyd looked to have done so on the hour mark, only to see his curling free-kick brush past the far post.

Having looked dangerous all night, Eaves finally found the back of the net moments later as he swept home from close range after connecting with Lester’s ball across the face of goal.

It was no more than the young striker deserved, but the plaudits went to Hayden White whose powerful run downfield was instrumental in the goal.

After breaking Macclesfield’s resistance, the Whites pressed forward in search of a killer second goal with Lester and Tom Youngs both enjoying chances to double Bolton’s lead inside the final third of the game.

With time running out, the hosts pushed for an equaliser with John Paul Kissock thundering the ball against the crossbar on the stroke of full time, while Conor Wilkinson almost secured the victory from close range after connecting with Zach Clough’s through ball.

Despite a late push from the hosts however, Bolton held out for the win with the team next in action against Stockport County next Monday evening in their final pre-season friendly.

Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Bolton, Andrew, Williams (Harvey, 72), Sodje (Chalmers, 53), Turnbull (Kay, 46), Mackreth (Boden, 79), Lewis, Holroyd (Gnahoua, 65), Kissock, Jennings (Rowe, 79).
Subs not used: Brannigan, Green.

Wanderers: Lonergan, White, Kellett, Mills, Ream, Gregus, Lester, Mears (Threlkeld, 63), Davies (Youngs, 63), Eaves (Clough, 81), Odelusi (Wilkinson, 63)
Subs not used: Bolger, Campbell.

Attendance: 564
Read Time: 5 mins