Wanderers slip to narrow defeat in final pre-season friendlyIN BRIEF
A Marko Vejinovic free-kick ensured Dougie Freedman’s side ended their pre-season with a narrow 1-0 defeat in what was a closely-fought encounter at the newly-christened Macron Stadium.
In a game of few chances, goalkeepers Andrew Lonergan and Piet Velthuizen both had to be alert to keep out the few attacks that came their way, but Veijnovic’s effort was the difference on the day.
The Trotters started the game the brighter and were unlucky not to take the lead inside the opening ten minutes when Kevin McNaughton’s clearance found Jermaine Beckford down the right-hand side. Cutting inside, the forward beat his man before firing a shot at goal from the edge of the area, only to see his effort drift narrowly wide of the near post.
Beckford was involved moments later as the Whites again came close to opening the scoring. This time running into space down the left flank, the 30-year-old looked up before lofting the ball into the path of the waiting Darren Pratley. However, the playmaker’s header at goal lacked power as Velthuizen gathered comfortably.
However, despite having created little of note, it was Vitesse who took the lead midway through the first half as Vejinovic beat Lonergan with a powerful 25-yard free-kick, much to the delight of the limited travelling support.
The Dutch side could have doubled their lead when Chelsea loanee Bertrand Traore played in Kelvin Leerdam with a pinpoint through-ball. However, with Lonergan rushing out, the midfielder attempted to square the ball to a team-mate, only for the alert McNaughton to get back and hook clear for Bolton.
After Wanderers saw calls for a penalty turned down as a goalbound Neil Danns’ effort appeared to strike a hand five minutes before the break, Vitesse again came close to a second moments later, only to see a fierce Valeri Qazaishvili shot superbly tipped past the post by Lonergan.
The Trotters, unchanged at the break, came out of the second half donning their new navy blue away kit, but it was Vitesse who continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides, with Davy Propper fizzing the half’s opening chance over from range.
Leerdam should have extended Vitesse’s lead moments later, but was unable to head home at the far post as Lonergan was caught out by a looping cross.
Dougie Freedman introduced Lee Chung-Yong and Connor Wilkinson to the action midway through the second half as the Whites chased an equaliser, but their respective arrivals did nothing to prompt an instant Bolton revival as Vitesse continued to control proceedings.
Substitute Uros Djudjevic was unable to test Lonergan when one-on-one as Vitesse pushed for a second goal, unleashing an effort harmlessly over the crossbar when well-placed on the edge of the area.
Jay Spearing twice came close to levelling the scores in the space of 60 seconds. First pouncing on a loose ball inside the area, the Wanderers’ captain was unlucky to see a first-time effort blocked, before later firing narrowly over the crossbar from distance.
Ten minutes from the end only Neil Danns was left to curse the reflexes of Velthuizen after the Dutchman did superbly well to tip away his goalbound header, after the midfielder leapt well to connect with a McNaughton cross at the far post.
Dean Moxey was unfortunate not to notch a late equaliser for the Trotters when he clipped the post from an acute angle after being played in by Spearing, only to see his frustration enhanced by the late rise of the linesman’s flag for offside, as the Dutch side held on to secure victory.
Bolton: Lonergan, McNaughton, Mills, Ream, Moxey, Spearing ©, Medo, Feeney, Danns, Pratley (Lee, 65), Beckford (Wilkinson, 65).
Unused substitutes: Fitzsimons, Dervite, Trotter, Threlkeld, Hall, Clough, Wheater, Bolger, Youngs, Davies.