Youngsters open the new campaign with a point at home to their Newcastle United counterparts
Andy Kellett celebrated his Northwest Football Awards Rising Star nomination with a fine brace as Wanderers fought out an entertaining 3-3 draw with an experienced Newcastle United outfit, featuring the likes of Sammy Ameobi, Shane Ferguson and new signing Facundo Ferreyra.
In a goal-frenzy of a first half, Kellett gave Bolton the lead midway only for the Trotters to be pegged back by an acrobatic Ferreyra scissor kick, before an Andy Hughes own goal put the Magpies ahead.
Kellett once again levelled the scores before a Lubomir Satka own goal once again put Wanderers in front. However, Ameobi levelled the scores once again with a fine half-volley just before the break.
And despite great opportunities for both sides at the death for Georg Iliev and Alex Gilliead respectively, neither team was able to make the breakthrough and claim a late winner.
New signings Ross Fitzsimons and Andy Hughes made their competitive Under-21 debuts, while there was also a first start of youngster Ayo Obileye.
Meanwhile, Rob Hall was also handed a start on the left-hand side of midfield as Wanderers kicked off their Barclays U21 Premier League season.
Debutant Ross Fitzsimons started well for Wanderers as Newcastle, managed by former White Peter Beardsley, imposed themselves on the game straight from the off.
Called into action almost straight from kick-off, the former Crystal Palace man was alert enough to palm the ball up into air before catching it at the second attempt after Adam Armstrong tried to chip the back-pedalling keeper from range.
However, despite Newcastle’s bright start, it was Bolton who took the lead midway through the first half courtesy of left-back Kellett.
The 20-year-old surged into the penalty before unleashing an unstoppable strike past Jack Alnwick to give the Trotters the lead.
Fitzsimons got down well again to deny a long-range Greg Olley effort moments later as Newcastle immediately pushed for an equaliser.
However, there was nothing he could do about the leveller when it did come as Newcastle quickly turned the game on its head.
Their leveller coming through Shakthar Donetsk loanee Ferreyra, the forward found space at the far post, before acrobatically volleying home Ferguson’s dangerous-looking cross to draw his side level.
And Newcastle were ahead moments later as Andy Hughes deflected a near-post corner into his own net.
Rather than be dejected at having fallen behind, Wanderers soon fought back and wasted no time in levelling the scores as Kellett once showed his class with another well-taken solo-goal.
Picking the ball up in midfield, the youngster once again shrugged off numerous Newcastle challenges before thundering home a fierce strike from range into the bottom left-hand corner.
The Whites were not done yet as they soon began to take control of proceedings, re-taking the lead courtesy of an own-goal in the 41st minute.
Chris Lester powered down the left-hand side into the penalty area and tried to fire a strike across goal. And while his effort looked off-target, it rebounded off the hapless Lubomir Satka into the back of the net.
Rob Hall could have doubled Bolton’s lead after being fed by Zach Clough, but he could only fire straight at Alnwick when well-placed inside the area.
Incredibly there was still time for a sixth goal before the interval as Newcastle once again drew level, Ameobi unleashing a well-hit half-volley from the edge of the box past Fitzsimons into the bottom right-hand corner.
The Trotters continued to push on in the second half and were unlucky to not take the lead for the third time as Hall saw a half-volley from the edge of the box deflect just wide.
From the resulting corner Hall came close once again, stinging Alnwick’s gloves with a powerful strike at the near post which the Newcastle keeper did well to palm away.
At the other end Fitzsimons was once again called into action, getting down well to gather a well-hit Callum Roberts effort.
Clough remained eager to add his own name to the scoresheet as he tried his luck from an acute angle after being unleashed by a quick Georg Iliev throw, but Alnwick was match for his strike at the near post.
Ryan Sellers came on for Kellett with ten minutes remaining, and almost created the winner with his very first touch as his long throw fell kindly to Hall in the box. However, the winger could only fire straight at Alnwick when under pressure at the near post.
Iliev missed a glorious chance to clinch the win late on as he fired over the crossbar when well-placed in the penalty area, while Newcastle missed a great opportunity of their own at the death as Alex Gilliead headed wide when left unmarked at the far post.
Despite valiant efforts from both sides inside the second period, the spoils were ultimately shared at the final whistle.
Wanderers: Fitzsimons, Maher, Kellett, (Sellers, 77), Holding, Obileye, Hughes, Lester, Woodland (Perry, 39 (Walker, 45)), Iliev, Clough, Hall
Subs not used: Youngs, Campbell
Newcastle: Alnwick, Barlaser, Ferguson, Bigirimana, Williams, Satka, Roberts (Gillesphey, 70), Olley (Gillead, 70), Ferreyra, Armstrong, Ameobi
Subs not used: Pearson, Smith, Heardman