Goals either side of half time secure victory for Bolton at Spotland
Bolton Wanderers’ preparations for the new season continued with a comfortable win against Rochdale on a summer’s evening at Spotland.
Neil Danns’ strike midway through the opening half followed by a clever Conor Wilkinson goal would seal victory.
The game also saw a number of senior players complete the full game, as well as game time for academy youngster Ryan Sellers.
A strong starting team looked lively from the off.
Wanderers’ early attacking threat came down the right flank, with Liam Feeney looking particularly lively when on the ball.
It was Jermaine Beckford however who chiselled out the game’s first clear opportunity.
Collecting the ball on the right side of the penalty area he span away from a marker before seeing an eventual shot blocked by the foot of Rochdale goalkeeper Jonathan Diba Musangu.
Rochdale grew into the half as it wore on, but the goal Bolton’s intelligent attacking play probably merited arrived on 23 minutes.
Danns collected the ball in a pocket of space and from distance let fly with an effort the arrowed into the net.
Beckford could have added to the lead but he failed to make significant contact following a clever reverse ball in behind the defence by Danns.
The hosts did have chances of their own before the interval.
Central defender and Rochdale skipper Ashley Eastham headed wide when unmarked in the area whilst Andrew Lonergan pulled off a smart reflex save to beat away Peter Vincenti’s stinging drive from distance.
In stoppage time Rob Hall did see a close range effort disallowed for offside after some superb footwork on the right flank.
Rochdale started the second half on the front-foot, but for all their endeavours were restricted to long range efforts.
Lonergan saw shots from Vincenti and Michael Rose both comfortably zip wide of his near post within ten minutes of the restart.
Up the other end Beckford posed a constant threat. On one occasion he couldn’t quite adjust himself to turn in Danns’ pull back from the right byline following a clever pass from Kevin McNaughton.
Dougie Freedman made a selection of changes a Rochdale continued to search for an equalizer.
And it was to be one of those substitutes that would seal victory for Bolton.
Wilkinson plucked a loose ball out of the sky, before holding off a marker and firing low into the bottom corner.
The hosts pressed for a late goal but in the end were unable to break down a watertight Bolton backline, as the referee called time on a useful workout for Wanderers.
Bolton: Lonergan, McNaughton (Riley 80), Mills, Ream, Moxey (Sellers 82), Spearing, Medo (Wilkinson 72), Danns, Feeney (Threlkeld 89), Hall (Vela 66), Beckford (C Davies 72)
Unused subs: Fitzsimons, Bolger, Dervite