Jay Spearing on target in pre-season draw at Prenton Park
Bolton Wanderers’ preparations for the new season continued with a 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.
On the Wirral local lad Jay Spearing provided the real highlight of the night when opening the scoring following a well-crafted team move inside the opening period.
The hosts did level after the interval and the game would end level, with four senior players – Andrew Lonergan, Matt Mills, Dean Moxey and Dorian Dervite – all completing 90 minutes.
Bolton raced out of the traps, immediately penning Tranmere deep inside their own half.
Front two Jermaine Beckford and Craig Davies combined well early on, with one particular move culminating in a powerful shot from the latter cannoning into a ruck of defenders when seemingly goal-bound.
As the half grew on the hosts steadied themselves, though Bolton continued to look assured and dangerous in possession.
On 22 minutes Mark Davies surged forward, before slipping a clever pass into Beckford. He then gave his marker the slip before pulling the ball back for an onrushing Darren Pratley, though his effort flashed over the bar.
It was a sign of things to come, with Mark Davies once again the danger.
Assuming possession midway inside the Tranmere half following a clever pass from Spearing, Bolton’s number 16 skipped forward before curling an effort into the far that Owain Fon Williams scrambled to palm clear.
The breakthrough eventually came on 37 minutes.
Spearing played a neat give and go with Craig Davies before letting fly with a low daisy cutter that zipped off the turf and into the far corner of the net.
Kayode Odejayi then spurned a glorious chance to level, heading Jake Kirby’s cross over the bar from a matter of yards out.
And in stoppage time Mills’ header up the other end following Spearing’s flighted free kick was somehow tipped over the bar.
Wanderers made three changes at the interval, with Joe Riley, Conor Wilkinson and Liam Feeney entering the action.
The game entered a bit of a lull, as the hosts endeavoured to find a route back into the game, but could only really work Lonergan from distance.
Chung-Yong Lee was then introduced on the hour mark for his first pre-season following his summer exploits with Korea at the FIFA World Cup.
Danny Holmes came close to an equaliser with a curling effort from the right channel that ended up inches wide of Lonergan’s far post.
Bolton still posed a threat in the final third as the game wore on, with Wilkinson displaying some useful back-to-goal play.
Just as it seemed the game would fizzle out, the hosts drew level on 74 minutes, with sub Eliot Richards on hand to nod home from close range following a ball across the face of goal.
Bolton looked the more likely to win it late on, with Wilkinson’s free kick well dealt with by Fon Williams.
Bolton: Lonergan, McNaughton (Riley 46), Mills, Dervite, Moxey, Spearing (Ream 69), Danns (Youngs 81), Pratley (Medo 56), M Davies (Feeney 46), Beckford (Wilkinson 46), C Davies (Lee 63)
Unused substitutes: Fitzsimons, White, Lester, Bolger