Wanderers suffer narrow defeat against the Shrimps in pre-season outing
Wanderers slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Morecambe at The Globe Arena in their latest pre-season friendly on Friday evening.
Bolton had opened the scoring through Stephen Dobbie shortly after the half hour mark, but were pegged back four minutes before the break as Aaron Wildig slotted home.
The hosts then proceeded to take the lead shortly into the second half as Paul Mullin capitalised on a short back-pass to fire home from close range – a strike which eventually proved to be the decisive action of the clash.
Emile Heskey started upfront for Wanderers, while Josh Vela also returned to the matchday squad as he took his place amongst the substitutes for the first time since being struck down with a virus.
Elsewhere, there was a place on the bench for trialist Lawrie Wilson.
The home side started the stronger, with Derik and Dervite forced to clear their lines under pressure inside the opening two minutes of the clash.
Wanderers were soon back on the attack themselves however, with Heskey causing problems in the air in and around the Morecambe penalty area while Darren Pratley saw his glancing header fly just wide of the mark.
The pressure continued from the Whites, with some good passing sequences almost coming to fruition, but ultimately being snuffed out at the death by an attentive Shrimps’ backline.
Morecambe almost snatched the lead against the run of play in the 16th minute as Lee Molyneux whipped the ball into a crowded penalty area, but Aaron Wildig was unable to turn his effort home from close range.
Buoyed by their chance, Paul Mullin was next to try his luck as he attempted to thwart Ben Amos from a tight angle, but the keeper was on his guard to parry the ball away from danger.
Following a pacey opening quarter, the tempo of the clash did falter slightly although Molyneux did see a wicked free-kick palmed around the post by the fingertips of Amos.
Up the other end of the pitch, Stephen Dobbie almost put Wanderers ahead as he collected a knock-down from Heskey, only to see his shot trickle agonisingly wide of the mark.
Although Heskey had been predominantly the orchestrator of Wanderers’ first half chances, it was Neil Danns who created the opening goal as he fed Dobbie who foiled Morecambe’s offside trap before slotting home beneath the advancing Barry Roche in the 32nd minute.
Looking to double their lead, it was almost a second eight minutes before the break as Heskey and Pratley combined to tee up Tom Walker, but the youngster’s low shot smashed against the outside of the post.
Against the run of play however, the home side pulled level in the 41st minute as an unmarked Wildig slotted home from a matter of yards out with Amos given no chance.
Right from the restart though, Wanderers were back on the attack and almost retook the lead on the stroke of half time, only to see Pratley’s shot in a crowded box narrowly clear the crossbar.
Wanderers were the team to start the second period the stronger, but it was Morecambe who took the lead with the half just four minutes old as, following a short back-pass from Derik to Amos, Mullin was on hand to capitalise, collect the ball and slot home.
Visibly stunned, it took Bolton a few minutes to recompose themselves as Morecambe threw men forward in a bid to extend their lead, but to no avail.
Wanderers were so very nearly back on level terms in the 55th minute as Danns teed up an unmarked Walker who saw his perfectly executed shot cannon off the crossbar.
They looked to have drawn level just two minutes later as Heskey chested the ball into the path of Dobbie who poked home from five yards, but the offside flag denied him his second of the game.
Neil Lennon made his first changes of the game on the hour mark, with Gary Madine, Lawrie Wilson and Liam Feeney replacing Heskey, Dervite and Pratley as Wanderers went in search of an equaliser.
The manager also introduced Josh Vela, Filip Twardzik , Rob Hall and Quade Taylor into the mix inside the final quarter of the clash.
The game itself had become quite disjointed throughout the duration of the second period, with neither keeper having really been tested too much during the half.
With the clock running down, Wanderers pushed men forward as they rallied to draw level and saw Feeney loft an effort over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy, but their efforts were in vain as Morecambe held out for the win.
Bolton: Amos, White, Dervite (Wilson, 60), Derik (Taylor, 70), Moxey (Twardzik, 70), Spearing, Danns (Vela, 70), Pratley (Feeney, 60), Dobbie, Walker (Hall, 77), Heskey (Madine, 60)
Morecambe: Roche, Beeley (Devitt, 60), Kenyon (McGowan, 60), Dugdale (Doyle, 75), Murphy (Bailey, 73), Barkhuizen (Goodall, 60), Molyneux (Edwards, 60), Mullin (Kelleher, 75), Wildig (Fleming, 60), Wilson,, Parrish (Ellison, 60)