Youngsters extend their unbeaten run to six games with draw against the Hatters
Bolton Wanderers XI extended their unbeaten run in pre-season to six games with a 2-2 draw against Stockport County at Edgeley Park on Wednesday evening.
The home side opened the scoring on the stroke of half time as Sean O’Hanlon headed home from close range, but the Whites were back level within three minutes of the restart as Jamie Thomas fired home from the penalty spot after Kaiyne Woolery was fouled.
Bolton were in front just six minutes later as Rob Holding fired home in style with a curled effort from just outside the box, but County were level ten minutes later as Abs Baggie, fellow countryman of Trotters’ midfielder Medo, looped the ball over Harry Campbell for a share of the spoils.
Medo Kamara was in from the off for Wanderers, while Filip Twardzik also took his place in the starting XI having featured off the bench for the first team at Oldham on Tuesday evening.
Amongst the opposition substitutes, former Bolton youngster James Ball was a trialist for the home side.
With Niall Maher donning the armband for Wanderers, Iain Brunskill’s side were forced to contest mainly in the middle third of the pitch for the opening stages of the clash with goalmouth chances at a premium.
As the clock hit ten minutes, neither goalkeeper had been tested with any form of a meaningful shot, Kayode Odejayi enjoyed the best chance of the game 17 minutes in as he found himself in space in the area, but Ross Fitzsimons blocked his close range shot.
The Stockport man was in the midst of the action again moments later, this time however scuffing his shot from a similarly close position.
County’s pressure continued as the game wore on, with Glenn Rule collecting a knock-down from Odejayi before blasting his half volley narrowly over Fitzsimons’ crossbar.
With the half hour mark looming, Jamie Thomas enjoyed Wanderers’ best chance of the match as he collected a down-field pass before attempting to beat Danny Hurst at his near post, but to no avail.
Just a minute later however, County came within inches of breaking the deadlock as Ryan Ellison’s header crashed against the woodwork, with nobody able to turn the rebound home in a crowded box.
As the clock ticked down towards the half time break, Fitzsimons was called upon again to deny Rule, this time using his fingertips to push his low drive around the post.
The home side weren’t to be denied however and took the lead on the stroke of half time, Sean O’Hanlon heading home Joe Garvin’s in-swinging corner kick to ensure that the Hatters entered the break a goal to the good.
The start of the second half saw a change of goalkeeper for Wanderers, with Fitzsimons being replaced by Harry Campbell between the sticks.
And Bolton were handed the opportunity to draw level just two minutes into the second period as Kaiyne Woolery was pulled down whilst in on goal by Danny Morton, with Thomas slotting home the resulting spot kick.
With the Whites’ penalty winner Woolery being replaced with Newell shortly after, the visitors almost went in front moments later as Twardzik’s stinging long range shot forcing Hurst to be on his guard.
Wanderers were in the ascendancy, and the turnaround was completed in the 54th minute as Rob Holding curled the ball into the top corner of the net from just outside the Hatters’ penalty area with the Stockport keeper given no chance.
A goal which was applauded by both sets of fans, it was one which visibly stunned the home side who almost let an unmarked Thomas extend Bolton’s lead immediately after, only for the young striker to put his shot over the crossbar.
Under pressure from Wanderers, Stockport then proceeded to snatch an equaliser in similarly impressive fashion as Abs Baggie looped the ball over Campbell in the Bolton goal after finding himself unmarked outside the box.
The game then fell into an end-to-end encounter as both sides went in search of the winning goal, with the visitors left calling for a penalty kick once more with Newell being upended in the six yard area but to no avail.
With three minutes of additional time indicated, County almost snatched the victory as Campbell parried Lamin Colley’s strike, with Chris Churchman unable to turn home the rebound under pressure from the Bolton backline as the game ended all square.
Bolton: Fitzsimons (Campbell, 46), Maher, Kellett, Holding, Finney, Medo, Lussey (Perry, 76), Twardzik (Campbell-Young, 66), Woolery (Newell, 51), Ceberio, Thomas
Subs not used: Cvetko, Spooner
Stockport County: Hurst, Morton, Roberts (Duxbury, 67), O'Hanlon (Lees, 46), Ellison, Garvin (Lofthouse, 80), Baggie, Rule (Russell, 61), Odejayi (Colley, 57), Gonzales (Ball, 50), Evans (Churchman, 76)
Subs not used: Tyson, Holsgrove