Wanderers pick up victory in testimonial clash for long-serving Keith Lasley
Wanderers ran out 2-1 winners over Motherwell at Fir Park in Keith Lasley’s testimonial game on Saturday afternoon.
Following a goalless first period, the deadlock was broken shortly after the break with Wellington Silva providing the cross for Emile Heskey to tap home from close range, while Stephen Dobbie made sure of the result late on for the Whites.
There was still time for Lasley to mark the occasion in style, with Wanderers allowing him and his young son Alfie to walk through and place the ball past Paul Rachubka.
Academy graduate Harry Campbell took his place between the sticks for Wanderers, while new signing Paul Rachubka was amongst the substitutes.
Meanwhile, the Motherwell starting XI boasted the inclusion of Filip Twardzik’s elder brother Dan in goal.
Following a guard of honour for Lasley, the game got underway with the glorious Motherwell sunshine blazing down on Fir Park.
It was the home side who enjoyed the first chance of the game however, with Marvin Johnson finding an unmarked Theo Robinson with a cross-goal ball which was headed narrowly over the crossbar.
Wanderers responded in a similar fashion however, with Francesco Pisano’s ball to Emile Heskey being headed a matter of inches over the goalmouth by the frontman with five minutes gone.
Although naturally being played with a friendly nature due to the occasion, there was certainly a sense of drive and determination from both sides as they went in search of the opening goal of the afternoon.
Following a moment of trickery from Wellington Silva, Wanderers almost took the lead with 14 minutes on the clock as the winger snaked his way into the six yard area before trying his luck through a crowd of bodies, with Twardzik eventually able to deny his deflected shot.
Tom Walker, who had been featuring heavily in all of Bolton’s attacking moves inside the opening quarter, was integral once again shortly after following a powerful run downfield with the academy graduate cleverly laying the ball off for Stephen Dobbie who eventually shot wide.
Wellington almost created and scored his first goal for the club moments later, powering down the right flank, feeding Heskey who placed the ball into his path, only to see his shot take a deflection and roll into Twardzik’s arms.
Wanderers were looking dangerous on the break, although Jake Taylor’s looping effort from the edge of the box for Motherwell on the half hour mark had Campbell back-peddling.
With seven minutes to go until the break, Derik Osede enjoyed a rare run downfield after collecting a dead ball with the centre-half providing a beautiful ball into the box, only for it to narrowly elude Walker.
Heskey was looking deadlier as the half drew towards its conclusion, almost taking advantage of a sloppy backpass only for Twardzik to beat him to the ball with a split second to spare as the first period ended goalless.
The break saw Wanderers make two changes, with Paul Rachubka and Rob Holding coming on in place of Campbell and Pisano.
And it took just five minutes for Wanderers to break the deadlock, Wellington firing the ball across goal with Heskey given the simple task of tapping home from a matter of yards out.
A goal which had been threatening throughout the first half, it appeared to open the game up somewhat as the home side pushed forward in a bid to bid level with Scott McDonald seeing his drive fly just wide of the upright.
Bolton were still looking a threat going forward, with some clever play down the flanks ensuring that the Motherwell defence had to be on their guard.
Wellington was again in the midst of the Whites’ attacks, with the Brazilian causing numerous problems for the home side as the game wore on.
With 20 minutes remaining, Filip Twardzik was given the opportunity to play against his brother Dan as he replaced Pisano, while Dobbie saw a shot fly wide of the mark after more good play by Wellington.
That was to be the winger’s last action of the game however as he was replaced with Kaiyne Woolery soon after who almost made the perfect introduction, only to be denied by Dan Twardzik from a tight angle following a quick run from midfield.
Vela and substitute George Newell almost combined to add to Wanderers’ tally with seven minutes to go as the midfielder looped the ball into the path of the under-21 striker, but he agonisingly failed to make contact with the goal at his mercy.
Neil Lennon’s side did push in a bid to extend their lead and were rewarded in the dying embers as Dobbie fired home into an empty net following a mix-up at the back to ensure victory for the Trotters.
There was even time for Lasley’s young son Alfie to get in on the act, with Wanderers allowing him and his father to run through and mark the occasion with a goal for the hosts.
Bolton: Campbell (Rachubka 46), Pisano (Twardzik 69), Derik (Taylor 77), Finney, Casado (Holding 46), Spearing, Vela, Walker (Trotter 61), Wellington (Woolery 71), Dobbie, Heskey (Newell 79)