Wanderers come from behind to win against Tranmere in latest pre-season outing
Wanderers picked up their second pre-season victory with a late 2-1 win over Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Tuesday evening.
In a game played in hot and humid conditions, it was the home side who drew first blood five minutes in with Connor Jennings nodding home from close range.
The Whites were level with just under 20 minutes left however, with Dorian Dervite stroking the ball home off the inside of the post, before Zach Clough's thunderous 90th minute effort secured victory for Phil Parkinson's men.
Mark Howard made his first start for Wanderers since moving to the club last week, while Kaiyne Woolery and Gary Madine were both in from the off having begun the weekend’s clash with Mansfield on the bench.
In humid conditions on the Wirral, the game got underway and within five minutes the deadlock was broken through the hosts, with Jennings nodding home from a Liam Ridehalgh’s cross at point-blank range.
Something of a wake-up call for the Whites, they composed themselves following their early set-back and threw men forward in a bid to pull themselves back onto level terms.
Tranmere’s defence was standing firm though, with the efforts of Neal Eardley and Woolery ultimately proving fruitless inside the opening quarter of the match.
The latter meanwhile sprung free of the home side’s backline with 23 minutes on the clock, but was unable to find Darren Pratley with his cross-goal pass.
With conditions pitch-side playing their part and the muggy atmosphere meaning plenty of drinks breaks, the game itself fell to a tepid pace as the clock ran down to half time.
Mark Beevers found himself in somewhat unfamiliar territory with seven minutes to go until the break, but the defender’s shot from 20 yards deflected away from the goalmouth and out for a corner kick.
Madine meanwhile also tried his luck from distance, unleashing a venomous effort from 25 yards, only to see it fizzle a matter of inches wide of the upright.
With just three minutes left in the half, Tranmere’s Lee Vaughan attempted to thwart Howard in the Bolton goal with a snap-shot from the edge of the box, but the keeper stood firm and smothered his effort.
Despite shots from both sides however, the first period ended just the one goal in the hosts’ favour.
With Wanderers making four changes at half time, including a change of goalkeeper with Ben Amos coming into the fray in place of Howard, the game got back underway and it was the visitors who were looking liveliest early on.
Inside the opening minutes of the second period, a penalty box scramble almost led to an equaliser, only for Max Clayton’s eventual effort to roll into the arms of Scott Davies.
The majority of play was being contested in Tranmere’s third, with Wanderers penning their opponents back into their own penalty area.
Madine enjoyed Bolton’s next attack, with the big frontman chasing a seemingly hopeless ball downfield, only to see his shot at point-blank range saved by Davies.
With the game reaching its hour mark, Stephen McNulty almost put through his own goal under pressure from Clayton inside the six yard box, but his keeper spared his blushes by keeping his header out.
Although finding their opportunities limited however, Tranmere were still proving themselves a threat on the break with Wilson having to be on his guard to block a number of efforts from the left flank in quick succession.
Wanderers then proceeded to make seven changes in a bid to bring fresh impetus into the clash, with the likes of Zach Clough and Conor Wilkinson entering the fray.
With 19 minutes to go however, Bolton finally had their equaliser as Dervite stroked a shot into the ground from ten yards out, with the ball eventually going in off the inside of the post.
Arguably deserved on the balance of play, it ensured that the final stages of the clash brought more of an open game with Clough unlucky not to connect with a dangerous ball into the box from fellow substitute Chris Taylor.
Trotter was next to come close for Wanderers, with his far-post header falling kindly for Davies in the Rovers goal.
With the game heading into its final minutes, both Wilkinson and Clough tried their luck for Phil Parkinson's men from distance, but it seemingly appeared set to be a frustrating night.
Not to be denied however, Bolton hit the home side with a sucker punch in the 90th minute of the game with Clough thundering home from 25 yards to secure a second pre-season victory for the Whites.
Bolton: Howard (Amos 46’), Eardley (Wilson 46’), Moxey (Honeyball 65’), Beevers (Finney 65’), Wheater (Dervite 46’), Pratley (Walker 65’), Spearing (Trotter 65’), Vela (Davies 46’), Clayton (Taylor 65’), Woolery (Wilkinson 65’), Madine (Clough 65’)
Subs not used: Proctor, Richardson, Greer, Newell