Bolton Wanderers eased to a comfortable 2-1 victory over Dundee on Friday night as Phil Parkinson’s men maintained their 100% winning start to pre-season.
First half goals from Gary Madine and Josh Vela saw the Whites round off their week in Scotland with victory at Dens Park, where the main talking point before the game was the return of Sammy Ameobi to the club.
Fresh from putting pen to paper on a one-year deal at Macron Stadium, the popular winger started for Bolton much to the delight of the 167 travelling fans who made the trip.
But despite vocal backing from the Trotters faithful, Wanderers started slowly as Ben Alnwick was called into action inside the opening seconds, diving low to his right to keep out Scott Allan’s header.
However, the Whites gained the upper-hand swiftly and were unfortunate not to take the lead themselves inside the opening ten minutes as Vela looked to round Dundee goalkeeper Scott Bain, only to lose his footing.
The two sides continued to exchange chances during the opening quarter as Will Buckley fizzed a 25-yard free-kick over the crossbar before Glen Kamara headed wide from a Dundee corner.
Bolton took a deserved lead midway through the half as Madine opened his account for pre-season with a cool finish.
Latching onto Mark Beevers’ through-ball, the forward calmly stroked past Bain with the outside of his right foot.
Goalscorer almost turned provider seconds later as Madine teeded up Will Buckley, however, the winger’s ferocious volley was kept out by Bain at his near post.
But the Trotters did not have to wait long to double their lead with Madine involved again and Ameobi also contributing on the half-hour mark.
The latter fed the former who in turn played in Vela, with the midfielder drilling across goal into the bottom corner.
Wanderers continued to push forward as they chased a third before the break with Bain again denying Buckley, before keeping out Madine’s dipping 25-yard free-kick, ensuring their lead remained just two at the break.
Ameobi’s night came to an end at the interval as he was replaced by Chris Taylor, while Mark Howard came on for Alnwick as Parkinson continued to give opportunities to all his travelling party.
And Howard certainly grabbed that opportunity with both hands as three times he produced astonishing saves to maintain the Whites’ two-goal lead.
First tipping Randy Wolters’ stinging drive behind, the shot-stopper later did well to tip Faissal El Bakhtaoui’s curling effort behind before saving his best until last as he denied Marcus Haber from point-blank range from the resulting corner.
Bolton made a further nine substitutions on the hour-mark with Derik Osede making his return from injury and Adam Le Fondre handed the captain’s armband.
With the changes inevitably disrupting the Trotters’ rhythm, Howard was finally beaten with 15 minutes to go as Paul McGowan slotted home to halve the deficit.
But Wanderers held on to wrap up their training camp in Scotland with a third successive pre-season win.
Image credit: David Young