Rochdale 0-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • July 22, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton got back to winning ways on Tuesday evening, as they beat near-neighbours Rochdale 2-0 in a pre-season friendly at Spotland.

Following last week's 1-1 draw at Macclesfield Town, Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman said he would use the game against Dale to field a side more likely to feature against Watford on the opening day of the new season.

The home side enjoyed large spells of possession on their own turf, but Bolton held their nerve in defence and looked dangerous on the counter attack - with goals in each half from Neil Danns and Conor Wilkinson sealing victory for the Trotters.

Freedman made ten changes to the side that started at Moss Rose last time out, with Medo Kamara the only survivor

Wanderers started brightly, with Danns and Liam Feeney both looking particularly dangerous on the right-hand side of midfield, and they combined well to create the first shooting opportunity of the game, which resulted in Robert Hall bringing a smart save out of Johny Diba.

Diba was at his best once more, five minutes later, this time to deny Jermaine Beckford, who had evaded a challenge from Rhys Bennett before getting his shot away.

Rochdale's first chance of the game arrived just after the quarter-hour mark, with Matt Mills making a timely interception to clear the ball from underneath his own crossbar, before Joe Bunney headed wide from a Peter Vincenti cross.

Then, with 23 minutes on the clock, Bolton took the lead in stunning circumstances. Danns received possession midway inside the Dale half, took a touch and fired a bullet of a shot into the top corner of Diba's goal.

The home side immediately went in search of an equaliser, with Andy Cannon bringing a save out of Andy Lonergan in the Wanderers goal, before Ashley Eastham headed wide from a free-kick shortly afterwards.

Beckford was inches away from connecting with a long-ball from Hall on the half-hour, before a threaded pass from Danns ended in similar style.

Lonergan did well to keep out a long-range drive from Vincenti on 35 minutes, before the visitors had the ball in the net in the final minute of the half - only to see the goal disallowed for offside, as Hall followed up Feeney's parried shot.

There were no changes to the Bolton team at the start of the second period, but Dale did introduce Scott Tanser in the place of Matt Done.

Kamara had to be in the right place to block a strike on the edge of his own box in the early moments after the restart, before a neat move involving Kevin McNaughton and Danns ended with a cross which was just too far ahead of an advancing Beckford.

Vincenti smashed a loose ball wide of Lonergan's upright on the hour, before Michael Rose's 30-yard effort sailed harmlessly wide of the target from the next attack.

A deflected Kamara shot looped up and over Diba's crossbar midway through the half, before a series of changes saw Josh Vela, Craig Davies and Wilkinson enter the game for the final 20 minutes.

Within five minutes of his introduction, Wilkinson, a summer signing from Millwall this time last year, netted his first senior goal for the club as he held off a challenge from a defender before drilling the ball past Diba.

Joe Riley replaced McNaughton for the final 10 minutes and he brought a save out of Diba inside the closing stages, from which Tim Ream had a shot cleared off the line from the corner Riley had forced.

Having navigated the game, seemingly without any injuries to his key players, Freedman would no doubt have been pleased as his side ran out 2-0 winners against a side expected to be challenging for promotion to the Championship this coming season.

Wanderers return to action on Friday evening, when they face Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

Rochdale: Diba, Bennett (Rafferty), Eastham, McGinty, Done (Tanser), Hery, Cannon, Camps (Logan), Vincenti, Bunney (Trialist), Rose
Subs Not Used: Collis, Barry-Murphy, Allen, Lancashire, Donnelly, Lund, Henderson, Trialist

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, McNaughton (Riley 80), Moxey (Sellars 82), Mills, Ream, Spearing, Danns, Kamara (C Davies 72), Feeney (Threlkeld 89), Beckford (Wilkinson 72), Hall (Vela 66)
Subs Not Used: Fitzsimons, Bolger, Dervite
Goals: Danns 23, Wilkinson 77

Referee: Craig Pawson
Attendance: 1,707

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>


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