Port Vale 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • July 30, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/74abe

Bolton's penultimate pre-season friendly of the summer ended in victory, as they were 2-1 winners over League One side Port Vale.

Wanderers took an early lead at Vale Park, as the newly appointed vice-captain Matt Mills headed home Liam Feeney's corner in the 7th minute, and they doubled the advantage when Jermaine Beckford found the bottom corner from 30 yards with little over 10 minutes left to play.

Tom Pope, who came on as a half-time substitute, halved the deficit with six minutes to go, but a Man of the Match display from Trotters goalkeeper Andy Lonergan ensured the visitors left the game with the win.

Bolton boss Dougie Freedman made five changes to the side that drew at Tranmere Rovers last Friday, with Tim Ream, Medo Kamara, Liam Feeney, Lee Chung-Yong and Conor Wilkinson all stepping into the starting line-up. With Jay Spearing on the bench, Mills took the captain's armband for the evening.

Wanderers started brightly and came close to breaking the deadlock inside the opening five minutes, but Feeney's dangerous ball across the face of the Vale six-yard box was just too far ahead of Wilkinson and Craig Davies.

They didn't have to wait long before they did find the net, however, as Feeney's corner was glanced beyond Sam Johnson just two minutes later - giving the visitors the lead.

Wilkinson was denied by Johnson from the next attack, before a curling free-kick from Craig Davies brought another fine save out of the home goalkeeper.

Lonergan was called into action for the first time on the quarter-hour mark, as he got down at full stretch to keep out a long-range drive from Michael O'Connor.

Ben Williamson was next to try his luck for the hosts, but his close-range effort sailed harmlessly wide and into the stands behind the goal.

Johnson made a fine save to deny Craig Davies in a one-on-one situation midway through the half, while Mark Marshall saw two shots blocked at the other end as Vale looked to hit Wanderers on the counter attack.

A Medo Kamara free-kick flew over the crossbar on 35 minutes, before Lonergan got down to stop another long-range drive at the other end - this time from Marshall.

Carl Dickinson and Frederic Veseli both failed to trouble Lonergan as the half drew to a close, while a dipping volley from O'Connor only just cleared the crossbar in the final minute - as the visitors took their one-goal lead into the interval.

There were no changes to the Bolton side at the start of the second half and they emerged as the most dangerous side after the restart, with Craig Davies and Feeney both threatening, although it was the home side who created the first shooting opportunity, as Steve Jennings fired over the top from distance.

Dean Moxey dragged a shot wide just before the hour, while Lonergan produced a superb reflex save to push away a point-blank header from Dickinson.

A 25-yard strike from Louis Dodds flashed inches wide of the Bolton post with 20 minutes to go, before Wanderers upped their game and doubled their lead.

Neil Danns and Robert Hall had both come close with shots from distance, but Beckford went one better by smashing an unstoppable 30-yard strike into the bottom corner of substitute goalkeeper Chris Neal's goal to seal the victory.

Port Vale pulled one back through Pope's looping header six minutes from time and they should have equalised in stoppage time, but Lonergan pulled off an outstanding save to deny Jennings and secure the win for Freedman's side.

Bolton complete their pre-season preparations on Sunday afternoon, when they welcome Vitesse Arnhem to the Macron Stadium at the club's annual 'Family Fun Day'.

Port Vale: Johnson (Neal 46), Veseli (Yates 46), Robertson, McGivern (Duffy 46), Dickinson, Brown (Jennings 46), O'Connor, Lines (Lloyd 46), Birchall (Daniel 46), Williamson (Pope 46), Marshall (Dodds 46)
Subs Not Used: Boot, Smith
Goals: Pope 84

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Ream (McNaughton 58), Moxey (Threlkeld 73), Mills, Dervite, Kamara, Feeney, Chung-Yong (Danns 72), M Davies (Hughes 82), C Davies (Beckford 72), Wilkinson (Hall 58)
Subs Not Used: Fitzsimons, Spearing, Pratley, Clough, Sellars, Wheater
Goals: Mills 7, Beckford 78

Referee: Steve Rushton
Attendance: 1,780

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