Marine 1-6 Bolton Wanderers
Trotters hit Mariners for six at MTA...
Marine were comprehensively defeated in their final home pre-season fixture by an impressive Bolton Wanderers XI at the Marine Travel Arena.
Despite faring well against the Blackburn Rovers Development Squad on Saturday, Tommy Lawson's men faced a step up in class against a polished Bolton side whose pace, ability and clinical finishing proved a class apart on the evening.
The warning signs were evident early in the piece as the Wanderers right-back was denied a 4th minute goal by Peter Wylie's block on the goalline.
Kenny Strickland then tested visiting keeper Turner from a free-kick 25 yards out, but the 'keeper held securely diving away to his left.
The Wanderers' right-winger then began to torment the home defence and having escaped John Shaw's attentions he cut the ball back for a striker to force a fine reaction stop from the in-form Ben Barnes.
The Lancastrian side continued to lay siege Barnes' goal and a testing deep cross from the right flank saw the Bolton centre-forward arrive to flash a header a yard wide of the College Road rigging.
However the Trotters were not to be denied for long and took the lead as a ball clipped into the Marine area evaded Michael Grogan and the visiting forward, Barnes being deceived as the ball nestled inside his left-hand upright.
The Mariners looked to respond quickly and James Edgar found space down the left to send in a cross towards the near-post where George Hassall's header was deflected behind by a challenging defender.
Bolton doubled their advantage on 27 minutes somewhat fortuitously as a low shot from 25 yards was diverted by Adam Hughes' outstretched leg into a visiting striker's path, the forward slotting calmly past Barnes with the minimum of fuss.
Wanderers made it three six minutes later as their right-winger again caused problems before sending over a pinpoint cross which was met by an equally fine header from the striker, giving Barnes no chance as the ball found the top-left hand corner.
On the stroke of half-time the visitors were again denied by Wylie as his last-ditch block prevented a fourth Bolton goal. From the resulting corner the centre-forward swept a near-post effort into the side-netting as the half drew to a close.
Tommy Lawson unsurprisingly rang the changes at half-time and substitute Dean Shacklock made an early impact, the former Skelmersdale striker finding Michael Brewster who toe-poked an effort from six yards which the Bolton 'keeper blocked behind. The quadrant-kick was played to the back post where Alfons Fosu-Mensah won a challenge, Shacklock almost profiting but being thwarted by Turner's superb reactions twice in quick succession.
More good work from Shacklock then created a chance for fellow substitute James Murray who was the latest homester to be denied by an instinctive save from the visiting custodian.
Bolton wasted a gilt-edged chance for goal number four as a ball across the area from their right looked to have given their forward a proverbial tap-in, however the visiting substitute intervened and it was a case of too many cooks as the chance went begging.
With a quarter of an hour remaining James Short was uncharacteristically dispossessed near the right byline and a low ball to the near-post was flicked goalward but substitute stopper Germano Mendez was alert to turn the ball behind. However from the ensuing corner-kick the Trotters' centre-back found himself unmarked to power a header past Mendez from around 12 yards.
Mendez was beaten again by a curling free-kick two minutes later, but the ball struck the base of his right-hand post before rolling across the six-yard box and being cleared to safety.
On 82 mins Wanderers again showed no mercy and went nap as Liam Hollett's slip was pounced upon, the visiting striker advanced into the box before beating Mendez with a clinical strike low into the corner of the Crosender Road net.
Two minutes later and Bolton added their sixth, the Mariners conceding possession cheaply and a three-on-one break saw the visiting substitute into the right side of the area before finishing right-footed via the far post.
The brightest moment of the evening from the home faithful's perspective came four minutes from time as Kenny Strickland's well-struck free-kick caught Turner out at his near post, however time elapsed to stifle what would surely have been the greatest footballing comeback in living memory...
Marine: Ben Barnes (Germano Mendez 46), Kisimba Kisimba (James Short 46), John Shaw, Peter Wylie, Adam Hughes (Liam Hollett 46), Billy Smart (c) (James Murray 46), Kenny Strickland (A Trialist 46, Kenny Strickland 80), Michael Brewster, George Hassall (Alfons Fosu-Mensah 46), Michael Grogan (Dean Shacklock 46), James Edgar.
Goals: Marine; Strickland (86)
Bolton Wanderers; (15), (27), (33), (77), (82), (84)
Referee: Mr Dale Baines
Assistants: Mr Andy McNally and Mr Liam Ockleshaw.