Bolton Wanderers rounded off their preseason tour of Scotland with another 1-all draw, this time against Falkirk FC. The hosts took the lead early and while Bolton managed to get level, Falkirk managed to hold the match to a draw without too much difficulty. Owen Coyle showed more restraint when it came to substitutes this match, leaving Tim Ream, Martin Petrov, and Sam Ricketts, who assumed captain's duties after Kevin Davies left the pitch, all on for the full 90 minutes.
Falkirk's goal came just 15 seconds after the start of play, Bolton's first touch of the game being Adam Bogdan removing the ball from the back of his net. The ball was punted from Falkirk's own half, and landed perfectly for Lyle Taylor, who outpaced Tim Ream and sent the ball soaring over Bogdan's head and into the back to the net. The Bolton defense was completely caught out by this move, which is not really a good thing but also very understandable given the speed.
Encouraged by their early goal, the Bairns piled pressure on Bolton for the opening minutes of the match, but the Men in White responded well and got the equaliser in the 14th minute. Chris Eagles found himself alone about 30 yards out, and made the split second decision to shoot. The goal was a stunner.
While there were no goals after that, Coyle dubbed the match the best performance of the preseason. He gave some players 90 minutes for the first time, and things seem to be coming together. There's still the sloppy loss of possession that was so prevalent last season, but that is to be expected at this stage. After the end of that segment of preseason, the manager had this to say:
"From now on, we will step things up, getting the players 75 minutes and then 90 minutes. We are just short of another four weeks before we get things going on August 18 and the important thing then is that we hit the ground running. Step-by-step we are moving up the rungs of the ladder. There have been a lot of pleasing aspects from these last seven days, but we know there is further room for improvement."
It is onward and upward for the Wanderers, and on Friday they travel to Radcliffe Borough FC to continue preparing for the upcoming season.