Bolton Wanderers played their final preseason match last night against the Barcelona B in what turned out to be an entertaining encounter. The Whites made their way back to the Reebok for the first time since the 2-2 draw to West Bromwich Albion last season. Many Bolton fans will not have heard of any of Barcelona B's players before last night but these should be some to remember as both teams put on what would be a great show.
Wanderers nearly started off the match with a bang as Chris Eagles came very close to scoring his third goal of preseason, smacking the inside of the post. Barcelona would come very close themselves later in the first half but were denied by a brilliant Adam Bogdan save. Sergio Araujo, the 20 year old on loan from Boca Juniors, curled in a beautiful free kick from about 25 yards out with Bogdan going for it full-stretch to keep it out.
The breakthrough came in the 55th minute thanks to 23-year-old Cristian Lobato. He found space at the top of the box and sent in a wonderful curling ball to Bogdan's right side, leaving the goalkeeper without much of a chance. Lobato tucked his goal in as close to the post as possible without hitting it and giving Barcelona the lead.
Bolton would then equalize just five minutes later thanks to an own goal. Martin Petrov was found on the left wing and he sent a signature cross into the danger area. Barcelona's central defender, Sergi Gomez, attempted to clear the ball first time but he mishit it, slicing the ball past goalkeeper Oier Olazabal and making it 1-1. Olazabal didn't let them keep him down however as on Bolton's next attack, he did very well to deny Benik Afobe on a one-on-one break.
Barcelona pulled ahead for the second time on 67 minutes thanks to a brilliant passing move. An incisive through-ball from the first goalscorer, Lobato, put Ivan Balliu in behind Martin Petrov and Marcos Alonso. The Barca fullback converted from what was an acute angle.
The Trotters once again showed fight and equalized once more shortly after the Barcelona goal. Matt Mills' headed effort in the box was put out for a corner kick and Chung-Yong Lee decided to take it. The ball in found Petrov deep in the box who kept it alive with an acrobatic overhead kick. His well-placed, lofted ball found Marvin Sordell on the edge of the six yard box, leaving Sordell to nod it past the onrushing Barcelona goalkeeper. The goal was Sordell's first since signing for Bolton Wanderers late on deadline day in the January transfer window last season.
The entertaining affair ended 2-2 as Bolton Wanderers left the Reebok satisfied with the result. Manager Owen Coyle told the official website:
"It was a high intensity 90 minutes and I felt we looked comfortable on the ball. We passed and moved it well and created chances.
"You know what you will get against Barca B and we had a good shape when they were in possession.
"We scored two good goals and once again rotated through the squad. The only player missing was David.
Bolton Wanderers kick off their Championship season in seven days at Turf Moor to face Owen Coyle's old club, Burnley.