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Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 0 - 2 Real Betis

Bolton concluded their pre-season preparations with a third defeat in four games, comfortably being seen off by La Liga side Real Betis.

Chris Brunskill

It's been a frustrating pre-season for Bolton fans. Despite many first team players getting crucial minutes under their belt, Bolton haven't won a game or kept a clean sheet which signals that the defensive frailties of last season, without Dawson, are still very much apparent.

However Real Betis are a much different prospect that Bolton's previous friendlies. They finished an impressive 7th in La Liga last year and even managed to beat Real Madrid, so losing to them shouldn't be unexpected or disappointing. Especially when the two goals were a very unfortunate deflection which bounced right into the path of Molina and an exquisite, unstoppable free-kick placed to perfection.

The first thing I noticed upon arriving at the game was how poor the contents of the programme were. I know it's only a friendly and it only cost £1 but bar the manager's notes and a little look at Betis' team, there was no fresh content. I used to look forward to reading the programme every week but I didn't really give this one more than a second glance.

After paying on the turnstile, I took my seat in the unfamiliar surroundings of the West Stand and I heard the new 'voice of the Reebok'. I was throughly unimpressed; the announcer lacked the charisma and northern accent of former announcer Colin McGreavy and he will be missed.

He announced the team and it was interesting to see that Andrews was in the starting line-up as was Sordell as a lone striker, with no sight of Chung-Yong Lee or Ngog on the bench.

After a minute's silence for the victims of the recent train crash in Spain, the game got underway.

Despite the trinity of Hall, Eagles and Sordell combining to create the first half chance of the game, Bolton did look very tentative in the opening exchanges with Bogdan looking particularly nervous with a couple of backpasses.

Bolton then nearly broke the deadlock after just seven minutes when a Baptiste cross bounced kindly for Hall and the young winger probably should have done better.

For Betis, Nosa was very influential and forced a couple of smart saves from Bogdan. And minutes later hearts were in Wanderers' mouths when Sergio hit a vicious half volley from 20 yards out which just went wide of the post.

Real Betis then took the initiative in the 32nd minute when Wheater's attempted clearance unfortunately bounced perfectly into the path of Molina who had no problems sweeping the ball home from close range.

After the goal, the game lulled a bit until half time with neither team creating any clear cut chances. Once I had enjoyed the relative luxury of a meat & potato pie (£2.40!) the second half kicked off.

Molina went close to doubling his tally ten minutes into the second half after some very sloppy defending from the Whites which forced Bogdan to rush out, narrow the angle and block Molina's effort.

Real Betis did eventually double their lead in sublime fashion. After some brilliant, conventionally Spanish build up play, Joan Verdu was hacked down by Darren Pratley and it was left to him to convert the free-kick, which he did with aplomb. Verdu, curled it over and around the wall, perfectly into the top left corner of the net with Bogdan helpless. The effort even brought a few claps from the Wanderers faithful.

Immediately after, Jermaine Beckford made his Reebok debut getting a very good reception from the crowd of just over 4000. This was to the relief of Sordell, who had looked lost up front on his own, despite showing a lot of willing. Beckford could've got on the scoresheet but he couldn't connect with Sordell's cross.

Sordell then somehow managed to head over from about two yards out after the ball had bounced across the box.

The game then fizzled out with Bolton introducing youngsters Samni Odelusi and Jan Gregus, both for their home debuts. Neither having much time to influence proceedings as Betis saw the game out.

Despite the scoreline, Bolton did manage to hold their own for periods of the game and Rob Hall's encouraging form continued, again linking up well with Eagles and Sordell. The defence, whilst conceding two goals and looking quite shaky did get unlucky with the unfortunate first goal and the sublime free-kick and Wheater didn't play too badly.

Of the new signings, Marc Tierney looked solid in defence and supported in attack. He also seemed to win absolutely everything in the air. Baptiste had some nice moments but his positioning let him down at times, which could be expected considering he's naturally a centre back. Beckford didn't have much to do but looked like he could offer something different than our other strikers.

Medo was disappointing, giving the ball away quite a bit and Andrews didn't really impress me. The continued inclusion of Andrews is surprising considering the apparent interest of Blackpool and I also thought he would be 5th choice centre midfielder this season but it looks like he could very well start against Burnley in a week's time.

Attendance: 4,070