Bolton Wanderers Bolton Wanderers
Watford showed promise and attacking threat throughout their pre-season friendly with Bolton Wanderers, but were unable to find the target in a 2-0 defeat at London Colney.
Kieran Lee and Dapo Afolayan’s first-half goals made the difference in the training-ground fixture, which saw 21 Golden Boys get minutes at points in the game.
The Hornets established control of the clash in the midfield, which allowed João Pedro opportunities to flourish in the early stages. The Brazilian won a corner and stretched the Bolton backline on several occasions with his movement.
Recent arrival Vakoun Bayo had the first sight of goal after Tom Dele-Bashiru pressed high to retrieve possession. The Ivorian’s effort was low and powerful, but hit the side-netting.
Lee put the visitors ahead five minutes later with a first-time finish inside the box.
Hassane Kamara linked up effectively with João Pedro following the opener. The latter fired across goal for Dan Gosling to tap home, only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for offside.
Bolton’s lead doubled just before half-time through Afolayan on the right flank, with the 24-year-old driving inside and tucking his shot past Daniel Bachmann.
The Hornets had several chances to halve the deficit throughout the second period, enjoying the vast majority of attacking opportunities. Substitute Ken Sema nearly finished off a clever corner routine, only for his shot to drift over.
Also introduced from the bench at half-time, Ismaïla Sarr had two chances saved, including a powerful header.
Domingos Quina, on for Dele-Bashiru, had two opportunities. One came from a Yaser Asprilla-led attack involving Sarr and Samuel Kalu, with the other a low shot which edged wide.
The hosts weren’t able to come back from the two-goal disadvantage, but will be pleased to continue their development in pre-season.
Wycombe Wanderers await at London Colney on Saturday (July 16, 1pm KO), providing another chance to build on the progress made by Rob Edwards’ squad so far.
Starting XI: Bachmann (GK) (Okoye HT), Bayo (Sarr HT), Dele-Bashiru (Quina 60’), Gosling (Asprilla 66’), João Pedro (Kalu 62’) Kabasele (Sierralta 62’), Kamara (Hungbo 66’), Kayembe, Ngakia (Sema HT), Samir (Morris 74’), Troost-Ekong (Pollock 35’)