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Dundee 1 Bolton 2: Dark Blues lose out in final friendly of the summer

Paul McGowan.
Paul McGowan.

Dundee’s final friendly of the summer ended in defeat as they lost 2-1 at Dens Park to English side Bolton Wanderers.

The visitors took the lead on 20 minutes through a Gary Madine goal then added another on the half-hour mark thanks to Josh Vela.

Substitute Paul McGowan got one back for Neil McCann’s men on 77 minutes but, despite an encouraging second-half display, they couldn’t find an equaliser.

The Dark Blues had completed the signing of Tunisian striker Sofien Moussa before kick-off but the 29-year-old didn’t feature in the starting line-up or on the bench.

In the side, though, were new boys Jack Hendry, Scott Allan, Glen Kamara and Randy Wolters.

The home side were the first to show their hand on just three minutes, with a fine move started by captain Cammy Kerr seeing Craig Wighton’s cross from the right headed goalwards by Allan.

Unfortunately for the on-loan Celtic midfielder, Bolton goalie Ben Alnwick did well to save just inside the post.

There was a scare for the Dens men on 10 minutes, though, when a high ball was allowed to sail through the middle of the defence and reach Wanderers’ striker Vela. The frontman got a toe on the ball but not enough to steer it home and Kevin Holt cleared the danger.

A Will Buckley freekick flew over the Dundee bar then, on 16 minutes, Mark O’Hara was found by an excellent pass from Faissal El Bakhtaoui but Alnwick did well to save. From the resultant corner, Hendry flashed a header wide of the far post.

Despite the pressure from the hosts, with exactly 20 minutes gone it was 1-0 to the visitors.

A terrific ball into the box from Mark Beevers fell perfectly from Madine and he cleverly flicked the ball past Bain and into the net from six yards out.

Buckley almost added a quick second for Bolton but his angled strike was saved by Bain.

They were in the driving seat now and they went two up on the half-hour.

Vela was the scorer this time, with the big man being allowed room from the home defenders on the edge of the box to tee up a low drive that beat the Dundee keeper.

The Dark Blues produced their best move of the match thus far on 35 minutes when Kerr raced down the right to deliver a cross that was nodded inches over by Wolters.

Madine’s freekick from just outside the area was saved well by Bain before the whistle blew for half-time.

Roarie Deacon came on for the second half, replacing Wighton, while Bolton changed their goalies, with Alnwick going off and Mark Howard coming on.

With 59 minutes gone, a dull passage of play was finally livened up when Dundee winger Wolters let fly with a strike from a tight angle that keeper Howard had to fist away.

Deacon, who had been receiving some rough treatment from the Bolton players, stayed down after one tackle from Beevers but got back up after treatment.

On 65 minutes, the visitors made their expected mass substitution, with no fewer than nine players coming on.

Five minutes later, El Bakhtaoui tested Howard with a vicious strike that had to be pushed away to safety.

Dundee brought on subs Lewis Spence, McGowan and Marcus Haber for Kamara, Allan and El Bakhtaoui on 72 minutes.

Haber should have scored almost straight away but missed an absolute sitter by somehow shooting straight at Howard when the goal was at his mercy.

McGowan, who had only just been on the park, grabbed a goal back for the Dark Blues on 77 minutes when he hooked a shot past Howard from a tight angle.

The changes kept on coming, with Dundee also bringing on keeper Kyle Gourlay, Danny Williams, and Tom Hateley for the closing stages, but the scoreline stayed the same as Bolton held on for victory.

Attendance: 2,227.

Dundee: Bain (Gourlay 80), Kerr (Hateley 76), Holt, Waddell, Hendry, Kamara (Spence 72), O’Hara (Curran 80), Wolters (Williams 76), Wighton (Deacon 46), Allan (McGowan 72), El Bakhtaoui (Haber 72).

Bolton starting line-up: Alnwick, Darby, A. Taylor, Wheater, Beevers, Karacan, Pratley, Buckley, Ameobi, Vela, Madine. Subs: Howard, Little, Dervite, C. Taylor, Le Fondre, Osede, Trialist, King, Hall, Brockbank, Earing, White, Lonsdale.

Referee: Alan Muir.

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