With several hundred Wanderers fans watching their team in person for the first time since March 2020, Wanderers fielded two different XIs and were given a good workout by their non-league neighbours.
Ian Evatt’s men dominated proceedings throughout but found themselves a goal down during the first half.
Wanderers started brightly with energy and attacking intent and were unfortunate not to take the lead within the early exchanges.
Defender Will Aimson went close with two chances in quick succession, with a shot blocked and a header saved after some great build-up play.
Eoin Doyle then went close with a left-footer that went narrowly wide of the target.
Former Wanderers Academy player, Brandon Lee, son of legend David, went on a galloping run but fired off target as the hosts enjoyed their first foray into the Wanderers box after ten minutes.
Josh Sheehan struck a low ball straight at Lee Dovey after George Johnston had threaded a superb ball into his path after taking the ball out defence.
Arek Pociask put the hosts in front after 18 minutes when he nodded in a Jordan Southworth cross from the left-hand side after Longridge broke forward quickly from midfield.
Dovey flung himself to keep out an Antoni Sarcevic header from Doyle’s cross as Wanderers looked to equalise.
Wanderers made their first change after 32 minutes when Ronan Darcy came on for Sarcevic. Ian Evatt later confirmed that the skipper was withdrawn as a precaution with a tight hamstring.
Doyle spurned a glorious chance to find the back of the net when his header from a Lloyd Isgrove centre went straight into the arms of Dovey.
George Thomason was making his return to the Mike Riding Ground for the first time since his move to Wanderers from Longridge, and he drove a low shot straight at Dovey after being played in by Doyle.
Darcy broke down the right-hand side before flashing a shot across the goal and then Doyle had a goal ruled out for an infringement after heading Nathan Delfouneso’s cross past Dovey.
As the half drew to a close, Sheehan was unlucky to see his low drive from distance drift wide of goal.
With the exception of Darcy, Wanderers returned to the field for the second half with a different team.
They started off brightly with Amadou Bakayoko in particularly probing the Town defence.
Xavier Amaechi was played in by Dapo Afolayan and the forward was unfortunate to see his shot loop over the bar with Dovey stranded and away from his unguarded goal.
It was a very promising start to the half, and Dovey made a brilliant block to keep out Declan John after Afolayan set the wing back up.
Bakayoko spun to lose his marker just outside the box but drilled his shot wide after Ricardo Almeida Santos’ surging run forward from the back had set up the chance.
Dovey was once again in the thick of the action this time keeping out Afolayan’s angled shot after he had produced a stepover to get the better of Joe Melling.
Bakayoko was put through with only Dovey to beat but the keeper once again proved to be impregnable and he went the right way to thwart the striker.
Harry Brockbank finally found the breakthrough in the 65th minute when he converted Afolayan’s cross from close range. A long overdue equaliser for Wanderers who then had the platform to go on and win the game.
Almeida Santos took the ball a long way once again before beating a few players, but a last ditch block from Brad Wicks prevented him from netting his first goal in a Wanderers shirt.
Dovey then tipped an Amaechi shot over the bar and behind for a corner as Wanderers searched for another goal to put them in front.
Wanderers got their second with ten minutes to go thanks to Bakayoko’s header. The big striker converted John’s left-sided cross with an astute header from close range. The second half dominance had finally paid dividends in the latter stages.
He could have grabbed a second shortly afterwards when he charged towards goal only to see his strike cannon off the right post after leaving the Town central defenders for dead.
Amaechi seemed determined to get on the scoresheet but his left-footed shot went straight to Dovey.
The linesman’s flag ruled out a Darcy goal after the midfielder had latched on to Afolayan’s deft pass.
But, Darcy was rewarded for a positive display when he found the net right on the stroke of full time after the referee had played advantage following a foul on Kieran Lee inside the box.
Longridge Town: Dovey, Melling (Alston 60), Lee, Wicks (Dainty 77), Linighan (Clegg 84), Wilkinson, Harries (Brookes 84), Yoak, Pociask (Zama 46) (Gray 60), Anderton (Fletcher 46), Southworth (Gidi 73)
Unused Subs: N/A.
Goal: Pociask (18)
Bolton Wanderers: Dixon (Alexander 46), Jones (Brockbank 46), Aimson (Almeida Santos 46), Johnston (Senior 46), Gordon (John 46), Thomason (Williams 46), Sheehan (Lee 46), Sarcevic (Darcy 33), Isgrove (Amaechi 46), Doyle (Bakayoko 46), Delfouneso (Afolayan 46).
Unused Subs: N/A
Goals: Brockbank (70), Bakayoko (80), Darcy (90+4).
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