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Bolton 9-0 Longridge Town - Five key talking points from the game

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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It might have been a routine pre-season outing for Wanderers but that is not to say there wasn’t something to admire about their nine-goal rout at Longridge Town.

Ian Evatt was happy his side started their summer fixture schedule looking sharp, having returned on Sunday from their training camp in Portugal.

Dion Charles helped himself to a hat-trick and there were also goals for Kyle Demspey, Elias Kachunga, Amadou Bakayoko, George Johnston, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Dapo Afolayan, as the Whites went quickly through their gears against a side from the North West Counties League.

They say you can only beat what is put in front of you – and Wanderers never looked under any sort of pressure despite naming a different starting 11 in each half.

But how much can we glean from the outing? We picked out a few talking points which caught our eye.


Kyle Dempsey couldn’t find his rhythm after signing for Wanderers in January, due largely to the injuries he had suffered earlier in the season at Gillingham. It was a frustrating start – but the midfielder has returned this summer looking trim and in good touch.

The 26-year-old has shown over the course of his career that he can be a goalscoring midfielder and is certainly one of the most mobile options Evatt has at his disposal, when fully fit.

He scored one, would have had another had it not been for a good save from Bolton old boy James Aspinall, and buzzed about the pitch like a player determined to push his claim for a starting spot.


Claiming two assists inside your first 15 minutes as a Bolton player – loan or not – isn’t a terrible start at all. Conor Bradley had only trained with his team-mates for one day and his second-half cameo caught the eye of the 1,000 at Longridge.

At first glance the Liverpool and Northern Ireland defender doesn’t look the most physical player, and there will certainly be bigger challenges ahead for him. But he has energy, swapped regular dialogue with right-sided centre-half, Gethin Jones, and won a loud ovation for clattering into a challenge in the last minute with the game at 9-0.

Wanderers fans may be warning themselves against falling for another on-loan full-back, but the Liverpool man looks like he might test a few of them during his stay.


We had all been interested to see where Jack Iredale would be played – and as the left-sided centre-half in the first 45 minutes he showed up well.

The Australian always looked positive in possession, making use of the space a fading Longridge afforded him, and his accurate passing into the feet of Amadou Bakayoko in particular proved a good link-up.

With young Max Conway pushing himself as a senior option at wing-back against Longridge, we shall see whether Iredale continues to duel with George Johnston for that central spot. But the former Cambridge United defender can be quite pleased with his first action in a Bolton shirt.


The last thing the tiring Longridge defenders really wanted to see in the second half was Dion Charles ratting around and leaving them with no time on the ball.

If you are supposed to ‘go easy’ in pre-season, then someone forgot to tell the Northern Ireland striker, who grabbed the ball for a penalty won by George Thomason to secure himself a nice early hat-trick.

Having put to rest a barren spell in front of goal on the final day of last season and spending most of the last few months on international duty, it is good to see him pick up where he left off against Fleetwood, with a smile on his face.


Yes, we know it is only pre-season. Yes, Bolton will face much tougher opposition further down the line. But some of the build-up play – and particularly for Dion Charles’s second goal – was first class.

Patiently working the ball right to left, Aaron Morley’s astute pass inside the full-back picked out Conor Bradley, whose perfect near-post cross was crashed into the net.

Watching on social media, a man who knows about scoring goals with artistic merit. Even record signing Johan Elmander watched on with interest and admiration as Bolton stacked up the score-line.

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Natasha Whittam

Natasha Whittam
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Question. Do we really need 3 different threads for one pre-season friendly?

And why are they in "banter"?


Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Here's a couple of talking points:

We didn't learn anything at all about our defensive capabilites from this game - and we need to learn very quickly whilst the transfer window is open.

Wouldn't we have been better off accepting Monaco's challenge? I know it's the first game and building confidence is important but the chance to pit ourselves against a top tier French side doesn't come along very often - and they'd be far more likely to highlight the areas we need to improve in at a time when we have a chance to make those improvements without having anything at stake.

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