By David Graham at Somerset Park:
Bolton Wanderers kicked off their pre-season tour of Scotland with a 1-1 draw against Ayr United, and left impressed with their hosts.
The Honest Men produced an impressive display against a full strength Bolton side which featured Kevin Davies, Zat Knight, Martin Petrov, Keith Andrews and Chris Eagles.
Bolton took the lead through Spanish full-back Marcos Alonso after 70 minutes before Ayr player/manager Mark Roberts came off the bench to equalize for his side five minutes later.
Afterwards Bolton manager Owen Coyle was pleased with the workout for his men, and tipped Ayr United to earn an instant return to the first division.
He said: “We got 22 players involved tonight which was great, we scored a very good goal and could have had a few others.
“It was a terrific advert, both teams tried to pass and move the ball. In terms of a work exercise it was fantastic, it gave everybody match time.
“Marko [Mark Roberts] will be delighted with how they played because of the quality of opposition they were playing against. They beat Motherwell 4-0 who are getting ready for a Champions League qualifier so we knew Ayr at home was a tough game, they were a credit to themselves.
“I think Ayr united will look to bounce back next year to the First Divison and they look well set to do that.”
The first half saw both teams have good chances.
A delightful backheel from Ayr's Ross Robertson put Moffat through on goal but his effort was saved by the legs of Adam Bogdan.
New Bolton signing Matt Mills almost gifted Ayr a goal after he miss timed a header leaving Robertson a chance, his effort was saved and Moffat's rebound was headed over the bar by Zat Knight.
Bolton's best chance of the half fell to Irish international Keith Andrews on the half hour mark.
Chung Yong-Lee squared the ball back across goal to Andrews who somehow shot wide just three yards from goal, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Bolton until then had managed to keep possession well but lacked creativity in the final third of the park.
Ayr United were confident when they had the ball with Mark Shankland proving once again he is more than ready to shine for the first team.
Marenghi and Moffat were also influential for the home side.
Martin Petrov then nearly caught out trialist keeper Ally Brown with a speculative lob but the keeper was no doubt relieved to see the ball just go over the crossbar.
Owen Coyle rang the changes at half-time making no less than seven subs, with former Rangers star Gregg Wylde being given his Bolton debut. Mears, Mills, Ricketts, Mark Davies, Andrews, Petrov and Eagles made way for the less familiar names of Joe Riley, Marcos Alonso, Tim Ream, Kalifa Cisse, Josh Vela and Darren Pratley.
Wylde had threatened to attack down the left hand side but was well matched by the defence of Tiffoney. He did show a glimpse of his quality when his whipped free-kick gave Darren Pratley a free header in the penalty area, his effort however was high over the bar.
On the hour mark Bolton made two further changes.
Yong-Lee and Kevin Davies were replaced by Michael O'Halloran and Tom Eaves. It didn’t take long for the subs to make a positive impact on the game.
O'Halloran crossed deep to the back post, Wylde knocked the ball back to Pratley on the edge of the area. He fed the ball to Eaves who cut it back allowing Alonso to score his second goal for The Wanderers.
Almost immediately after Bolton's goal Mark Roberts decided it was time for himself to take to the field with Ross Robertson making way for the gaffer.
It proved to be an excellent substitution. A well timed pass by Roberts released Tiffoney who went by Alonso with ease before squaring the ball for Roberts to score in front of the home faithful.
The final minutes were played out with some no real urgency as both teams looked happy to settle for an honourable draw.
Next for Bolton is a trip to New Douglas Park to face Hamilton Accies on Saturday whilst Ayr United host Glentoran.
Ayr United: Brown, Tiffoney, McCann, Campbell, Robertson, Sinclair, Marenghi, McStay, Moffat, Shankland, Robertson. Subs – McLatchie, Roberts, Brownlie, McGowan, Crawford, Kasubandi, Murdoch.
Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Mills, Knight, Ricketts, Yong-Lee, M.Davies, Andrews, Petrov, Eagles, K.Davies. Subs – Lynch, Riley, Alonso, Ream, Cisse, Vela, Pratley, Wylde, O’Halloran, Eaves, Blakeman
Referee: John Beaton
Related Article: Ayr United 4-0 Motherwell