Ben Brereton scored twice as Rovers came from behind to draw 2-2 with Bolton Wanderers in their final pre-season friendly.

Rovers had work to do after a disappointing opening hour saw them trail to a George Johnston first half goal and a Hayden Carter own goal early in the second.

A quadruple switch on the hour brought with it a move to a more familiar 4-3-3 system, and Brereton notched twice in quick succession as Rovers ended the game the stronger side having been second best for long spells.

Rovers stayed with their back three, the two changes from the Leeds draw seeing Lewis Travis and Ben Brereton come into the side. There was again no Daniel Ayala in the squad, while Harry Chapman missed out through illness.

Huge roars greeted the players as they made their way on to the pitch, this a first chance for Bolton fans to watch their side in over 500 days, while there was a decent travelling contingent from Rovers.

While the noise from the stands was loud, the action on the pitch in the opening stages was anything but.

The first sight of goal came from the unlikely source of Ryan Nyambe, the Namibian getting forward from his wing-back position to chase a Tyrhys Dolan through ball, goalkeeper Joel Dixon quickly off his line to clear, and while the move was kept alive, Travis had his shot well blocked.

The first shot on target, albeit a tame one, took 24 minutes to arrive, Dapo Afaloyan cutting inside Tyler Magloire, his shot from the left edge of the box comfortably saved by Thomas Kaminski.

Within a minute, Rovers had their clearest opening. Harry Pickering won the ball on halfway, fed Armstrong who quickly sent the ball on to Tyrhys Dolan, his run and shot leading to Dixon making a smart save with his feet.

A quick turnover of possession and counter-attack felt like Rovers’ best chance of scoring, their front three isolated, with little support from the midfield.

Bolton then began to string together some better passages of play, and almost punished a mistake from Magloire as he let the ball bounce after misjudging a cross-field pass, Afolayan running in on the back of him, but Kaminski was out quickly to smother the danger.

The opening goal then arrived in the 29th minute, a right-wing corner met by the outstretched boot of Johnston that directed it into the bottom corner.

That didn’t really spur Rovers into anything like a response, an inability to keep the ball well enough and players often ending up in similar space nullified their attacking threat.

Harry Pickering delivered several good balls into the box, while Armstrong’s cross was well cut-out by Declan John with Nyambe, but Rovers went into the break with only one effort on target.

Rovers needed a response, and emerging unchanged for the second half, they almost came up with an equaliser inside two minutes of the re-start. Lenihan’s searching pass found Pickering who sent the ball inside for Armstrong, his left foot shot fizzing just over the top.

It was noticeable how much higher, and wider, the Rovers wing-backs were playing at the start of the second half, but Bolton exploited that space to double their lead in the 50th minute. Afolayan broke into the box and fired a ball across the six-yard box that went in off Hayden Carter.

Carter looked to get on the scoresheet at the other end from a Pickering corner shortly after, his initial header leading to a scramble in the box, and despite the best efforts of Magloire to turn it home, Dixon dived on the loose ball.

A quartet of changes on the hour mark brought with it a change in formation, Jake Garrett anchoring a three-man midfield, with John Buckley and Joe Rothwell alongside him, Sam Gallagher replacing Dolan on the right in a 4-3-3.

 By that point Rovers could have trailed by three, Alex Baptiste attacking a Sheehan corner, meeting it with too much power in the end as it flew over the bar. It could have come soon after, an Isgrove cross from the right timed for the run of Sheehan, but he could only glance wide his header.

There was a bit more impetus about Rovers though since the changes, and two of them combined to give them a goal back. Rothwell delivered a cross, Gallagher’s header coming back off the inside of the post, with Brereton on hand to tap into the empty net.

It was quite a dramatic turnaround for Rovers following on from the four changes and a switch to a more familiar shape.

Rothwell fired a shot just over the top, Gallagher stung the palms of Dixon with a shot on the turn, before Rovers found an equaliser.

It came from the left boot of Brereton, this the finish of a player with confidence, firing across Dixon and into the corner to set up what promised to be an exciting final 18 minutes.

However, a string of changes from the hosts in the closing stages took the sting out of the game somewhat.

The closest either side came was a Buckley strike from the edge of the box, after linking up well with Armstrong, which just didn’t come down in time.

Bolton: Dixon, Jones, Baptiste (Senior, 90), Johnston (Brockbank, 60), John (Gordon, 81), Williams, (Politic, 85) Sheehan (Tutte, 85), Sarcevic (Thomason, 77), Isgrove (Doyle, 67), Afolayan (Darcy, 81), Bakayogo (Crawford, 85)

Subs: Hutchinson

Rovers: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Magloire (Buckley, 60), Carter, Pickering, Travis (Garrett, 60), Davenport (Rothwell, 60), Dolan (Gallagher, 60), Brereton, Armstrong

Subs: Stergiakis, Eastham, Pike, Cirino, McBride, Vale, Butterworth