WANDERERS dutifully fulfilled another fixture, the result of which feels largely immaterial.

The over-riding emotion as a group comprised mainly of teenagers were applauded off the pitch at Prenton Park was that this game should probably not have taken place.

Phil Parkinson and his medical staff warned as much. They instructed the EFL that to put young bodies out there for a third game in seven days was a risk, potentially a welfare issue.

Thankfully, it appears his worst fears on injuries did not materialise. Young legs walked off tired but mercifully of their own volition. The real question here is what this game of Dads v Lads did for the integrity of League One?

Suspending the game with a view to playing it at a later date, as the EFL have done on four occasions at neighbouring crisis-club Bury, was undoubtedly considered. But so were the possible consequences. The chance that Wanderers could be docked even more points – and whether that could affect the club’s desirability in a takeover - was most certainly at the front of people’s minds on Thursday and Friday.

Phone calls went back and forth between administrators and the EFL. The potential of signing non-contract reinforcements was also put on the table and disregarded when concerns were raised by players that their contract would not be picked up later on, and their value affected.

In the end, the decision on whether to go ahead was placed on Parkinson’s toes. To use his own phrase from a heated post-match interview he, the backroom staff and the players were completely “hung out to dry”.

The Bolton boss has kept his own counsel through much of this saga. Some feel his more outspoken comments have come too late. But nevertheless there was no question he was speaking on behalf of every Wanderers fan when he took aim at the “lawyers, solicitors… and main players” who have dragged this affair out to impossible extent.

The football side of the club has been completely abandoned while those who stand to profit from its sale butt heads and squabble of every precious penny, pointing fingers across the room as to who is responsible for the hold up.

Whether Football Ventures, Ken Anderson, Michael James, Eddie Davies’s Trust – governed by solicitor Keir Gordon – or two sets of administrators, nobody is blameless as this mess continues to jeopardise the future of a 145-year-old institution.

Much of the mistrust which has slowed every decision pre-dates administration. The levels of downright greed outweighed only by each protagonist’s desire to maintain their public image.

Stuck in the middle, not knowing what to believe, a handful of players and staff who have been placed under the most unimaginable mental pressures.

When the kids were brought in en-masse against Coventry City there was an injection of freshness and adrenaline which enabled them to snatch a memorable point. Now, they too are being dragged into the mire.

Debbie Jevans, the league’s interim chairwoman, says she wakes up at night thinking about the plight of Bury and Bolton; tell us about it.

She has unquestionably taken a hands-on role in trying to cajole the influential figures in this puzzle to sort out a takeover but, like so many others, is coming up short.

Speaking to The Times on Saturday she said: “I’ve been trying to knock heads together with Bolton. I have told them to ‘get it done!’ I want to see that sorted next week. I don’t want a few legal complexities to stop that.

“Football Ventures have demonstrated their commitment to the club.”

Those ‘legal complexities’ came off the back of Laurence Bassini’s ongoing case against Inner Circle Investments Ltd, the company owned by ex-Bolton owner, Ken Anderson.

Despite everybody claiming to be happy with Wednesday’s verdict, the shockwaves have been significant enough to put a deal which was claimed to be “imminent” back into the realms of “work in progress”.

All the while, the football side of the operation is being asked to carry on regardless.

Bolton’s rivalry with Tranmere is well-documented but this was the first time the two sides had met in league action since 2001. To put the team into context, 10 of the 18 names on the team-sheet were not even born when Mike Whitlow scored that day.

Banter passed between the two packed stands behind the goals and, for 38 minutes, Parkinson’s young charges stood firm.

Morgan Ferrier should have seen red for a lunging tackle on Harry Brockbank, punished only by a yellow from referee Charles Breakspear, and rubbed it in by going on to score two goals.

Ollie Banks opened the scoring seven minutes before half-time, the rout confirmed by Connor Jennings and Stefan Payne’s second-half strikes.

Yoan Zouma was also lucky to escape with a booking late on when he appeared to stamp on a home player after a tangle, the French youngster finding himself tactfully led away by goalkeeper Remi Matthews immediately after the incident.

Tranmere fans had playfully booed the Bolton side going back into the tunnel for the warm-up prior to the game but their applause was respectful at full time as they fully appreciated the situation Wanderers have been put in.

Some of the young players who have pulled on a Bolton shirt in recent weeks have shown they belong here. Others have made up for the prematurity of their appearance in the first team with guts and endeavour.

The 2,000 travelling fans once again made sure every one of them knew their efforts were appreciated, even if a 5-0 defeat underlined the gulf in experience and created a new league record of eight games without a goal.

Parkinson then upped his own game by heaping some pressure on those responsible for stabilising this club’s future. He hasn’t always been on the same page as the fans he saluted after the final whistle but – right at this moment – he echoes their thoughts to a tee.

He will take a watching brief again on Monday morning, waiting for news from legal representatives and courtrooms rather than anything which actually reflects the job he is in.

Wanderers will have to pick themselves up and go again on Tuesday night against Doncaster Rovers unless there is a change of heart from the league.

Perhaps those heads should be knocked together a little harder?