WANDERERS are warming up nicely for the League One season – and made a mockery of the tropical temperatures at Colney to earn a deserved 2-0 win against Watford.

Kieran Lee and Dapo Afolayan scored the goals in what was without question the Whites’ most convincing display of the summer so far.

The hot, sticky conditions were not ideal for high pressing football but Ian Evatt’s men maintained an impressive work-rate from the first minute to the last against a team that has just dropped out of the Premier League.

Wanderers moved the ball well early on, Dion Charles leading a press which had the hosts pinned back for the opening exchanges.

But the Whites got a reminder of Watford’s quality as they burst through 12 minutes in, Vakon Bayo drilling a low shot which beat Joel Dixon but nestled only into the side netting.

Almost immediately, Wanderers were celebrating the opening goal. Daniel Bachmann’s heavy touch gave Kieran Lee a sight of goal, and he needed no second invitation, burying a shot into the bottom corner.

Despite 30 degree temperatures, Bolton’s tempo was noticeably quicker than it had been against Stockport or Wigan. George Thomason flitted between the lines and worked the ball well, and those cross-field passes from Ricardo Santos and George Johnston were again a valid weapon.

Dapo Afolayan played in a more advanced role than we have seen so far this summer, pushed right up alongside the busy Charles. And after showing up well in defeat against Wigan at the weekend, he was again in sparkling first half form.

The question was, how long could Bolton keep up the pace? As the half wore on, Watford predictably started to wrestle control of possession, Joao Pedro becoming increasingly influential on the ball.

Dan Gosling had one effort ruled out for offside, then spooned another shot over the bar from close range as gaps started to open up around the penalty box for the Hornets’ wider players.

Instruction from the bench became increasingly urgent as Evatt and Co tried to keep concentration levels high. Once again, with impeccable timing, Wanderers responded.

Charles had a goal ruled out after stabbing Afolayan’s shot past Bachmann at close range but just a few moments later a brilliant pass from Williams set Afolayan racing in on goal to bury home the second.

Watford might have got themselves back into it as the half flowed past 50 minutes with drinks breaks included. Hassane Kamara shot blocked well by Ricardo Santos and from the corner, Gosling clipped the crossbar.

The Hornets made a few changes at the break and emerged with renewed energy, Pedro playing a good pass through for Gosling five minutes after the restart – but the former Newcastle United man failed to seriously worry Dixon with his shot.

The Wanderers keeper has been in good touch this summer and over the next few minutes he would make two saves that genuinely did deserve praise.

The first arrived when Watford worked the ball well down the right, Pedro picking out sub Ismaila Sarr with a fine cross, but Dixon somehow diverted the header over the bar from point blank range.

He then surpassed that save with a full-length effort to push another shot from Sarr around the post, drawing some gasps of amazement from the smattering of staff and press stood on the sidelines.

Physically, Watford had some real size, especially in midfield. But Bolton were refused to be steamrollered and started to dish out a bit themselves through Will Aimson and MJ Williams, both quietly admonished by the referee.

Santos, Aimson and Johnston defended impressively – and in the case of the club captain, this was by far his best performance of the summer.

WANDERERS (3-5-2): Dixon; Aimson, Santos, Johnston, Sadlier, Lee, Williams, Thomason, John; Afolayan, Charles Subs: Trafford, Jones, Bodvarsson, Iredale, Morley, Bradley, Dempsey, Kachunga.

Not used: Kachunga 60 (for Charles), Bradley 66 (for Sadlier), Morley 74 (for Lee), Bodvarsson (for Thomason), Dempsey (for Afolayan 74), Iredale 84 (for John), Jones 84 (for Aimson).