Bolton are in serious trouble with only one goal scored, twenty-three against and minus ten points into the bargain. They managed a draw on Tuesday night so maybe they're on the turn but I'm sure we'll be able to beat them this afternoon. If we don't, it'll only compound the anxiety caused by our performance against Rotherham. Hopefully we'll have a much more aggressive approach to the game and not the holding-back style we displayed on Tuesday when we should've brought Maguire on much earlier and finished the game off. I'm back in the homelands and will be watching the game with a load of mates in a town-centre hostelry. I imagine we'll give a goal away but I reckon we'll get a few ourselves so my match prediction is a 3-1 win.
When I got to the bar I was pleased to see both Grigg and Maguire were starting but McNulty was missing, probably due to injury. Liam Bridcutt was starting for them and he was no doubt sure to score. The opening exchanges were even enough but in the seventh minute Leadbitter laid on a great through ball for the onrunning Grigg (I think – the picture wasn't clear) but Matthews in goal got to it first. Hume was yellow-carded for a foul just after the quarter-hour mark and then the TV stream froze, as it did last time I was at this establishment. One of my friends said, “Seventeen minutes of crap and then the screen goes off.” Five minutes later normal service was resumed and it remained goalless but we weren't having it all our own way by any means. Grigg had a great chance to open the scoring in the twenty-ninth minute but he headed wide from an ideal position. We had a decent period of pressure during which a low Maguire shot was well-saved by Matthews and then Flanagan headed wide from another good position. Then Bolton had a decent spell with Verlinden making several nifty runs through our defence. Another mate said, “Is your report indicating how utterly shit this is?” It remained 0-0 as the half-time whistle went.
During the break I was looking at who we had on the bench and thought we had to bring Wyke on asap but when when we restarted the only change was McLaughlin was on for Hume. Five minutes in, McLaughlin conceded a free-kick from which we went one-down when Hobbs tapped in from close range. Far from my earlier hopes of us having a comfortable win, it looked like we'd be lucky to get a draw as Bolton took confidence from their goal and looked quite likely to get another. We had a penalty shout when McLaughlin went down in their box but referee Yates wasn't having any of it. In the sixty-sixth minute we finally brought on Wyke but surprisingly it was for Maguire and not Grigg, as I'd expected. Six minutes later a Flanagan header hit the bar following a free-kick but time was running out and we'd have to finish better if we wanted to salvage anything from the game. Next thing the screen froze again and maybe that was for the best but BBC Sport told me Power had come on for Leadbitter. We got the picture back with six minutes to go just in time to see Matthews make a great save from an excellent McGeady shot. Bolton were defending with vim and I couldn't see us scoring but on the stroke of full time we won a penalty for handball and McGeady smashed it in to put us level. There were five minutes of stoppage-time but it ended 1-1.
Feeling relieved at snatching a draw against Bolton says it all. We created enough scoring chances to have won it. New owners, new manager? Well, a number of people around me were saying they'd like to see Allardyce or Keane back...