One fifth of the season is over, and still winless.
Today's game saw us playing a 4-5-1 with the new faces of Kevin McNaughton, Neil Danns and Liam Feeney starting for the Bolton Wanderers.
Feeney impressed me today, he seemed to be making plays and tearing up the right flank and giving Jermaine Beckford chances to score and although they were futile it's nice to see some progress being made. I know I haven't seen much of him yet, but if he keeps coming out and playing like he did today, I'm sure that he could be the answer we've been looking for.
But the best part (aside from the clean sheet and the whole not losing for once) was that we played like a team for the first time quite possibly all season. We had possession for long spells, the ball was moving around, Adam Bogdan made crisp catches, we were attacking and we were intimidating and we looked like we knew what we wanted and were going to get it. Even Tim Ream made an attempt towards the end and that was the main difference this game: we took shots. We missed, maybe they were wide, maybe they went off the crossbar, but we kept taking them and trying and I have to believe that if we keep attacking, eventually a defense will slip up and one of the shots will go in.
After a season like this, that attitude alone is the biggest comfort to me right now. We're improving in small steps, but at least we're improving.
It could be Beckford not being able to score that's hurting us, and maybe it's just a funk he's going through but maybe it's not. Either way, we keep playing him alone up front and we're not scoring. If we're going to deal with a defense who isn't the strongest (especially now that Marc Tierney is out) we need to be able to score. The statistics say it all, our goal difference is appalling and while we're conceding a hell of a lot of goals, we couldn't find the net if it had a large blinking arrow pointing to it. Disappointing doesn't even begin to cover it.
Part of me wants to be excited we didn't lose, because that's somehow become some little victory to us, hasn't it? By some miracle of the football gods we didn't "Bolton" it and give up ridiculous goals. But there's part of me, the stubborn part I know we all have, that won't settle for draws the rest of this season. We're Bolton Wanderers. We almost made the playoffs last season. We should be scoring goals, winning games, resting comfortably in the top half of the fixtures. Newsflash: none of that is happening for us and the only thing keeping us from the very bottom is measly goal difference.
I want this change to continue happening, I want the team that I saw today, the one that fought until the end and made Blackpool scamper to show up and play every single game because eventually, with a squad like that, the wins will come.