On Tuesday night, Bolton Wanderers played out a 0-0 draw against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road. A win on the road, what would have been the Trotters' first of the season, was the aim but it was always unlikely. Bolton had not beaten Blackpool in the league at the Seasiders' home ground since 1977. The same fixture last season resulted in a 2-2 draw. Despite only leaving with a single point, it was arguably the strongest performance of Bolton's fledgling season thus far.
For once, Bolton Wanderers defended strongly while pushing forward on the attack. The midfield supported their efforts while the new signings showed their worth. The goalkeeper, whose howler nearly lost a match for the Trotters, came back with an assured performance and saw a clean sheet for Bolton Wanderers. There were a number of positive performances but only one Bolton Wanderers can take our Man of the Match award. The nominees are as follows.
Matt Mills, who has earned his spot in defense over recent weeks. The central defender was one of Bolton's most accurate passers on the day, completing 80% of his 49 attempts. There were only three better passers than him on the day with Neil Danns, Medo Kamara, and Alex Baptiste completing 87, 83, and 83 percent respectively. Mills was also very active on defense, making two key interceptions at the back while clearing the ball 12 times (which was admittedly less than both Tim Ream and Kevin McNaughton's totals).
Liam Feeney was Bolton's danger man for so much of the match, marauding up and down the right-hand touch line and willfully putting crosses into the box. That sort of presence on the flank is something that Bolton Wanderers have been missing for quite some time and Feeney's inclusion at the expense of Chung-Yong Lee was justified. The winger was unlucky not to earn an assist after a few good crosses went begging with forwards failing to finish their chances. The Trotters are getting very close to that first win and a goal from a striker and it seems that it will be Feeney that will be the provider.
Adam Bogdan came back strong from his Yeovil Town howler to deny Blackpool finding the back of the net. The Seasiders have a formidable attacking force for the division and with Tom Ince, Ricardo Fuller, Bobby Grant, and Michael Chopra pushing, Adam Bogdan did well. When all was said and done, he had to make four saves and some good one sat that. It was a great recovery from the beleaguered goalkeeper and one worthy of taking the prize.
Tim Ream, who has become a bit of a regular in this feature over recent weeks, once again put in an assured performance for Bolton Wanderers, looking comfortable in the center of defense. It seems that the American is brimming with confidence at the moment and is playing like it. He looked calm on defense minus one incident in which he lost the ball in midfield but Alex Baptiste did his job and covered for him. Ream also nearly scored right at the death with his volleyed attempt at the far post going just over the bar. Ream made four interceptions at the back while completing 70% of his passes, which included 15 clearances.
Our man of the match was Kevin McNaughton, who came into Bolton's lineup after being handed international clearance to play presumably earlier in the day and immediately showed his worth at right back. The Cardiff City loanee wasn't spectacular by any stretch of the imagine but he was solid in every sense of the word. He did well at right back in his first outing, often being called in to cover the other defenders and doing so well enough. He was a calming defensive presence and a vital asset for the Trotters on the day. He completed 78% of his attempted 37 passes on the day while clearing the ball 16 times, the most of anyone on the team. McNaughton was also the most effective tackler on the day, providing seven to go joint top in that regard with Medo Kamara.