Craig Dawson scores headed goals, no matter who he is playing for. - Laurence Griffiths
It's the performance we have been waiting for all season long! Hull City were second in the table and had won three in a row when they touched down in the Reebok this afternoon. Wanderers were quick to welcome them with less than hospitable behavior.
Second-place, and the automatic promotion that goes with it, would have been considered a success for Bolton Wanderers this season. Hull City came to the Reebok Stadium holding those prizes. The promotion-starved Tigers, who had not conceded in their last two matches, were living the life that most Bolton supporters had envisioned for their own club last summer.
For one afternoon, Dougie Freedman's Wanderers were able to give the fans a little slice of that joy. Hull City gave up three (Three!) goals in a remarkable opening eight minutes. Trotters fans may not have expected the Championship to be such a tough test before the season started, but they also wouldn't have expected to have such an easy ride today. Inside ten minutes, it was Wanderers running rampant. Hull City were no match for the men in white.
Mark Davies should still be working his way back from injury, but he has quickly moved ahead of Stu Holden and Josh Vela (who were not even on the bench today) in his return. Chung-Yong Lee was released on the left wing just over a minute into the match by Davies. The Korean winger's cross was not whipped, but finessed, and it found Darren Pratley in the center of the box. Once upon a time Dazza Prazza was a big goal threat in this division. In a flashback to his Swansea days, he headed home the first goal.
Three minutes later, Mark Davies proved he is not on his way back, but all the way back, and that his poor performance last weekend was a fluke rather than a sign of things to come. His low drive after a good run was too much for Hull's David Stockdale. It snuck underneath the goalkeeper. Bolton had a 2-0 lead. Supporters were rapturous (and maybe a little confused.)
Bolton continued to dominate, and the third goal came after another three minutes. Central defender Craig Dawson, on-loan from West Bromwich Albion and quickly cementing himself into the side, got his first Bolton goal. It was a corner, and Dawson got his head onto the ball. Marvin Sordell gave it a little tap, just to make sure, but it was over the line and Dawson got credit. Somewhere the likes of Bruno N'Gotty and Tal Ben Haim smiled.
Bolton's ex-Manchester United winger (Chris Eagles) was on the sub's bench today, his wretched form (and a crow bar) having finally removed him from the team. Conversely, Hull's ex-Manchester United winger Robbie Brady gave his side a boost when he scored from a free kick in the 65th minute. This goal came just after the introduction of substitutes George Boyd and Jay Simpson. Some hope for supporters of the Tigers, but it made for a tense couple of minutes on the terraces at the Reebok.
Pratley played a big role in calming things down. He surged into the box, and Craig Davies found him quickly, but Stockdale made the save. It wasn't long after that when Marcos Alonso, back from his one match ban, guaranteed the points. Bolton's threat was only half-cleared, and Alonso had a nice effort which Craig Dawson flicked in for his second.
All that was left after that was ceremonial debuts for David Wheater and Medo Kamara.
That's four on the trot without a loss, and eight points on the board. We have written this before, but hopefully Bolton can build off the recent run of form and work their way back to respectability. For tonight, just enjoy the 4-1, and the type of performance we haven't seen in quite a while.