5 Things: Bolton Wanderers v Nottingham Forest

Matt Mills, saviour and fan of the long pass - Chris Brunskill

Well, that was fun

I thoroughly enjoyed that.

We held our own, and could have beaten one of the (supposed) better sides in the Division:

1) The Importance of (the fans) Being Earnest

Funny really, we at Bolton Wanderers have had problems with the crowd lately. I say lately, I mean in the past twenty years.

Unrealistic expectations to downright impatience, we as supporters have often let ourselves and our team down when it matters most.

Charity to the opposition aside, however, when it all 'works' then it's a wondrous sight.

Kick off in the second half brought about a Forest goal, but other than that the second half today stirred old feelings inside me. The fans and the players were as one, and we all wanted the same thing.

Basically, encouragement flowed from the stands, victory was ours for the taking, and we all wanted it badly. It was fantastic. There have been few instances of late when the crowd have been 100% behind the squad, but today was one of those days and it was superb.

I love atmospheres like that. Reminds me of the old days.

Lo, we might not be the most vocal or numerous of fanbases, but when events conspire as they did today then are few places in the world I'd rather be than at the Reebok on a matchday.

Lately we have been fighting against the tide, but if we all stick together we can make a difference, as proven today. There's nothing quite like the opposition behind a set of bastards to wash away the Bolton induced apathy.

2) Billy F'kin Davies

Yep. Some teams are built in the image of their manager.

Dastardly Manchester United, for example, under Sir Alex Ferguson, once embodied the characteristics of the great man: a team of winners.

Also Chelsea, under Mourinho; a pragmatic bunch - winners, but not the most entertaining mob

Vicious buggers Liverpool, under Benitez; boring, but moderately successful.

I think that all this brings me on to the topic of Nottingham Forest under their manager, pint-sized Scottish hobbit prick Billy Davies.

Excellent track record in this league, but he is a snide, boorish, arrogant bell with a massive chip on his shoulder.

So, it is no shock to find that his team share the same characteristics. Snide and sneaky in equal measure, it brought back memories of being in the Premier League, such was the cynical nature of their play.

Countless attacks broke up with a bullshit foul from a Forest luddite. A trip, a pull and the occasional forearm smash from a converted right-back who was deployed up front because of his height rather than his (non-existent) footballing ability.

For me, it was the attitude of the Forest players that grated most. Greg Halford for example, seemed more intent on contributing to the ongoing foul count than getting involved in the game.

An example of this came in the second half. Halford was sent back to full back and conceded a foul. He then decided that the best course of action was to smash the ball into the assembled ranks of Bolton Wanderers fans in the West Stand.

Not cool.

So yeah, when your manager is a prick, it comes as no surprise when your team acts like a bunch of cocks.

3) Jay Francis Spearing

Last season, Spearing was (largely) the bomb.

Despite being bobbins for the first three months, he developed into one of the most important players in our squad.

Since the beginning of this season however, the man who was once vital to our play has become a hindrance.

The excitement that surrounded his return to the club from Liverpool was genuine, such was his contribution during his loan spell in the 2012/13 season.

The game against Nottingham Forest saw the best and worst of Spearing again.

Aggressive in the tackling, and world-class at pointing, he was found lacking with the ball at his feet.

Attacks floundered when he was in possession.

Considered passes from the defence became a problem as Spearing found it hard to develop the play and bring others into the game.

Spearing can and has been an excellent player for Bolton Wanderers, and ordinarily I wouldn't be bothered about him taking the captaincy, but at the moment his form and his contribution is so lacking that I am not in favour of either.

By all accounts, Medo was superb in the recent home FA Cup game against local minnows Blackpool, and the one-time participant in the Champions League and supposed target of Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur must be wondering what he has to do to get back in the side.

I think it's time that Jay Spearing was given a rest. 'Rest' being a polite word for 'dropped because his performances have been shite'.

4) Andy Lonergan

Previously, I've mentioned that I hadn't been particularly in favour of either Adam Bogdan or Andy Lonergan being first choice goalkeeper for Bolton Wanderers.

Now, given time to assess both I would like to say that in my opinion Andy Lonergan should be the first choice goalkeeper for Bolton Wanderers, which is pretty much the same thing as I said in the first sentence, but worded slightly differently so that it sounds clever, which it isn't really, but I've had four beers tonight and it seems like a good idea. One beer was Belgian, goes by the name of Leffe and is very nice, but a bit strong.

I digress.

Lonergan was imperious. Again.

A genuinely WORLD CLASS save from Halford in the first half brought about memories of the great saves of our time - Banks v Pele, Jaaskelainen v Hunt.

In the second half, and with just five minutes left, Lonergan leapt to his left to save a well-hit strike from tubby Forest porkmaster Andy Reid which seemed destined for the bottom corner.

Lonergan might not necessarily be a 'better' goalkeeper than Bogdan, but he provides a security that I have scarcely felt with my fellow red-head.

His face (Lonergan) adorns most bins in Preston, where I live. It's interesting that as I go and deposit the remains of my lunchtime Scotch egg in one of these Prestonian refuse containers that I am met with the face of the current Wanderers first-choice keeper.

It's almost like he's taking part in some sort of mind-game with me. Like he's targeting me through the medium of bins.

Though yeah, good keeper.

5) Liam O'Meara, Exhibitionist

Half time at the Reebok has never been something that I've particularly looked forward to.

It's all just a bit pointless and boring.

That is, however, until Bolton Wanderers and Kia came up with the half-time entertainment that we have seen during this, the 2013/14 Sky Bet Championship season.

To date we have experienced two different games. We have had the Kia Catch, in which some unnamed tracksuited Wanderers coach has punted the ball into the air (with differing degrees of accuracy) for a fan (in unsuitable footwear) to catch three footballs at a time in an effort to win £250.

The second game is the Kia Kick.

Basically, three Wanderers fans hang around by the goalline and attempt to hit various flags stationed around the field in an effort to win either an away shirt (yuck) or the grand prize, a home shirt and £250.

So far this season we have seen a collection of layabouts and scoundrels taking part in this contest, with varying degrees of success.

That is, however, until Lion of Vienna Suite's own Liam O'Meara took part today.

His first kick was akin to Bambi on the ice.

Let's face it, he fell on his arse.

However, the true test of a man is how you recover from disaster, and recover he did.

With the impudence of youth and the wisdom of my Friday emails, he chipped forward a delightfully weighted effort which struck the first flag with a certain 'je ne sais quoi'.

I felt like a proud parent, which, as a proud parent already is something indeed,

I am expecting him to offer his prize to me as a thank-you.

Liam, over to you.

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