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Bolton 1-1 Stoke (AKA Oh Dear...)

It's difficult to know where to start on this one. There were some encouraging things in Saturday's match, but the depressing things definitely outweighed them. You can view limited highlights (I use the term loosely) here, I'm trying to find the full ones and I'll update the post when I do.

One of the best chances for the Wanderers was scuffed by Gary Cahill, he headed a cross from Matty Taylor right over the bar. The cross itself was a little to high and Cahill did well to get to it at all, it would've been a stunning header had it been on target, but as it is I think he did as well as to be expected. Taylor did not have a good game by his standards, and was largely out of it.

There weren't that many shots on target coming from either side (just 4 each by the end of the game) but Jussi definitely made the best save of the match. Whelan nearly scored off a free kick, but Jaaskelainen dove and pushed the ball wide of goal. One of Delap's infamous throw-ins provided a bit of nail biting for the Wanderers later on, and they were lucky to get away without conceding.

The Kitson goal was (yet) another result of poor defending. Kitson was being marked by Sam Ricketts, and he just sidestepped him to fire into goal. I will say it yet again: our defenders need to mark their men. Megson said "You will not see a worse goal to concede at any level, never mind professional football." Jussi was also at fault here as he was too close to the near post. Had he been a foot to his right be probably could have stopped the shot.

Bolton's best chance of the match (other than the penalty obviously) was a shot by Klasnic, which was deflected by a one handed save by Stoke's newly returned Sorensen. It was definitely a good effort that showed a lot of control from the striker who is showing potential. He didn't get much playing time for Nantes last season, so hopefully a couple games will give him match experience and his instincts will return to him. I think he could bring maybe 8 or 9 goals to Bolton at least.

Bolton have a certain Danny Collins to thank for their point. His incredibly rash and ineffective tackle (if kicking someone in the knee can really be called a tackle) on Ricketts allowed Matty Taylor to convert from the spot. Another lovely penalty from the midfielder sent Sorensen the wrong way and it slotted in. Though it is a bit pathetic that we have won this season are thanks to penalties.

One of the most depressing things about this match was the supposed supporters. Their boos could be heard on the television broadcast of the match and it unarguably brings the atmosphere of the match down and brings the players down. They do have a point, something needs to change at Bolton Wanderers Football Club, something big, I just wish they wouldn't make the point when the players need their support. Right now more than ever the fans need to get behind the club and support, the players need to know that they're playing for something.

Some notes on players: Jaaskelainen, though still a good goalkeeper, is definitely losing it a bit. I reckon he'll only be around for one more season, two tops. His testimonial match during preseason was practically a death warrant. You don't put on a testimonial match for a player who will be with you for a long time to come.

We've definitely been missing Ricardo Gardner and I'm well pleased he's come back. Bolton lifted visibly after he came on. He's always a hard working player and a positive influence on the players around him. He is pure class, and I can't wait for him to (hopefully) start against West Ham on Tuesday.

Like I said earlier, Klasnic shows definite potential. He used to be wonderful for Werder Bremen, and I think he can be wonderful again. However he does need link up players, right now the closest we have are Kevin Davies and Matt Taylor, but they didn't provide him with very much.

Alright that's about all I have for now. It worried me how deflated Bolton looked, especially during the first half and the lack of chances is bad. Without chances you don't get goals (could someone remind Megson of this little fact please? Thanks). Prospects could still change for Bolton, but right now we're looking rather toothless. The coming Carling Cup tie against West Ham is worrying, but I'll address that in my match preview (or my lazy link to someone else's match preview, we'll see). Til then my dear readers.