You couldn't ask for much more from a cup tie really. In spite of the fact that Macclesfield Town is all the way down in League Two, it was a fairly entertaining match, complete with a wonder goal from Arnaud Mendy and an unlikely goal from David Wheater (lord of the chins). While Bolton didn't come away with a win, it wasn't entirely embarrassing which is as much as Bolton fans can really hope for these days. Owen Coyle was less impressed.
"We started the game well, got in front and really we should have put our foot down at that point. Credit to Macclesfield and how they approached today's game because they were positive and looked to get forward as often as they could. They scored a wonder goal to take the lead and it had to be a strike like that because Adam Bogdan was terrific again today. But from that moment on we had wave after wave of attacks, passing and moving the ball and creating plenty of opportunities."
He's right that the Whites should have put the game to bed, but at the same time, but this is not the first time this season things didn't go as they should for Bolton. Especially when it comes to injuries, although not everyone will be complaining. Jussi Jaaskelainen's recent thigh injury has given his Hungarian understudy a chance to shine, and a few freak goals aside Adam Bogdan has done quite well.
"It wasn't easy because the pitch was heavy, the lights are not the best and it's a different kind of ball to the one we play with every week... The aim was to win the game and go through.It should have been the same thing as we did at Everton to win the game but it didn't happen. But these are valuable experiences...The main thing is to be focused and do your job, and that keeps you out of trouble. Taking them back to the Reebok will be great. But I enjoy playing in these [smaller] stadiums and games as well. The surroundings make it a real cup tie like the ones we always heard about in Hungary."
Another young'un, Joe Riley, also got his shot in the cup.
"It was quite a hard game on Saturday but it was a good 90 minutes for me. I tried to get stuck in and do the ugly bit of football, especially with the conditions. It was only my second game away from home so it was a learning experience for me. I enjoyed playing in front of a good atmosphere that was created. I've just got to keep knocking at the door and if I get an opportunity again then I've got to make the most and take the chance given to me...We showed character, like we did against Everton to come back after going behind. We will need more of that in the rest of the season as we try to move up the league table."
And hopefully the team can find more of that character, because Riley is right, we really need it.