While I have not made a comprehensive check through the archives to check this, I'm fairly sure that I have yet to write about a win this season. As such, I'm a little lost. I'm not positive as to what feelings you're supposed to be feeling after coming away with not only a win, but a win after going a goal down. That's the strangest part. We didn't just nick a lucky 3 points, we actually played for 3 points. I don't know who this Bolton team that showed a little fire an spirit was, but I liked them. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Despite all that glowing praise, it wasn't the best first half from the Trotters. The visitors were lucky not to concede early one when Zat Knight practically teed up Louis Saha in front of goal. Adam Bogdan, who took the place of the absent Jussi Jaaskelainen, put in a mostly solid display, although he is by no means ready to take on the gloves full time. At the other end, David Ngog was to have the best chance of the half for Bolton, though Tim Howard managed to save the Frenchman's chip, made possible by a ball from Nigel Reo-Coker who opportunistically pounced on Howard's poor clearance, with relative ease. The halftime whistle blew, and neither team had the advantage or looked like they deserved it.
Bolton came out of the gates in the second half, putting more pressure on Howard and even managing to string together a few passes in the process. Mark Davies had a good chance after a tricky run through the box, but once again Howard parried. Shortly after, Ngog once again tested the Yank, drawing a fantastic save from him with another nice shot. It seemed only a matter of time until Bolton scored, and then something you really don't see very often happened. Tim Howard, arguably Everton's most important player thus far, scored a goal.
The goalkeeper took what at first looked to be a run of the mill clearance, but the wind carried it on and on until it bounced a few yards outside of the box and soared into the net. And for once, it was impossible to find a Bolton player at fault for the goal. But the freak incidents didn't stop there. Instead of the usual crumble-and-collapse routine Bolton fans have become accustomed to watching after conceding, Bolton fought back, and I don't want to get too carried away, but they looked rather good doing it. Just 4 minutes later Ngog picked up the ball inside the box, dodged around blue shirts and sent the ball past Howard in what was really a lovely finish. It was on.
In the 78th minute Gary Cahill, captain on the day in what may well be his last match in a Bolton shirt, put the Trotters ahead. Chris Eagles picked up the ball on the edge of the box after Howard punched it away, skinned his man and picked up Cahill inside the box, who then sent it decisively into the left hand corner of the net. The remaining minutes of the match are some of the nerviest this season, including a freekick by Leighton Baines that hit the Bolton bar. But the men in white saw it through, and return from their trip to Mersey with a precious 3 points.
The best part of this match was not the win itself, but the comeback. Too often this season, the team that played with so much heart last season has capitulated after going a goal down. We've had many false starts this season, the 4-0 opening day win against QPR, the derby win over Wigan, the beautiful 5-0 revenge slaughtering of Stoke, but this feels different. Just when I was beginning to lose hope, when I was beginning to consider the Championship, the Trotter pull this out of the bag. We are by no means out of the woods yet, as we've learned one good result does not a season make, and we're still in the bottom 3, but it's starting to look like there's a light somewhere.