Another Saturday, another disappointing Bolton loss. Once again the Men in White were just not good enough. This time, instead of conceding a dubious penalty, they were awarded one, which Chris Eagles promptly missed. Which really, is pretty much the game in a nutshell.
The first half put on show everything that has been wrong with Bolton this season. And it must be said, while I've tried to remain calm and reasonable about the Owen Coyle situation, that 45 minutes was a pretty good case for his sacking. Bolton made a sloppy start, as per usual, but there was no perking up around the 20th minute this time. Millwall made their intent known early, and got the ball into the back of the net less than 10 minutes in. Danny Shittu, disturbingly unmarked, rose high and headed the ball home, but thankfully the goal was called back by the referee.
This did not dampen the Lions' spirits and they actually score on the 17th minute. Darius Henderson's shot from just outside the penalty area somehow found it's way through a mess of defenders, and while Adam Bogdan managed to get to the ball, he badly misjudged it and it snuck under him.
The rest of the half is a bit of a blur from the Wanderers perspective. The lack of tenacity in possession was in full effect, and many times Millwall had no trouble getting the ball back. The visitors did not manage to put together another convincing attack until Chris Eagles forced David Forde into a very good save. The home side went into the break with the lead.
In what is perhaps even more cruel than the traditional post-half time collapse, Bolton actually showed signs of life on the other side of the break. Chris Eagles looked to once again be the Wanderers' saviour as he brought the club level in the 50th minute. You should always fancy his chances with a free kick just outside the penalty box, although this time he did something particularly brilliant with it. He smuggled the ball underneath the wall, which of course blinded Forde giving him no chance. That was the high point of the match from a Trotters' perspective.
Ten minutes later, Eagles had the chance to take the lead. He was brought down in the penalty area, earning a rare penalty in Bolton's favour, much to the displeasure of the crowd at the Den. The man himself stepped up to take it, but with the boos ringing out around him, he ballooned the shot over the crossbar. If Bolton's best player couldn't save the day, no one was going to.
The rest of the match passed without much event, until the 90th minute, when Henderson put Bolton's chances and quite possibly Owen Coyle's job to bed. Henderson's shot was once again low, and went into the bottom corner. In a fairly inexplicable move, Colye brought Chung-Yong Lee on for Jay Spearing in the 91st minute, obviously far too late to help Bolton's chances. Five minute of stoppage came and went, and the Bolton Wanderers lost their 3rd match in 6 games.
Ultimately, football exists because of the fans. We buy the merchandise, attend the matches, found the websites, set aside time every week to listen to or watch the match. Without us, they would just be another group of men, kicking a ball around the pitch. While a well run club by no means bows to the fans, there does come a point where it might be prudent to listen to them. And the fans know that something inside Bolton Wanderers Football Club isn't working.