Bolton came out flying in the first half of this match. Ryo Miyaichi scored his first goal for the club within three minutes, and the away side dominated position in the first half hour. Ryo got on the end of a quickly taken free kick, sprinting past his man rather easily and finishing with a superb curling effort. He was a threat all through the first half, every time he got on the ball you could feel the excitement. Muamba had a very good chance to make it two, but he put it into the stands with his left foot.
The second half was more of a back-and-forth affair, but only Wanderers were able to take adantage before the rains came. David Ngog scored a nice goal from outside the box. The goal was created by Fabrice Muamba, who closed down two Millwall defenders and forced the Lions to give possession away in a bad area. Tuncay Sanli originally picked up the ball, then dropped it off to Ngog, who did the rest. Millwall really went for it the final fifteen minutes, and all credit to them for that. By that point, a soaked pitch and tired legs made things very difficult. Tim Ream was very solid as well, which would make me very worried if my name were Zat Knight.
Bolton must be very pleased to advance, but I think supporters are a little annoyed as well. The return to 4-5-1, and the recall of Fabrice Muamba to the starting XI, makes it even more clear that Owen Coyle's 130 minutes of 4-4-2 fun cost us at least four points, and possibly six. But I digress.
Bolton under Coyle are never going to be a defensive-minded team, and if the club is to be successful, that success will have to come from a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 wins. That said, it is possible to play the attacking style Coyle prefers and still have a solid defensive approach. And in the case of Bolton, the midfield is the key to that approach. When the trio of Muamba, Mark Davies, and Nigel Reo-Coker play together, Bolton dominate the midfield. When you remove one of them, Bolton get dominated in the midfield.
Basically, today was a return to form for Bolton. Hopefully Coyle will realize it and continue to play our best eleven in the best formation for the personnel. Good result, through to the Quarterfinals again, could another trip to Wembley be on the cards?