This is the life of a Bolton Wanderers fan. Just as things started to really look up, a string of good results with decent performances to boot, a game like this happens. One bad result and Bolton are back in the bottom 3 with the second worst goal difference in the league, even worse than Blackburn who were beat by a 6 goal margin today. Bolton did not manage to score today, nor did they manage to put together a consecutive 5 minutes of competent play. This game is not the end of the world, but it definitely feels like.
The entire first half was a fairly nervy one. Norwich started out strong and showed no signs of slowing down, while the Bolton defense, notably Zat Knight and David Wheater, struggled to stop the onslaught. Adam Bodgan was put to work early, making his first save, albeit a comfortable one, in the first minute. In the 13th Grant Holt came close with a volley from 12 yards, but luckily Bogdan was in form. Holt continued to terrorise the Wanderers for the rest of the half. Even the bad luck for the Canaries of losing both of their first choice central defenders inside of 40 minutes to injury wasn't enough to give the Wanderers a boost. By the 35 minute mark I was waiting for the whistle. Goalless at halftime was a scoreline that really flattered the Wanderers.
That second half started better in that finally John Ruddy, the Norwich keeper, had to make a save. Bolton won a corner, which Martin Petrov took. His ball found David Ngog, whose shot was parried by Ruddy. Chris Eagles nearly picked up the rebound, but once again Ruddy came out best. A few minutes later Owen Coyle subbed Kevin Davies on for Fabrice Muamba, which at the time seemed a good tactical move. This switched the Wanderers from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 in the hopes that Kevin Davies' physicality would give the White Men a little more effectiveness at the top.
Bolton did wake up a little bit, and while they by no means looked like the team that held Arsenal to a goalless draw, they were making attacks. The match opened up and Norwich looked slightly vulnerable, but in the 70th minute when Andrew Surman put the ball in the back of the net, the visitors reverted to their previous game. Anthony Pilkington scored the second 15 minutes later, and the match was all over from their. Both goals were off serious defensive mistakes.
In stark contrast to the midweek match, it's difficult to pick out a player that did have a good game. The timing is heart breaking, just as Bolton's season finally seemed to be picking up. It should be noted that it is just February and Bolton are just 1 point from 16th place. It was not a fun loss, but is not the end of the season either. Keep the faith.