As I wrote in the preview, this was a weekend of opportunity for Bolton. The club have declined to take most of the opportunities they have been presented this season, would today be any different? You can find out below in my very cynical match report.
Bolton started out very well in the first half. Then they quickly pissed it all away. Bolton were well on top for the first twenty minutes, but only managed one goal. After they scored, Bolton's players decided to take a break and let their egos play for a while. They get ahead and think they are Barcelona. Of course Sunderland dominated the rest of the first half, eventually equalizing when Wanderers defenders tried to play the ball out of the back when outnumbered. Jack Colback played a nice ball, but possession was gifted to him before that.
Bolton came out in the second half and looked better for a minute or two. That was quickly halted by one of the stupidest challenges you will ever see from Kevin Davies, who has made a career of stupid challenges. He can put this one right on his mantle of idiocy though. James McClean scored from the resulting free kick. It all looked lost at that point. But our makeshift left back had something to add.
Samuel Ricketts was not a factor for most of the match. He put in what looked like a relatively harmless cross. Yet for some unknown reason, Sunderland declined to mark Kevin Davies, who was the only Bolton player in the box. Surprisingly, Davies was able to finish, his second goal of the match. After that Bolton managed to get a foothold, but were always leaving themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack. The attacks fizzled in the final ten minutes, usually because Bolton did not seem to be bothered with keeping possession. Klasnic had a chance or two, but nothing really clear-cut.
While a point is not the worst thing in the world, it is not the best either. One of the common refrains we have heard from Owen Coyle and the players is that we control our own destiny. We are in the position, mostly because of our game-in-hand, that if we get the points, it won't matter what the other clubs do in their matches. Thanks to today's result, that advantage is just about lost. The only chance we have of maintaining it is to beat Spurs on Wednesday. That's just not a very likely result. So that is where we are. Going into the last two weeks of the season. Needing results, and scoreboard watching.