The Crawley Town loss was certainly frustrating. A goal to the good late into the match before giving up two in the last ten minutes to lose it is something that Bolton Wanderers fans have become far too accustomed to. In a response to the cup loss (a game where we weren't bothered about the end result), we wrote in our match report:
The match exposed Bolton in the 4-4-2 formation once again. The men in white controlled the ball much better when playing in the 4-5-1 formation for nearly 70 minutes and maintained a 1-0 lead. It was after the introduction of Kevin Davies and the subsequent switch to a four-man-midfield that Bolton started really losing possession of the ball. The equalizer came from a lose ball in the center of the park.
Today, following an Owen Coyle interview, the frustration only grows.
Speaking to the Bolton News, the manager said of the match:
"We made seven changes and, yes, you lose a bit of cohesion when you do that but we had enough good players to win the game," Coyle said.
"Fair play to Crawley because it was a good atmosphere and they have some good players, but we should have had enough to see it through."
On switch to the 4-4-2 formation late on:
"It didn't change the game because we probably should have scored when we did that," he said.
"We gave them two soft goals - it's nothing to do with formations and tactics. It's players.
"We scored a goal and should have added to it, simple as that."
It has all of the positive spin you would expect from Owen Coyle but saying that the loss is simply on the players is a bit too much. Of course the athletes have a job to do, they are paid to score goals at one end and keep them from going in at the other. Something they have failed to do for much of the last year. Owen Coyle has a job to do to. It's his job to make the substitutions and put the players into a cohesive formation.
Yesterday, Bolton Wanderers were on the back foot for much of the game. They were let off luckily a few times early on (while playing in the 4-5-1) as Crawley broke through the defense and smacked the post on numerous occasions. It all really seemed to go bad when the team switched to four in the midfield and two up front. Bolton suddenly became worse at keeping hold of the ball and, in turn, offered it to Crawley Town on a platter in the midfield.
Keith Andrews spoke up too, taking the Nigel Reo-Coker have-a-dressing-room-talking-too role in an interview with the BBC:
"I thought the first day of the season against Burnley would have been the kick up the back side that we needed. It was certainly an eye-opener for a lot of us.
"Having played in this league before and played lower-league football, you've got to come to places and do the ugly side of the game first.
"It can't just be three, four or five players. It needs to be the whole team winning their individual battles. Then with the talent that we have, we should be able to play from there."