After 35 minutes on Saturday, Bolton Wanderers found themselves 2-0 down in a must-win match at home to Blackpool. The starting lineup that Dougie Freedman put out raised questions from the fans as the three changes, some necessary, others not, were not what was expected.
Tim Ream started the match ahead of David Wheater following Craig Dawson's return to West Bromwich Albion. Wheater had only played short substitute minutes following a return from a knee injury while Tim Ream had become ever-present on the bench and had started a few straight matches ahead of Dawson's arrival.
Robert Hall was introduced for Josh Vela and played on the wing, pushing Chris Eagles into the center, just behind Craig Davies, the lone striker. Davies was there in place of Marvin Sordell, who had started the Cardiff City match. Sordell had been largely ineffective against Cardiff but not all of that was his own doing as support going forward was lacking to say the least.
Two minutes after Blackpool scored their second goal, it had become increasingly clear that the eleven men on the pitch were not working well together and Dougie Freedman admitted his mistake. On the 37 minute mark, Freedman introduced Sordell, taking out Rob Hall, and changing the game. Wanderers suddenly found the drive and in first-half added time, Chris Eagles and Craig Davies scored to level matters.
Speaking to the Bolton News after the match, Dougie Freedman stuck by his starting choices and elaborated on the lineup changes:
"They controlled midfield and of late, especially at home, if we can get two in there and our front four on the ball a bit quicker then maybe we could hurt them," he said. "But it backfired on us. Some people can't act on information so you have got to change it and maybe make it more simple.
"It was a difficult day but we kept on going for the win. We pegged them right back which was credit to us after being 2-0 down. We could easily have given up. But our spirit got us back in the game and we had a couple of chances.
"Then you get the news from the other end which is difficult to take."
Bolton Wanderers would ultimately miss out on the play-offs thanks to a last-ditch goal from Anthony Knockaert (into an open net) on goal difference alone.