A lot was made of Bolton Wanderers' disheartening loss against Nottingham Forest last weekend and rightfully so. The defense looked inept at best at the City Ground last Saturday, practically gifting Forest three unmarked goals with the opener coming at the two minute mark. If one thing is certain about that performance, it's that the Trotters have to improve in just about every area of their play. What if it doesn't matter in the end? What if the 3-0 loss at Nottingham Forest was just a blip on the radar?
Last season, Bolton Wanderers were riding a decent wave of form under Dougie Freedman, having lost just once in nine games in a stretch of games from the start of November to just before Christmas. Three days before the holiday, the Trotters took a trip down to London road to face a not-at-all-fancied Peterborough United. That match was more or less a complete shambles with Bolton ultimately losing a wild 5-4 affair.
Peterborough went 2-0 up in the first six minutes before Keith Andrews pulled a goal back from the penalty spot on the stroke of halftime. Posh scored on the other side of the break to restore the two goal lead and some ten minutes after that, Andrews stepped up to the spot again to bring it back to 3-2. The home side would score twice more before the 83rd minute and all looked lost for Bolton. Then, late substitute Benik Afobe scored to give Wanderers a tiny bit of home with Martin Petrov pulling the match within one just two minutes after the Arsenal loanee's goal and three minutes from time. That was the last of the action though and Wanderers walked out without a point thanks to a very sloppy start and poor defense.
It was very much deja vu against Nottingham Forest, albeit against much tougher opposition. An early goal and overall sloppy defending doomed the Trotters nearly from the off. The difference was a distinct lack of firepower at the City Ground, which was a complete departure from the four goals at London Road last year.
After the Peterborough away match last season, Bolton would lose only two of their next 12 matches, buoyed by the addition of Craig Dawson to the defense. They would win six (including five on the bounce) and draw four in what was a massive step towards playoff contention.
Yes, the Nottingham Forest loss should serve as a wake-up call for Wanderers but, at this point, what if it is just a blip on the radar?