Bright & Hove Albion was always going to be a tough test despite the fact that they would be missing the likes of Leonardo Ulloa, Craig Mackail-Smith, and new fan favorite Keith Andrews. It started so well for the Trotters before the script came back into play, the self destruct button was hit, and a gutless, weak, and passionless Bolton Wanderers side gave up.
The strikers still are not scoring. That's eight matches in a row without a goal from a forward. Bolton scored once in this one and went into the half leading but the goal did not come from a striker or a Bolton man at all. Still, a goal was a goal and Bolton were buoyed for a little bit. The fans were talking about the possibility of three points and even the elusive away clean sheet.
Then came the halftime break and it all changed.
Brighton came out like a whole city on fire and did what the Trotters simply could not all season: putting their opposition to the sword. It took all of four minutes for the Seagulls to pick the Trotters apart. They equalized through an own goal that glanced off the head of Jay Spearing. Then, Inigo Calderon fired home from the inside of the area to take the lead. Finally, Will Buckley cut in from the flank and curled well past Bogdan to stick the dagger in.
It all seems so inevitable at this point. Eight matches, no wins, and no goals from any of the strikers. The defense can't defend, the midfield can't do anything going forward or protect the back, and the forwards have been utterly useless, service provided or not.
For the rest of the match, the Trotters did not look like scoring. There were chances but none of them really tested Tomasz Kuszczak or the Brighton defense. Bolton Wanderers are bottom of the league with barely a whimper let out.
Something has to give but the question is what. Will sacking the manager and if so, how much? The problems with Bolton Wanderers are deep and they are quickly forming a canyon between where the club is and where it needs to be. Perhaps the answer is investment. Maybe Eddie Davies needs to make some funds available for the loan market. Then again, that could provide another Danny Butterfield and Steve De Ridder. Is there a short-term solution that could stem the flow? They had better find one and find one quickly.
The issue is that the problems are not easily identified. They are not few and far between. They are everywhere.