With a Premier League side visiting the Reebok Stadium Dougie Freedman named an extremely respectful side. Wanderers' starting XI featured three changes from the 7-1 Sky Bet Championship mauling at Reading as Chris Eagles, Medo Kamara and Craig Davies replaced Mark Davies, Darren Pratley and Swansea transfer target David Ngog, who was not part of the squad - reports are that he's currently in south Wales. The first half was poor as both teams cancelled each other out. Due to the worn pitch and surging winds neither side was able to get in a rhythm nor create any clear-cut chances. The most notable event of the first half was the presence of Manchester United manager David Moyes who judging by his body language wasn't enjoying the tie either.
The game only properly kicked off in the second half as Solskjær introduced former Sunderland and Manchester United striker Fraizer Campbell. The first genuine chance of the game fell to Campbell as the usually reliable Andy Lonergan gifted him his 5th goal of the season. Lonergan failed to deal with what seemed a routine catch as he let the ball slip out of his grasp as he landed. This set Campbell up and he slotted the ball home from an acute angle. This set-back failed to change the game significantly although the Wanderers started to come back and tested the Bluebirds' keeper David Marshall on numerous occasions. The Welsh keeper was in fine form as he made crucial saves to deny Neil Danns and Alex Baptiste. The game eventually fizzled out as Bolton failed to provide any entertainment or excitement.
Although Freedman insists he's building something and trying to change our style of play I can't see any changes, I can't even remember us stringing together a set of passes today. We constantly played route 1 football hoofing the ball up to Craig Davies (who wasn't injured for a change). This was ineffective and summed up a very poor performance although Freedman seems to be satisfied from what he saw. He said this earlier in the post match interview to the club's official website
"Going forward we created three or four half chances so we've got to try and take those. That's a little bit disappointing.
"At half time Cardiff changed things up in an attempt to try and break us down. They were able to bring on two very good attacking players in Fraizer Campbell and Craig Noone. That was probably the difference today, when we got in and around their box we just didn't quite have the quality to properly work their goalkeeper.''
"Unfortunately, we made one error at the back and that was the only thing we really did wrong all game. I feel that was what proved decisive.''
Andy Lonergan's mistake today in the 50th minute throws the goalkeeping debate wide open again. Adam Bogdan has been deemed fit again since recovering from his thigh injury and has already played a full game against Leicester City's reserves. After conceding 7 away at Reading and making the decisive mistake today should Lonergan be dropped?
The Wanderers have a quick turnaround and find themselves in action in just 3 days time playing away at Loftus Road. Dougie Freedman will have to pick his squad up again as they attempt to beat QPR at Loftus Road, something which hasn't been done very often this season. We're still sitting dangerously in 18th place and are just 4 points off the relegation zone, some could argue that this is one less distraction and we can concentrate on our 'relegation battle,' either way it's looking unlikely that we'll make another trip down to Wembley anytime soon.