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Five things we learned: Bolton Wanderers v AFC Bournemouth

After the inevitable departure of hapless Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman, many Wanderers fans were hopeful of the cliché "improved performance" as Andy Hughes took temporary charge in a surprising move by the Wanderers board instead of the popular and much revered Jimmy Phillips

Dan Mullan

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and Eddie Howe's impressive AFC Bournemouth side came out on top as 2-1 winners, despite being reduced to 10 men for large portions of the game. There was plenty to discuss and I will focus on the five things that particularly stood out to on a fascinating afternoon at the Macron Stadium.

1)      Jermaine Beckford

A very disappointing afternoon for the Bolton Wanderers forward as he was unable to capitalise on the opportunity given to him by the Wanderers temporary management set-up.

This was despite quite an encouraging start with a strong emphasis on attempting link-up play with fellow front man Craig Davies and chances were being created with Mark Davies profiting from the added space as Bolton removed their often ineffective number 10 position.

As the game progressed however, the more Beckford once again became disjointed from the rest of his team-mates. This was not for the want of trying as the Jamaican International Striker put a real shift in and began moving wide to receive the ball, although within a rigid 4-4-2 system, this caused more problems than it solved.

His big chance came after a Chung-Yong Lee effort could only be knocked into Beckford's path by Bournemouth's former Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc but Beckford could not beat the goalkeeper before seeing his blushes were spared by a late flag for offside.

2)      Jay Spearing

Jay Spearing and his form since arriving at Bolton Wanderers permanently following his successful loan spell from his native Liverpool have been a debate of this site for some time. The small scouser has seen criticism from large portions of Bolton's social media particularly after pictures emerged of him partying in Ibiza after a one of our many recent defeats.

Saturday was a flashback to the Jay Spearing we all fell for during that loan spell from Liverpool as he thought for every ball, drove Bolton forward with energy and capped it off with as good strike from distance that proved in vain for Bolton.

It really was a captain's performance and perhaps the most encouraging part of a rather mixed afternoon for Bolton.

3)      Misplaced Optimism

Many have been focusing on the positives of yesterday's performance and the general more positive feel of yesterday.

Bolton failed to control the game against an opponent with 10 men at home and deserved to lose the game.

Before the red card that Bournemouth could have no complaints about, they were much on top of the game and enjoying over 60% of the ball and some superb saves from the much-improved Andy Lonergan kept Bolton in the game.

Despite testing the impressive Boruc from distance, Bolton failed to create any meaningful chances and paid for it as the much more clinical Bournemouth were happy to punish to toothless Trotters.

4)      Winter is coming

Relegation is a legitimate concern.

No matter what happens over the coming weeks one thing is certain, Bolton will have a fight on if they are to remain in The Championship this season. The current squad, described by departing manager Dougie Freedman as ‘honest' or ‘dogshit' to you and I, has been short on quality against any side we have come up against and I would be hard pressed to see us added the required quality to stay up.

We can play 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 but poor players are poor players and unless Bolton can really pull something out of the hat, don't be surprised to be facing Bury in the league next season,

5)      The Solution

Hire Neil Lennon.

Perhaps the most underrated manager and man in world football is the ONLY man who can save Bolton and get this team to a position of safety.

Lennon is the ultimate winner in the face of huge adversity and constantly had his Celtic squad not only competing, but beating the very best in the UEFA Champions League, year in, year out.

The personality of the man is exactly what Bolton need to inject some life into this incredibly boring current state.

Neil Lennon is not only a football manager, but a prophet sent from above to save Bolton and guide us to football righteousness.

Do what needs to be done Bolton, whatever it takes.