After what seemed the longest of long international breaks Bolton Wanderers returned to action against bottom of the table Blackpool looking to build on the impressive wins over Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic.
Fans were in confident mood before the game predicting another comfortable win for Bolton however this is the Championship and it is never that straightforward.
Under new manager, Lee Clark, Blackpool have started to improve as they look to catch the twenty three clubs above them in the table. Maybe their chairman now realises that to run a professional football club requires that you pay players to play for the club. Since Clark’s arrival a number of new players have signed, including Chris Eagles, Jamie O’Hara and Jacob Murphy, as Blackpool look to boost the quality of their squad.
Neil Lennon made one forced change to the starting eleven that swept Wigan away two weeks ago with the hapless Mark Davies replaced in midfield by Darren Pratley. Chris Eagles made his first start for his new club against his former employers.
The international break seemed to have done Bolton no favours as they struggled to find any rhythm in the opening exchanges. Both teams traded shots from distance with former white’s favourite Chris Eagles testing Andy Lonergan and Jacob Mellis hitting the bar via a deflection. Bolton had a couple of efforts of their own from Tim Ream and Max Clayton that were dealt with by the Blackpool keeper.
The best effort of the first half was from Chung-Yong Lee who hit the post after the ball was laid off to him on the edge of the box. The less said about Liam Feeney’s follow up the better.
Then came the controversial moment of the match as Blackpool goalkeeper Joe Lewis raced from his goal to foul Craig Davies on the edge of the box. Difficult to say whether the foul took place in the area without seeing slow motion replays, however, Lewis should’ve walked. As is often the case in these situations the referee took the easy option and only booked the keeper.
The second half saw Bolton control possession but without ever really looking like scoring. Jay Spearing was introduced to try and bring a bit more quality to the passing from midfield but he seems to be struggling at the moment to play at the tempo that Lennon is demanding from the team.
Craig Davies flashed a header wide and Joe Mason was introduced as Bolton pushed for a goal. Unfortunately against the run of play Blackpool countered and won a free kick on the edge of the Bolton area. Up stepped and Jacob Murphy and planted a fantastic effort into the top corner.
With Bolton facing an embarrassing defeat it was pleasing to see them regroup and pursue an equalising goal which arrived seven minutes later. The ball falling to CYL in a crowded penalty who made no mistake with a low strike across Joe Lewis.
Again it was an impressive performance from the Korean and he is starting to add goals to his game something that has been missing since suffering his horrific injury. Bolton are now heavily depending on CYL to provide the creativity with Mark Davies missing once again. This was evident on Saturday as the two deeper midfielders, Pratley and Danns, work hard for the team but lack quality on the ball and Bolton missed Davies ability to glide past players and carry the ball into the final third.
In the end the fantastic Bolton following would have come away from the game a little disappointed not to have taken all three points given our recent form. Having fallen behind so close to the end of the game perhaps we can look back on Saturday as a point gained come the end of the season.
Next up is Huddersfield Town and let’s hope Neil Lennon’s Bolton can make it 4/4 at the Macron.
Lonergan, Vela, Ream, Mills, Dervite, Danns, Pratley (Mason, 67), Feeney (Spearing 59), CYL, Clayton (Hall, 87), Davies.
Lewis, Lenihan, Kennedy, Daniels, Clarke, Perkins, Mellis, O’Hara (Orlandi, 24), Eagles (Davies, 72), Murphy, Ranger (Miller, 66).