clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Immediate Reaction: Bolton Wanderers v Nottingham Forest

New, comments

WARNING: I'm feeling a bit positive, be wary if you're feeling negative.

Getty Images

Well, that's a bit better, ain't it?

What first struck me about the game was that we had finally lined up in the shape we play best in - a 442 diamond. I was delighted to see it return as it's the formation that best fits the players we have: it allows for Spearing to concentrate on what he's supposed to be doing - winning the ball in the middle then passing it off to the players either side of him; it means we have a player behind the strikers who can support them in attacks, Danns made a spirited effort, but once M Davies is back we will see the real benefits of it; and it means we can play two strikers upfront whilst still having a line of midfielders which can get up and down the pitch.

My one issue is that Medo is not suited to playing on the left or right side, which ever side he was on left an exposed fullback as he was dragged inside and then due to the lack of width meant there was no attacking option there, and even if there was, it would have been Medo.

Truth be told, Pratley should have started there, as that's the position he played for that short time in which he was good.

I thought we played quite well in the first half of the game, we showed fight and spirit, which was a far cry from the previous two games we've had to endure. And we looked dangerous in stages too, with Danns, Lee, Mason and even Craig Davies, all seemingly working well together. But, as ever, a lack of some real cutting edge and an unfathomably stupid decision meant we went in at half time level, but things were promising.

The second half we completely fell away, Forest dominated the ball for nearly all of the 45 minutes, with Andy Reid pulling the strings in midfield and the likes of Jack Hunt and Chris Burke being a constant threat down the wing. Our tactic to deal with this pressure was to constantly hoof up the ball to our strikers, who were unable to even win the ball, let alone hold it up. So the red shirts continued to press forward in a menacing fashion.

It was clear from the first ten minutes of the half that that's what was happening, but Freedman was reluctant to change anything when it was desperately needed to combat the Forest onslaught.

When auld Dougie finally made a change they were uninspiring, like-for-like changes, which didn't really change anything at all. The game was begging for Liam Feeney to be introduced and having him on the pitch would have given us an actual outlet to get forward with the ball.

So that was disappointing, but should have been expected in hindsight. He played for the point in the second half, and I can't really blame him.

What was encouraging about the second half performance however, was how well the backline defended. With the constant barrage of red shirts raining down, it would have been very characteristic of Bolton to let their heads drop and concede, but, to their credit, they dug in deep, kept battling and didn't allow Forest that many sights on goal. David Wheater and Kevin McNaughton were both particularly excellent.

So, to conclude, that game was a massive improvement and I walked out of the ground feeling a lot more positive than when I went in. We still need to bring attacking players in and some one still needs to get into Freedman's ear and tell him when changes are needed, but it was encouraging, by no means the best performance in the world, but encouraging.

No doubt we'll be straight back to square one after Tuesday night now, but it's nice to have some positivity when we can.

Oh, and a special mention to the half time entertainment. Football is 1000000% better in zorb ball suits.