It all started so brightly for Bolton Wanderers. Early in the match at Wolverhampton on Saturday, Bolton were enjoying the majority of possession and even created a few chances. Craig Davies had a tame effort from just inside the box saved, and Jay Spearing hit one with power and pace from about 25 yards out that was deflected just wide of Wolves' goal.
Possession shifted as the first half moved along, with Wolves eventually keeping the ball much better. Despite the pressure, Bolton's defense seemed to be holding firm. But that could only last for so long, sooner or later the old cracks would begin to show. Dean Moxey, who has been poor since assigning fro Crystal Palace, barged into a Wolves attacker in the box. No penalty was given, luckily, but it was clumsy at best. A cross field ball was misplayed by Tim Ream, leaving a Wolves player to run into the box and create a very good shot. The goal seemed inevitable, and it finally came on the 44th minute.
Moxey got a slight deflection on the cross, which actually took all the venom out of it and should have led to an easy take for Andy Lonergan. But Lonergan didn't come for it, neither central defender jumped, and the Wolves striker was able to hop, hit a glancing header, and watch it slowly bounce into the net for a 1-0 lead. It was a level of defending that would not be acceptable from schoolboys, never mind seasoned professionals.
Bolton played much better in the second half. They put Wolves back line under quite a bit of pressure. Finally, substitute Jermaine Beckford was given some space wide on the left. He made a good run into the box, went down under another clumsy challenge, and the penalty was given. Then, for some reason, Owen Garvan took the ball, and set it down on the penalty spot.
Now, Bolton have had trouble taking penalties in recent times. To be honest, we haven't had a penalty taker I really trusted since Gary Speed. I would not have had a high level of confidence win any Bolton player on the pitch to take the penalty. But there were four or five players I would have definitively not let take the penalty kick. Garvan definitely fell into that category. And his shot was poor. Close to the keeper, and at chest level, an easy save. But then Garvan had a bit of luck. The rebound came right back to him. The keeper was still laying on the ground after the save. The goalmouth was gaping. And Garvan proceeded to hit it with no power, right at the keeper. Again, the keeper was laying on the ground. Terrible.
Bolton created a few more chances after that, most notably a beautiful through ball played by Beckford which led to a good shot from Feeney and forced a very impressive save from the Wolverhampton keeper. It was a gallant effort late, but overall, another performance that deserved zero points, and earned zero points. Not the momentum Dougie Freedman would have wanted going into next week's Capital One Cup match versus Chelsea.