That's a bit better now, isn't it?
I've got to admit, I wasn't confident at all going into this game. A combination of last weeks poor showing, a stressful week in terms of transfers and just an overall sour feeling in my stomach, meant I just did not see us coming away with a victory.
How foolish was I?
Bolton Wanderers flew out of the traps, with Liam Feeney putting the team ahead after just two minutes. He was found in acres of space by the further forward, and still impressive, Josh Vela, and he slotted home past Kieron Westwood. Then on the 25th minute, despite the snow and the rain, that man Darren Pratley was up to his tricks again. He flicked the ball over the head of a defender and fired in past the goalkeeper, to double the Whites' lead.
The two goal lead didn't last long, however, as three minutes later a penalty was awarded to Wednesday when Nuhiu and Maguire were both upended in the box. The latter calmly dispatched the penalty past Lonergan, and the rest of the game was a scrappy affair with Bolton some how managing to hold on and some how managing to not further their advantage.
It was a whirlwind game that could have gone either way and, I think it's pretty safe to presume, wouldn't have gone our way when another certain manager was in charge of things.
But, thankfully, under Neil Lennon we are now a much harder team to beat, and the players epitomised that today with a dogged, determined and industrious performance. Pratley and Neil Danns were stalwarts in the midfield, running themselves into the ground and giving solid cover to the defence by winning the ball countless times. The 3/5 man defence dug in deep and defended valiantly, with Matt Mills' excellent block from Baker at point-blank range being an ultimate example. The rest of the team didn't shy away from the effort either, with all of them doing their bit to get us over the line.
There's one man I'd like to point out though, and his name is Josh Vela. Bolton fans have been calling for him to be put into his native midfield ever since he was introduced at right back, and he didn't let us down. He shined playing as the more attacking midfielder with in a three and was constantly involved in Wanderers' attacks. Linking the midfield with the strike force so they were never isolated in the fairly alien 3-5-2 formation. This kid really is special.
Speaking of the 3-5-2; isn't it so refreshing to have a manager who will choose a team, formation, tactics on a week-by-week basis, rather than stubbornly stick to a rigid regime? Lennon's tactical flexibility should be praised to high heavens, as it's what won us the game today. The added height and physicality of the likes of David Wheater and Davies surely aided us against the very physically imposing Wednesday side. With the game being as direct and scrappy as predicted, the move to sacrifice a body in the middle, in favour of another at the back, also proved genius.
As I said, even though Bolton were lucky to hold on at times (they even had a goal incorrectly given as offside), we also should have scored plenty more goals than we did. Craig Davies in particular squandered many chances. This has been our problem for far too long now, and I'm by now means revolutionary in pointing it out, but we really do need a goal scorer. As useful as our other strikers are in other aspects of their game, none of them are reliable enough to score a chance when needed most.
But lets not get all bogged down in negativity after such a good result! Bolton currently sit in 14th, with the play offs still, just about, with in our grasp. Just look at what Lennon has been able to do so far with only Eidur and Heskey signed, and missing so many important attacking players! It may not be this year, but if Lennon is able to shape his own team, I have no doubt we'll be seriously competing in no time.
Next up, 5,500 of us will travel to Liverpool for what is destined to be a great day at Anfield, no matter the result. It'll of course be, however, the greatest day in history when Emile Heskey capitalises on a Steven Gerrard slip and dinks the ball over a desperate goalkeeper.
Or something like that.