From Saturday, 29 November to Friday 19 December Bolton Wanderers played four matches and kept four clean sheets. It was a great run and it looked like Neil Lennon had finally solved the defensive problems that had plagued the club since Gary Megson's departure. Over the six matches following that run Wanderers conceded five goals and kept two clean sheets, including the 0-0 FA Cup match against Liverpool at Anfield. The defending was still looking good, but the injuries were starting to pile up.
It was after the first Liverpool match that the wheels fell off. Here are the six matches since that lovely day out in Merseyside:
1. Rotherham United: 4 goals allowed
2. Wolverhampton: 2 goals allowed
3. Liverpool: 2 goals allowed
4. Derby County: 4 goals allowed
5. Fulham: 1 goal allowed
6. Watford FC: 4 goals allowed
That's 17 goals in six matches, almost three per match!
And today! Today was the best yet, a torrid Wanderers comeback, another outstanding display by young Zach Clough, all for naught as we allowed an extra time winner at home.
I know there are a lot of injuries. Losing Matt Mills has hurt, and losing Darren Pratley has really hurt, but these problems can be covered up with organization, cohesion, and mental sharpness. Neil Lennon needs to get the defending sorted out, and he needs to do so quickly. This is the third time in six matches that his side have allowed four goals. The joy of watching youngsters Clough and Josh Vela link up with talented loanees Adam Le Fondre and Saidy Janko can only cover up so much.
The manager has a week before Bolton travel to Nottingham Forest and face former manager Dougie Freedman's struggling side. A loss in that scenario is unthinkable for Bolton supporters. This may be the first real pressure Lennon has faced since taking over at the Macron. We will be watching very closely.