It was a very depressing day for Bolton Wanderers at the City Ground. Not only were we spanked by Dougie Freedman's resurgent Nottingham Forest side, but we lost three players to injury, two looking very serious with the players having to leave the field on a stretcher.
Forest started the game brightly and the floodgates were opened in the eighth minute when, at the second attempt, Chris Burke stuck the ball into the goal to give his team the lead. A short while later, Michail Antonio, who was a constant menace throughout the game, carried the ball from the half way line, brushed off some weak challenges and smashed the ball past Lonergan. Bolton, to my greatest surprise, actually reacted to going two goals down well, and did start playing a bit better, even if Forest looked as if they'd score whenever they came forward. We got a lifeline on the brink of half time when Zach Clough danced into the box and was tripped, Le Fondre stepped up and hit the penalty down the middle.
It was the perfect time to pull a goal back and we certainly could have done something in the second half, well, that was until Mills blew all chances of a comeback when he stupidly picked up a second booking with only a few minutes gone. The dismissal saw the recently introduced Emile Heskey moved to the centre of defence and was the catalyst in Forest dominating the remainder of the proceedings.
Andy Lonergan then was judged to have fouled Blackstock in the box, even though he was knocked completely unconscious in the process and left the field on a stretcher. Lansbury scored the penalty and that was game over. Forest really could have gone on to score a further five goals, but they settled on a modest one with Chris Burke doubling his tally for the game three minutes later.
Forest went on to control the game until the dick head of a referee finally blew the final whistle, with Forest winning the game four goals to one.
Here's how the players rated.Warning, they're low..
Andy Lonergan - 5
Made a couple of really good stops, but could have done better on both goals. That doesn't really matter, however, as he was knocked unconscious in the process of him somehow giving away a penalty. He's been taken to hospital and we're all hoping he's okay.
Tim Ream - 5
Playing in a very unfamiliar right back position and up against the lightning quick and unstopably powerful Michail Antonio, things were never going to end well. Ream struggled to contend with the winger, as Antonio run him ragged. But, much like Lonergan, it matter little as Ream also left the pitch on a stretcher. Colliding with the post whilst defending a corner and seemingly suffering a concussion as he lay in the goalmouth, we also with him a speedy recovery.
Matt Mills - 3
I imagine we were all happy when we saw Mills name on the team sheet, after he's been missing for a few weeks due to injury. However, the calming influence we all presumed he'd bring back to the defence was no where to be seen as Mils was reckless in his tackling and was incredibly foolish when he picked up his second booking only two minutes into the second half. His dismissal put an end to any chance we had at get back into the game.
Dorian Dervite - 4
The defender's form has nose dived massively in recent weeks, and a full on crash is not far away. His positioning was rancid, as he was continuously dragged around the pitch by Forest's strike force, he was clumsy in his tackling and he appears to have lost his confidence on the ball. I really hope he regains his form soon.
Filip Twardzik - 3
I imagine Twardzik was hoping his full debut for the club would go better than that it. Thrusted into the side at left back, a position in which the last time he played in scored an own goal for Celtic, and he didn't fair any better here. Up against the skilful and agile Chris Burke, he was constantly beaten out on the left. The Czech also slipped in the build up to the Forest opener, allowing the men in red shirts to pour into the box unposed. Left the field at half time due to a thigh injury.
Liam Feeney - 5
In the first half when Forest were dominating the game, Feeney was our one attacking threat down the right wing as he tried to push the team forward. However, he was soon moved to right back where he played a steady, but forgettable, game.
Josh Vela - 4
I'm yet to be convinced by Vela in centre midfield. I can now fully understand why Lennon has opted to mostly implement the youngster at right back this season, as he just isn't strong enough to play in the middle of the park. He's easily barged off the ball and struggles to contend with a combative midfield. He must bulk up and improve his core strength if he is to play in his favoured position. His passing was also very sloppy on Saturday too.
Neil Danns - 3
Danns' form has completely evaporated. He's been one of our most important players since Neil Lennon has arrived at the club, but in recent weeks he's gone right off the boil. He's become clumsy and tentative on the ball, his passing has gone wayward and isn't as solid defensively as he has been. I'd like to see Danns dropped with Simeon Slavchev getting a run out in the next few games.
Barry Bannan - 6
Relatively new signing Barry Bannan played alright out on the left. He looked good on the ball whenever he had it, showing several nice pieces of skill, and he put in many dangerous crosses - alas, nobody was on hand to make the most of them.
Zach Clough - 6
The one bright spark in an other wise dour game, Clough was the one player threatened for Bolton and continued to attack even though the game was more than lost. He got us something out of nothing when he danced his way into the box and won a penalty, which led to our one goal of the game. It's quite scary just how much reliance we've already placed onto this man's young shoulders, but make no mistake, the rest of our season relies on how well Clough plays.
Adam Le Fondre - 5
It was yet another quiet game for Le Fondre, although he calmly tucked away the penalty, he saw very little of the ball for the rest of the game. However, I don't blame him for that at all. Le Fondre is a striker who is only as good as his service, and when our players can never get the ball into him, he will not score. Simple. If we are to use Le Fondre as effectively as possible throughout his time here, then we must improve the service we supply him.
Dean Moxey - 3
I was a little annoyed prior to the game that Moxey didn't start in left back ahead of Twardzik, but after that showing I kinda hope that he doesnt play again. He was shaky in defence through out, and the peak of his on the ball ability was smashing the it out of play. His remarkably stupid decision to awkwardly head the ball back to Lonergan led to Forest's penalty and Lonergan being stretchered off.
Emile Heskey - 5
Making his long awaited return from injury, coming on to add some ariel threat upfront for the Wanderers, I don't think any of us expected to see where Heskey actually ended up. After Mills was shown a red card, Lennon opted to move the big striker back into the centre of the defence to act as Mills replacement. Whilst it was quite funny to witness, I hope we never have to suffer through it again. It'd be harsh to slate him too much, but he wasn't very good and was especially suspect for Forest' fourth, when he struggled to battle off opposing players.
Ben Amos - 6
Was introduced in the second half to replace the injured Lonergan. Although the Manchester United loanee conceded two goals, there was little he could have done about either and he did actually put in a good showing, making a couple of smart stops. At least we will have half-capable hands between the sticks whilst we await for the return of our other goalkeepers.