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Five Things: Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

Here are the five things Dan took away from another bitterly disappointing Bolton Wanderers game.


On the same week as Chris Eagles scored an unforgettable last minute winner to defeat Blackburn Rovers two years ago, Bolton Wanderers got a taste of their own medicine as Blackburn inflicted revenge by grabbing a last gasp winner of their own.

Here are my five, occasionally sombre, observations from Wednesday night's game under the Ewood Park floodlights.

1 - Another. Last. Minute. Goal.

It's becoming a bit of a joke now.

Jordan Rhodes' last minute winner, which came after him spending 90 minutes of floundering to the floor after the slightest of touches from a fella half his bulking size, was the fifth time in ten games we've conceded a last minute goal. It's embracing, it's unacceptable, and I have no idea why it keeps happening.

We all know we're the unluckiest team in the entire world, but conceding late on with such regularity is hardly coincidental. So it has to be one of two things: either the players fitness levels aren't high enough or they aren't mentally tough enough to keep concentration and grind out points. I don't want to accuse the players of these things, as they're pretty basic requirements of being a footballer, but what other excuses are there?

You simply just can't leave one of the division's most deadliest strikers unmarked in the six yard box in the last minute of the game. It's suicidal. This trend of late goals NEEDS to be dealt with, or we may sleepwalk our way into a relegation fight.

2 - Paddy McCarthy is pretty good

The on-loan Crystal Palace defender was brought in earlier this week in light of the potentially season ending injury to David Wheater.

I imagine most Bolton fans presumed McCarthy would be joining only as cover and that Dorian Dervite would undeservedly retake his first team spot, however, that wasn't to be the case as McCarthy was given his debut instead.

The experienced 31 year old has suffered a lot of injuries in recent years and I, as a person who didn't follow his career all too closely, thought that he wasn't very good anymore. Well, as ever, I was very much wrong. McCarthy was excellent at the back against Blackburn, his experience and leadership shined through as he was constantly giving orders and direction to his fellow defenders and he won pretty much everything in the air.

McCarthy is very limited on the ball, but this leads to him being an extremely no-nonsense defender, there is absolutely no pussy-footing about with the ball at the back with him, as he just sticks his foot through it and gets it away.

I also thought he was surprisingly quick too, he wasn't Usain Bolt or anything, but he was quick enough to stick with attackers and make important tackles. I hope we see more of McCarthy in the near future.

3 - Dean Moxey might be our best winger

I was quite surprised when I saw Dean Moxey's number glowing in green above the forth officials head, we were struggling to assert ourselves on the game in the second half and the last thing we needed was to bring on a defender.

I presumed we were going to switch to a 3-5-2 upon his introduction, but that wasn't the case, and Moxey took up position over on the left wing. Now, I know this sounds crazy, but I think he might be our best available winger. Scary thought, I know, but he did more in his twenty minutes spent on the pitch than Feeney and Janko did combined. He's obviously not the most skilful or fastest winger in the world, but he was direct, actually attempted to beat his marker, and, most importantly, he made some excellent crosses into the box.

He varied his crossing and actually managed to beat the man on more than one occasion, with one fizzed in, near post cross coming so close to leading to a goal - it was only an excellent save from the Blackburn 'keeper that stopped his cross from being converted. So yeah, Moxey might actually be our best winger.

4 - We've missed Craig Davies, but man, his finishing is dreadful

Craig Davies stripped and readied to come on over on the sideline was a sight for desperately sore eyes. We've missed Davies massively in recent weeks, his strength, willingness to run and respectable mobility have proven to be very useful to the way Lennon has set up his teams, and we've been lacking a focal point up top with out him. He wasted no time in fitting back to old habits and throwing his weight around at the Blackburn defence, he started to swing the game back into Bolton's favour moments after his introduction.

But holy mother, he wasted by far our best opportunity of the night. Mills hit a clearance forward and it was misread by the Rovers defence, sending Davies clean through on goal. With only the goalkeeper to beat and several options for him to complete the task, he lacked the composure and snatched at his opportunity - hitting it straight at the goalkeeper.

My views on Davies have been well documented on being mixed, I've always said that we should keep him as he offers something different to all our other strikers, but ultimately, he's a very limited player.

He's improved ten fold this season, no doubt about it, but the way he squandered his chance when he had all the time in the world is a reminder that we shouldn't be expecting him to completely change the course of our season.

5 - We've lost something

I don't know whether it's due the injury ravaged season we're having (Wednesday's game saw us use our 42nd player of the season), if the players are now lacking motivation since we're not reaching the play-offs and we (HOPEFULLY) won't be going down, if Lennon is now getting his tactics wrong or what - but it's painstakingly obvious that this Bolton team has lost something.

Compare the Wednesday night's performance against Blackburn Rovers to the one on Boxing Day. Back then we had a spark, we were playing with high intensity and constantly pressuring the opposition, we were moving the ball around quickly and looked dangerous on the attack. Two and a half months later and we're lethargic, wasteful, horrendous at passing, and seemingly completely out of ideas. It's almost as if we hardly go forward any more too as a lot of our players, attackers especially, always seem to want to hold up the ball and check back about three yards every single time, instead of advancing up the field with the ball at their feet.

Now, part of this is due to the team's horrendous lack of movement and support of the player on the ball, but some times they just need to grow the bollocks to take on the responsibility and do something themselves, instead of constantly pointing to the ground or a team mate and taking the blame off themselves.

By constantly slowing they game down it gives the opposition time to sit back and defend against the oncoming attack, which they inevitable do with ease. The heart and soul seems to have gone from the team recently, and it's really sad to see.