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Five Things: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Mark Haywood

Absolute shambles of a refereeing performance. Let's talk about it

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Three subs made before the half time whistle - have you ever seen that before? Not sure I have.

That and other talking points to follow.

Read on, readers:

1) Mark Haywood - Barry Knight for the 2k15 Generation

The writing was on the wall when the referee seemingly didn't bother to check on the colour of Reading's away shirt, instead coming out himself in a matching black outfit.

It would set the tone for one of the most shambolic refereeing performances in a long, long time. A lack of care and attention was no better exemplified than by his continued inability to monitor the sneaky pinching of yards by Reading on each and every throw-in.

We could talk for hours about the ridiculous 'even-ing up' fouls that he gave for no reason whatsoever, or the time that he pointed for a throw in to Bolton Wanderers, yet allowed Reading to take it and just carry on:

Just unreal.

The referee similarly failed to protect the players during a rough and tumble first half in which Zach Clough and Kevin McNaughton had to leave the game due to some overly enthusiastic Reading challenges. A normal referee would have thrown out a couple of yellow cards early on to settle things down - but not our guy - he just let things slide and it was no surprise to anyone when the game soon left his control.

I don't think he ever got it back.

Neil Lennon said it best:

Bob on. It's not often that both managers criticise a referee, but that happened tonight:

2) We Are Awful at the Back

To a man we absolutely sucked when it came to the defensive arts.

The early loss of David Wheater impacted on the whole defensive performance. Dorian Dervite was quite rightly dropped due his atrocious recent form, and I'm afraid to say that the problems that have plagued his own game cost us at the end when YET AGAIN the man was dragged towards the ball as if connected by some sort of invisible bungee cord, leaving a huge gap behind him for the Reading man to strike beyond Ben Amos.

A similarly poor performance came from Matt Mills, who himself hasn't been the same player since Christmas.

The lack of choice at the back is a real problem, and I can see Neil Lennon moving Tim Ream inside to centre half, and reintroducing Dean Moxey at left back. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

3) Watching Liam Feeney Makes Me Want to Cry

Possibly the most technically limited footballer in the history of Bolton Wanderers?


A willing runner, and God does love a trier, but let's all be honest - he's really just not very good.

His lack of ability on the ball cost us on several occasions when he lacked the brains to think creatively and use possession to its fullest. He's another player, including the likes of Neil Danns and Matt Mills who must be so grateful for the injuries suffered to better players, ensuring that he gets his appearance bonus every week.

4) Adam Le Fondre

Is it me or have his performances dipped significantly?

Granted he put in a decent shift, and did really well to create Eidur Gudjohnsen's goal, but overall his performance left a lot to be desired. I don't think he had a shot on target all night.

I wonder if Neil Lennon would have replaced the on-loan Cardiff City man with Tom Eaves, and given our approach a shake-up as the game wore on.

5) Another Pathetic Attendance

I am writing on this very topic - a piece to be published later this week - but a crowd of just under 13,000 is pretty shit. A half-full Reebok is a tragic sight, but one that we are becoming more and more accustomed to.

The club needs to act, and act fast. It's alright being able to get home in 20mins after the game, but the lack of atmosphere is starting to become embarrassing. We need bums on seats.

Where is the next generation of fans going to come from? The club should give out 5,000 freebies every week to schoolkids and catch the attention of these kids before they end up supporting Liverpool, Manchester City or, I dread to say, Blackburn Rovers.