Bolton Wanderers continued their fantastic start to the season with a 2-1 win against Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
Heading to the game, it was great to see a big queue for tickets before kick off.
Wanderers went into the game with their best start to a season for fifteen years. The Wanderers line up was largely unchanged from the 2-1 midweek win at Bristol Rovers, with Zach Clough replacing the injured Jamie Proctor.
Bolton started the game brightly and had an early chance to take the lead, but David Wheater scuffed a shot wide from Jay Spearing's corner. In the 10th minute, Wanderers' claims for a penalty were ignored as Mark Davies was brought down inside the box. Davies was instead booked for diving. I've no idea whether Davies dived or not, from where I was sitting it looked a penalty.
Mark Howard was first called into action in the 18th minute, although David Ball's tame effort was hit straight at the Wanderers 'keeper.
Bolton then saw a couple of half chances come to nothing. First, Liam Trotter curled wide from just outside the box, then Josh Vela had an effort blocked in a similar position to the one he scored from in midweek.
Wanderers were forced to make a change just over half an hour into the game. Zach Clough went down unchallenged, and after receiving treatment on the pitch, was replaced by Kaiyne Woolery.
Phil Parkinson said after the game that Clough felt something 'pop’, which could mean a recurrence of the hamstring strain he suffered during pre-season. Let's hope it isn't too serious.
Just three minutes later, Bolton found themselves a goal down.
Sloppy defending from Bolton led to a Fleetwood goal. Dean Moxey lost possession in the box, and David Ball was on-hand to fire the ball into the net, despite the best efforts of Howard.
Bolton were almost level just before half time, but Mark Beevers headed straight at Town goalie Chris Neal. Mark Howard was then called to action to prevent Fleetwood going two up, saving again from David Ball, who had pounced on a poor backpass from Jay Spearing.
Buoyed by Phil Parkinson's words at half time, Bolton started the second half brightly. Almost immediately into the half, Gary Madine's header from Lewis Buxton's cross forced Neal to make a terrific save. Although, Madine wouldn't have to wait long for his next chance.
Just over five minutes into the second half, Wanderers were level.
David Wheater's header was blocked on the line, and Gary 'Washing Machine/Goal Machine' Madine was there to prod the ball home. 1-1.
Liam Trotter and David Wheater both missed chances to give Bolton the lead, with both players heading over from corners.
Mark Howard then had to be at his best to deny Chris Long from long range.
With seventy minutes on the clock, Bolton should have been ahead. Kaiyne Woolery saw his shot saved by Neal, and then Mark Davies somehow missed from the follow up, shooting straight at the 'keeper from two yards out. Still don't know how he missed, even Harry Redknapp's wife would have scored from there.
Bolton were in complete control of the game, and had another chance to take the lead when Jay Speaing was fouled just outside the box. However, Spearing couldn't repeat his brilliant free kick from the win at Bristol Rovers, and saw his effort fly over the bar.
In the 80th minute, goalscorer Gary Madine was replaced by Connor Wilkinson, who would play his part in the final moments of the game.
Wanderers finally made their dominance count in the 84th minute.
Lewis Buxton's cross was headed down by Wilkinson towards Josh Vela, who thumped the ball into the top corner from close range for his second goal this week.
Bolton saw the game out without a hitch to ensure a fourth win in a row.
It's brilliant to see a solid Bolton team for the first time in years. In a short space of time, Phil Parkinson has taken a group of perennial losers and transformed them into a team that can dig in when behind and hold onto leads and not collapse when under pressure.
The win meant Bolton have now had their best start to a season for EIGHTY TWO years. It's also the first time in three and a half years Bolton have won four games in a row.
We are top of the league, and long may it continue.
Next up for Wanderers is a trip to The Valley to face Phil Parkinson's former side Charlton Athletic next Saturday.