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Five Things: Charlton Athletic 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

Bolton conceded their obligatory last minute goal to draw on Saturday, but what can we learn from the game at The Valley?

The Bolton injury curse has claimed Mark Davies as a victim once again
The Bolton injury curse has claimed Mark Davies as a victim once again
Daniel Smith/Getty Images

Bolton conceded their obligatory last minute goal to draw on Saturday, but what can we learn from the game at The Valley?Five games into the new campaign and Bolton Wanderers are still undefeated in the league under new boss Phil Parkinson. The run was extended with a draw at Charlton, in what was very nearly another three points with the hosts rescuing a point with a late goal from substitute Ademola Lookman.

But was this vintage Bolton conceding a late goal as always? Or are there signs of promise? Here are our five key takeaways from the clash at The Valley.

1. Organisation

The big difference that Parkinson has made this season is getting the team organised. It certainly isn't pretty and there are very few passages of flowing football, but the players seem to finally understand what they're doing.

It all begins with the robust and increasingly impressive partnership of Mark Beevers and David Wheater at the heart of the defence and new addition Lewis Buxton, who looks decent at right-back - although the less said about Dean Moxey the better. In front of them, the very narrow midfield is tight and compact, with Jay Spearing at the base of it looking solid behind Josh Vela and Liam Trotter - who admittedly, apart from his assist, looked clueless on the ball.

The only time we didn't look composed and organised all game was their goal, where Jay Spearing was guilty of giving the dangerous Lookman - it's a mystery why he isn't starting games for Charlton - too much space to turn and shoot.

2. Lack of pace and creativity

The biggest question mark I have over this team is the huge lack of pace in the side. Jamie Proctor and Gary Madine, even though they worked tirelessly and did look threatening, seem one dimensional and we really need another option up front.

I'm not sure if Parkinson rates Kaiyne Woolery, but for me his pace would have been ideal as we headed into the last 10 to 15 minutes at Charlton, both to give their defence something different to think about and to give our midfielders another option. There were numerous times where a through-ball was available between the Charlton defence but the strikers didn't have the pace or vision to make the run.

We're also totally devoid of pace and creativity in midfield, and we're really struggling to keep possession. Charlton could and should have beaten us on Saturday as we consistently gave the ball back to them and didn't have an attack in the last 25 minutes, which is exactly what happened against Sheffield United. We need to try and keep hold of the ball in midfield, and it's crying out for someone like Zach Clough or Max Clayton to be playing behind Proctor and Madine to give us something slightly less predictable.

3. Why Wilkinson?

Madine worked tirelessly up front against Charlton, and fully deserved his third goal in four games. However, he was clearly worn out and needed replacing, but to replace him with Conor Wilkinson was a total waste of time. The 21-year-old forward looked miles out of his depth and even more tired than the departing Madine.

As mentioned above, what we really needed in the last few minutes was a bit of pace up front to stretch the Charlton defence. Wilkinson is big, slow and clueless, ran around like a headless chicken not even getting near to closing down defenders, and proved that he shouldn't be playing at this level. He's exactly the same type of player as Proctor and Madine, except that he's useless.

4. Fouls, fouls and more fouls

One of the new criteria given to Premier League referees (I'm not sure if it trickles down through the rest of the Football League) is to clamp down on defenders pulling shirts at set-pieces. Now, if that applies to free-kicks and corners then surely it should also apply to defenders fouling attackers when a long ball is played forward.

Clearly this isn't being communicated to League One referees, as the treatment Proctor and Madine were subjected to on Saturday was a disgrace. In the first half alone I counted no fewer than nine occasions where the ball was played up to them and the opposing defenders were all over them, pulling their shirts, dragging them to the ground and with their arms wrapped around the strikers - and the referee gave not one of them. It was blatantly obvious and it really needs to be clamped down on.

5. Wasted wages

The old injury curse has struck yet again at Bolton. Not only have we already lost Darren Pratley to injury this season, Mark Davies collected what looked like a very serious knee injury on Saturday - which sees two of our top earners and, realistically, most sellable assets sidelined for some time.

Regardless of your opinion on whether this hinders us on the field or not, it certainly hinders us financially to have both these guys out of action and still raking in their big wage packets. When you throw into the mix the fact that Clayton is permanently injured and Clough seems incapable of staying fit, it's really hurting our already threadbare squad.

The loss of these players will also have a huge impact on whether we're able to bring in new faces before the end of the transfer window.