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5 Things: Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday

That was good!

Bolton Wanderers v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

We won! We bloody won!

Bolton Wanderers, without a win in 25 years, defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in a hard-fought victory which was not without incident but which was richly deserved. Let’s discuss what went on:

1 - What a Feeling!

I’d almost forgotten what it was like to celebrate a win.

Yes we might still be rock bottom of the league and yes we might still be odds-on to be relegated, but by Christ the feeling at full-time was euphoric.

The game had moments when it could have swung either way, but for Wanderers to show the strength of character that they did to bring things back in our favour was really encouraging.

Let’s hope that whatever comes next is just as passionate and just as enjoyable because there’s nothing worse than whimpering failure - I’d rather be relegated having given it a bit of a go.

2 - The Gary Madine Experience

No, not the name of a student band, but more a rough description of my 90mins following our centre-forward.

Immense in the air, but godawful in front of goal, he remains a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I was so impressed with his physical work yesterday, he fought and battled against their defenders and, more often than not, came out on top in the war.

All that said, I’m so glad that his desperate miss in the second half didn’t come back to bite us on the backside because it would have detracted from his decent all-round game. I really don’t want to like him, but he’s winning me round.

I would’ve liked him to have taken more care with his through pass to Josh Vela in the first half, and to have tried a first-time shot when Joe Wildsmith gave him the ball in front of the goal in the second, but we won and that’s all that matters. Everything else is just opinion.

3 - Players Playing Well When it Matters Most

There have been a few in the Wanderers side this season who have been underwhelming, at best, such as Ben Alwick, Mark Beevers and Filipe Morais. Happily, all three gave their best performances of the season and were key performers in earning us the win.

Alnwick made a few great saves in the second half especially which kept the score at 2-1 , Morais found his crossing boots again at long last and Beevers was a complete rock at the back. Maybe it was the small matter of playing against his former side but overall he was much more like the player we saw last season.

4 - Key Players Coming Back From Injury

Criticism of Phil Parkinson has been getting louder and louder in recent weeks which has been unsurprising but, in my opinion, has been a little unfair.

Hamstrung by injuries to two of his main men - namely Josh Vela and Sammy Ameobi - has robbed his side of key creativity, aggression and most importantly a threat in front of goal.

Sammy Ameobi has been working back to fitness of late, and scored a superb goal whereas Vela came in from nowhere and after a slow start looked like he’d never been away.

Both will undoubtedly be key as the season progresses, and if they take can replicate the sort of form displayed against Wednesday then they too will be key to any sort of success that we may enjoy as things move on.

5 - Karl Henry, The Bastard

Well what an impact this man has made. Solid and completely unspectacular, Henry is first and foremost a spoiler. I don’t mean the sort who tells you that (spoiler alert) Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, but more the kind of footballer who ruins your enjoyment of the game if he is playing against you.

He was decent on the ball in a Jay Spearing sort of way, but was also a complete and utter knob at when out of possession. His little trips, pulls and snide moves didn’t go unnoticed, and it’s exactly what we have been missing.

Acting the twat and getting in the way of your opponents’ rhythm is something that is invaluable and he was at peak bell throughout. Really good performance and really good signing. Feels dirty saying it, like.