Given Burton Albion’s win away to Reading it was vital that Wanderers didn’t lose any ground in the fight for survival. Thankfully, goals from Gary Madine and Josh Vela gave the Whites victory over Cardiff, putting last week’s debacle against Burton to bed. Here’s Five Things to take away from the triumph:
First Home Clean Sheet
Defending has been a real issue this season, especially when one considers how much of a strength it had been in League 1. This first clean sheet at home could act as the catalyst to boost our confidence at the back. David Wheater and Mark Beevers work well together but there have been times this season when they have struggled. They are good defenders who should be able to get us more clean sheets in the future, maybe it has been a case of getting the first before going on a run?
Antonee Robinson’s form had seen Taylor, one of last season’s heroes, out of the team with little chance of a reprieve. However, Taylor is a much more natural defender and put in a very solid performance in this game. Our own Will Jones told me that you didn’t notice he was out there, which meant he did his job well. He may not get any headlines, like Robinson does when he is on form, but it is good to know he is there to be called upon when we need him.
Can Gary Madine Get 15 Goals This Season?
No, I am not drunk whilst writing this! I truly believe he can do it. He has played every game this season and had little to no injuries thus far (long may this continue) so if he can manage to play all 46 matches, he could well get to the 15-goal mark. He has 7 already and while 7 from 23 isn’t the best record, it represents a huge improvement for Madine at this level. I think he can get to that milestone and I back us to stay up if he does.
Josh Vela back on the scoresheet
Vela has been criticised by many fans of late, including myself, so he needed a performance/goal to get his season going. The fact he got on the scoresheet at long last is hugely positive. As with the clean sheet, one hopes this will be the trigger to get him scoring regularly as he did last year. He has been snatching at chances in previous games, so it was pleasing to see him find the net.
This Team Has Some Bottle
Watching Madine’s post-match interview, I was intrigued to hear how many times he mentioned the fact the team was roundly booed at the end of the Burton game. It clearly affected the lads deeply and it was obvious Madine felt they had a point to prove. They certainly did that yesterday and it occurred to me that at long last we have a side that can show real determination and steel when they need to. I said after the match at Villa Park that I was proud of how my team played even though they lost, and I have felt the same way after many games this season, Barnsley, Forest and Sheffield Wednesday to name a few. Bolton Wanderers have always been a team that graft for their results and as long as they battle I will be happy. Parky has his critics and rightly so, but he has built a team that give a damn and for that he deserves immense credit.
Merry Christmas Wanderers fans. COYWM