That was frustrating. Bolton Wanderers passed the opportunity to go 9 points clear at the top having failed to get the win against second from bottom, Chesterfield FC. It was a game where we had chances all be it few clear cut ones.
The line up changed with Gary Madine not being fit to play which saw Chris Long start. Elsewhere Mark Howard started in goal, Dean Moxey was in for Andy Taylor and Jay Spearing was drafted in to replace Derik Osede who was on the bench.
There is little to be said about the game really, Chesterfield came to defend well and play on the break and they did exactly that. Whilst they barely threatened, they reduced us to a handful of chances. Shots by Dean Moxey, Darren Pratley and Adam Le Fondre all tested the defence but there were few times where the keeper was forced to make a good save.
Whilst Chesterfields defence deserves some credit for this, the majority of blame for this goal shyness was of our own doing. We had no height up front with Madine being injured and yet we played long balls up to the strikers from the first minute of play. This is especially annoying as Phil Parkinson had mentioned in his press conference that we would not be able to do this. Chesterfield's centre backs were dominant in the air all afternoon, hardly surprising given both ALF and Long are under 6ft. It was obvious attempts were made to stop this tactic at half time with more joy being found with balls in behind the defence but this wasn't enough to break their resolve.
The sad thing being that a simple change of Dervite for Derik would have completely changed the way the defence distributed the ball from the back. This begs the question as to how we change if Madine is still injured for our next game. Do we try again with more ball players in the team or think outside the box and play one of our prolific centre backs up front?
In more positive news Fleetwood Town lost their game against third from bottom, Swindon Town. This means with our point today we are now 7 points clear of third placed Fleetwood with 6 games remaining. To put it another way, 3 more wins and we have secured promotion. Let's keep our cool, learn from our mistakes from this game and make it 2 more wins at Southend United.
Finally well done to all the 23,367 in attendance today and to the club for bringing those numbers in. It's fantastic to see the club get those kind of attendances again and hopefully many will stay and come back next year despite this 0-0 draw being a pretty bad advert for Phil Parkinson's Bolton Wanderers.