It was a strange case on Saturday of a defeat that didn't really do the damage it could have done for the Wanderers at Glanford Park, as Sheffield United clinched promotion and almost certainly the League One title, whilst victories for Bradford and Scunthorpe put the heat on Fleetwood Town, currently sat in the third place.
Wanderers fans found themselves desperately searching for goal updates from elsewhere as the team struggled to take anything from The Iron despite dominating for large periods of the game. Though it would prove to be good news from the beach at Boundary Park, a win for Bradford away at Bury, and Sheffield United's comeback at Northampton meant that it was a bittersweet day all told.
Here's how the teams sit with four games to go:
Sheffield United - 88 (35)
Bolton - 79 (28)
Fleetwood - 72 (18)
Bradford - 72 (18)
Scunthorpe - 70 (20)
We can give up on any slender hopes of the title. That's beyond us. And yet, despite the disappointment of defeat yesterday, we're still in the driving seat for second place.
On Good Friday, Fleetwood travel to Peterborough, Bradford host Oxford, and Scunthorpe face a trip to Milton Keynes. Wanderers are the only side playing on Easter Saturday, away at a rejuvenated Oldham, who have frustrated Sheffield United and Fleetwood of late.
On Easter Monday, Fleetwood host Millwall, Scunthorpe are at home to Chesterfield, and Bradford visit champions-elect Sheffield United. Wanderers again play the day later, at home to Bury on Tuesday 18th.
If results go our way, promotion could be confirmed against our mates The Shakers. I imagine they'd love that. But this is Bolton Wanderers, so don't expect it to be easy.
If each team performs as they did in their respective reverse fixtures, then Wanderers will comfortably finish second with 88 points. Scunthorpe would face a semi-final against either Millwall or Southend, whereas Bradford and Fleetwood would go face-to-face also.
Sheffield United - 98
Bolton - 88
Scunthorpe - 82
Bradford - 79
Fleetwood - 78
However, with Oldham Athletic improving immeasurably under John Sheridan, and teams such as Bury, Port Vale, Chesterfield and Swindon all fighting for survival, it almost certainly won't finish that way.
From a selfishly Wanderers perspective, we need to put the defeat at Scunthorpe behind us and focus on the four cup finals left before the season ends. If results don't go our way on Good Friday, we stay calm and do our job at Oldham. Win the next two, and it's done. Simple as that.