Another chapter in the review of our 2016/2017 record breaking season, this time, September, a month which filled fans with hope and anticipation off the back of an extremely positive transfer window in August.
The Whites began the month with a home game against Phil Brown’s men Southend United, an immediate opportunity therefore for the new signings to prove their worth. Eight of the new signings featured in the one all draw with the Shrimpers, five of which started in the form of new ‘Keeper Mark Howard, full-back Lewis Buxton, defensive rock Mark Beevers, midfield maestro James Henry and Crystal Palace loanee Keshi Anderson. Despite conceding in the early stages of the game, Bolton picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and earned themselves an equaliser just after the break, a debut scrambled goal for Keshi Anderson. In the midst of the well-fought game, Phil Brown managed to get himself sent to the stands, again.
A few days later, the voting for the annual Football Blogging Awards opened which later saw the site announced as finalists, but more on that in October’s review.
On the 6th, Ken Anderson told BBC Radio Manchester that Wanderers had seen three additional deals fall through on deadline day, however, none of which were officially named or hinted at.
The following week, Phil Parkinson was nominated for the ‘cursed’ Manager Of The Month award which he won which went on to show that its reputation was no myth. The very next day saw Bolton draw to a relatively poor MK Dons side who on the day, were easily beatable. Despite a lively start from the Wanderers and a Mark Beevers goal, new goalkeeper Mark Howard was forced into making a heroic penalty save at the beginning of the second half and the game initially looking like a walkover, nerves started to kick in and ‘the curse’ struck again with Dons grabbing an undeserved leveller later in the second half. Wanderers hung on for an unconvicing 1-1 draw, a one match suspension for Jay Spearing seemed to rattle a few fans, although, both of which proved to be nothing to worry about come April.
Next up was an away trip to Walsall. With the Whites hoping to bounce back from two successive draws and get another three points on the board, Parkinson fielded a very strong team including seven of the new signings. Walsall were down to ten men within the first fifteen minutes bolstering the Wanderers’ hopes of another away win, but it wasn't to be. Wanderers’ unbeaten start to the season came to an end following a defensive mix-up between Beevers and Howard towards the end of the first half resulting in an easy tap in and three points for the hosts. Keshi Anderson also found himself suspended after a ‘farcial’ double-booking.
With the Whites slumping to, what proved to be, their lowest position all season, the supposed ease of league one became an up hill struggle. Without a win in five and going into, from the oppositions perspective, the biggest game of all time, Parkinson had a real challenge on his hands. The not-so noisy neighbours from across the pennines flocked in their supposed millions to witness their Parky Cup Final, which anticlimactically resulted in a bore draw.
The final game of the month came in the form of the first local derby against Rochdale under the lights at Spotland. 3,428 fans made the short trip across Lancashire to witness what was arguably, the worst game of the season. Without a win in seven, Wanderers fans were sure that the much-needed three points would be taken that night, what resulted, was quite the opposite. A collectively poor performance from the Whites left the away end in disbelief as a single Rochdale goal was enough to keep Bolton searching for their first win since August.
A glimmer of hope was resurrected at the end of the month as Josh Vela signed a new contract keeping him at the club until 2019.
With September being a month to forget, surely Parkinson could get us back on track going into October with a home fixture against Oxford United?
Stay tuned for October’s edition.