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Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Sheffield United: Immediate Reaction

Oldham Athletic V Bolton Wanderers- Sky Bet League One Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

In an all too predictable night, Wanderers lost...again. Unlike the previous games where it could be argued that we were against teams of loftier stature, today fell within our ‘mini-league’ and we failed to capitalise. What is more worrying is that Wanderers have now failed to score from open play, in the league this season (7 games).

Bolton Wanderers had a much changed line up with Derik Osede and Craig Noone being dropped due to fitness concerns. Elsewhere Adam Armstrong, Mark Little, Reece Burke and Josh Cullen came in to the team. The formation reverted to a 3-5-2 with two out-and-out- wing backs for the first time this season.

The first half started well for Wanderers with some good play, impressive performance from our wing backs and some half chances to speak. It was shaping up to be a good 50-50 contest with the Whites edging it. Yet we failed to capitalise and Sheffield scored against the run of play at the end of the half. During the second half, again Wanderers played some ‘alright’ stuff but never seriously looked like we were certain to score. We had some decent chances through free kicks but that was about the most of it. A full and more detailed match report will follow.

Tonight was always going to be a test, a test I fear we had to pass and didn’t. The start of the season was tough, really tough and we needed to hunker down, take that on the chin and come out in games like these and play as if we hadn’t got our asses kicked repeatedly. Unfortunately we haven’t shown the mental resolve to shake those defeats off and that is worrying when it is considered how long this form could last.

Perhaps the main worry has to be the lack of goals. To my knowledge we are yet to score from open play in the league this year. A truly shocking statistic. The fact we have offered so little going forward that we haven’t even been able to snatch a consolation here and there is as depressing as it gets. Whilst we were the masters of the set play last year, we are average, at best this year. Defenders who have played in the Premier League or who earn 20k a week are no longer outgunned, in fact they deal with us with ease.

Can any of this really change? Is it the manager? Is it the tactics? Are the players not trying hard enough? Quite frankly, it’s a negative to all of those. Whilst Parky has certainly made some tactical cock ups this year and the players haven’t been at their best, none of them are the source of our struggles. It is purely and simply a question of resources. Sheffield united, a team that came up with us from League 1 last year have even been able to spend £2 million + this year alone. Our entire team costs nothing. Whilst we have made some smart additions, we weren’t able to make enough to be able to seriously compete in this league. As long as that embargo remains in place, we’re fucked.

Whilst it is all a bit doom and gloom it must be noted we did actually play alright. Antonee Robinson and Mark Little both looked decent bombing up and down the wings, both tiring significantly in the second half mind. Will Buckley had a good game but unfortunately came off injured, just to add more shit to the pile.

On to the next one I suppose.