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Five Things: Bristol City 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

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What can we take from another loss and another blank?

Bristol City v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

It wasn’t all doom and gloom at Ashton Gate even if it does get increasingly hard to see the positives with each game. Losing 2-0, despite a more competitive performance, is great, but clearly leaves a lot to build on; here are my five thoughts.

Bristol City v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

We actually, dare I say it, for large parts of the game looked defensively solid. Bristol City did struggle to really break us down at times, albeit they made it look easy for their opener. This is against a team who are one of the leagues highest scorers so far this year as well.

There are defensive issues, the main one which stands out for me is discussed below, but on the whole more of the same would be a positive step towards some form of redemption.

Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

There is only so much Gary Madine can do on his own. He has no support, at all. How can he being others into the game when they are not available to him? At the same time how can he be a real goal threat when only one cross in the whole game lands anywhere near his head?

He created a chance for himself, and it was a good hit, albeit it was not though likely to end up in the net. That is no criticism of Madine, he was doing everything he could with the half chance he carved out.

Maybe Adam Le Fondre and Adam Armstrong played together might be more effective? Maybe tucking Jeff King and the likes of Craig Noone and Sammy Ameobi in closer to Madine will have an effect? I don’t know, and I don’t think Phil Parkinson really knows either or he would have done something.

One thing is for sure, with the way we are set up at the moment I cannot see the club scoring. On the up side the record of 11 consecutive losses without a goal is very much in sight.

Bolton Wanderers v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship
Henry chasing down Lee in his QPR days
Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

The man hasn’t played this season and still looked solid. There was clear room for improvement but it was a promising start. He seemed to strike up a good understanding, defensively at least, with those around him from the get go which was ideal.

A bit more game time and I’m hopeful he can turn out to be a good signing. Will it be enough to turn around our season? Unlikely. But it might make it less unbearable with a bit of real bite in the centre of the park.

West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

He just can’t seem to produce right now. He was able to find space to cross once or twice but the delivery was not what we came to expect from the so called postman. When trying to help out defensively he is simply not at the races. That isn’t necessarily his fault, he is a winger, but we need someone who can offer more going forward and tracking back.

I hope he can prove me wrong, but I’m not hopeful.

West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers - Carabao Cup Third Round
Finding space too easily in the opening minutes
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Why can’t our defence stick with their man?

The first goal against West Ham United came when the attacker broke free far too easily from a free kick. The second goal saw a player arrive in the box unmarked. The first goal against City came when the defender did not keep up with his man or stay goal side.

It simply makes it far too easy for the opposition to grab a goal, and once we are one nil down it is always going to be an uphill struggle, especially when we can’t score even a single goal.

The frustration is that it’s a fairly simple part of defending, and the opposition isn’t having to do anything overly clever to find the space.