Bolton slipped to a disappointing defeat at Brentford with goals from Florian Josefzoon and Neal Maupay settling the result. Wanderers had the odd chance to nick a point at 1-0 but for most of the game it was one-way traffic from the hosts.
It was very much a mixed team that took to the field with debutant Harry Charsley, on loan from Everton, making up a midfield that included Josh Vela and Derik Osede in the holding positions and Filipe Morais on the left-wing to accommodate Sammy Ameobi. It was in the midfield that problems began to show themselves early on as Derik failed to find a Bolton player with many of his passes and Vela being bypassed by the mobility of Nico Yennaris and Ryan Woods. There was some early pressure from both team with Gary Madine seeing a header saved from a Morais crossed and Ollie Watkins firing some warning shots just wide. Yoann Barbet, who scored a brilliant free-kick in the reverse fixture, saw a free header fly just over the bar when he should have scored as the hosts began to take control of the game and it was on 40 minutes when they took the lead. Josefzoon received the ball from Lasse Vibe on the corner of the 6-yard box when the Dane latched onto a poor header from Antonee Robinson and the Dutch winger fired a shot right into the top corner, giving Ben Alnwick in goal no chance.
Wanderers best chance of the half came on the stroke of half-time when Madine turned and shot on the edge of the box, only to see his effort trickle wide with goalkeeper Dan Bentley stranded. It appeared that Parky would look to change things at the break with Will Buckley stripped and looking ready to come on. He left him on the bench, however, and Brentford continued to dominate. Josefzoon should have made it 2-0 when Vibe played it to him in the centre of goal, but Alnwick saved at point-blank range to keep the Whites in the game. Vibe looked the Bees most likely source of a second goal and saw two efforts in two minutes fly just over the bar after he had out-paced the Wanderers backline. Parky must have seen that nothing was changing and withdrew Charsley for Buckley, putting the former Brighton winger on the left with Morais in behind Madine.
The change served to change the tide somewhat as Wanderers, sensing they still could cause Brentford problems, pressed for an equaliser. Their best chance of he game fell to Madine after Buckley played a ball through for the overlapping Robinson to cross. His ball-in ricocheted off both Brentford’s centre-halves and dropped invitingly for Bolton’s in-demand striker but he couldn’t squeeze his shot past the onrushing Bentley. Madine showed his growing frustration by flying into a reckless challenge moments later, earning himself a booking (one of 5 Wanderers would receive in this game), and his feeling was echoed by the Wanders fans as he cut an increasingly isolated figure up front. With Vela stuck in defensive midfield, and failing to impose himself on the game, nobody was able to give the front-man any support and to his credit, Parky noticed this and sent on Adam Le Fondre for Morais. ALF did mange one shot on Bentley’s goal, but it was a tame effort of a striker low in confidence.
As expected, as Wanderers tried to attack they left themselves open to the counter and Brentford used their pace to expose the gaps. Vibe had a couple of efforts blocked with substitute Sergi Canos pulling the strings. The game was petering out with Wanderers huffing and puffing to no avail but Canos found himself with space in the box just as the board went up to show added time and his scuffed effort was backheeled into the net by other substitute, Neal Maupay. There was nothing to speak of after the killer goal, as expected, with Wanderers never really having had much say in a contest that looked lost the moment they conceded. This game reinforced the need for Karl Henry and Darren Pratley to be drafted back into the team as soon as possible as their replacements didn’t look up to the task. Everyone concurs that this transfer window is Parky’s most important as Wanderers boss, yet it appears there is little to no movement on incomings or outgoings. Hopefully there will be some new, hungry players able to play against Ipswich next week as the Whites need to keep their good home form going to drag themselves away from the relegation zone. COYWM