Bolton Wanderers managed a goal and to hold on for a lead for 70 minutes before folding to predictable draw. Taking something back from the Lions Den is of course better than recent weeks, but Bolton desperately needed to take all three.
Last time out I went on a rant of sorts about the defending for Swansea City’s goal. This week I get to rant about another goal, oh the joy. The defending was simply weak in the lead up to a goal which you always felt was coming.
Wanderers’ view on good defending appears to be sitting as deeply as possible in the hope that the opposition will not find any space. In the most part this actually worked as Bolton looked to defend their lead. But they simply could not stifle a very average Millwall side for the whole game. If Millwall can capitalise on these moments, then better teams will certainly not be passing up a freebee.
It is incredibly frustrating that two moments of pitiful defending during two fairly solid displays have cost us four points. It needs sorting and fast if we are going to continue trying to play for 0-0 draws or 1-0 wins.
Floundering on the break
While 1-0 up and sitting back as deeply as possible Bolton were finally able to break at pace. Joe Williams took the ball up the pitch with Pawel Olkowski tearing into space on his right. The whole Bolton end was screaming at Williams to play Olkowski in, but instead he smashes a wild shot wide with a slight deflection for a corner saving his blushes.
Williams broke again later in the half once the scores were at 1-1. He did pick the pass this time, but the support player was not in any space.
Probably most frustrating of all though was when breaking forward towards the end of the game no one was prepared to comit. There was a point when all three of our central midfielders along with at least three of our defenders did not bother trying to support the break simply sitting back. This for me is criminal and I fear was a directive from the touchline more than tired legs.
I fully understand the need to protect the point, but that does not necessitate every single player sitting deep when in possession of the ball.
The Noone engima
Craig Noone is a player with bags of Championship experience. That makes it particuarly frustrating when he picks the ball up with space to run into near the centre of the pitch only to run the ball out for a throw in near the half way line. That moment summed up an insipid display from a man who, with a full pre-season, should have been able to push on this season. The fact that he hasn’t is unbelievably frustrating.
He is far from the only wide man flattering to decieve this season, and it needs sorting out if we are to push on.
Grabbing a goal
After one goal in our last ten games Bolton finally grabbed another through Mark Beevers. It is disappointing to miss out on the three points, but it is a massively important moment. The players need to take heart from hitting the back of the net and push forward with more confidence, and more regularity, in coming weeks if they want to rescue their season.
More attack needed
Bolton started the game on the front foot. Within fifteen minutes we should have had a penalty and Will Buckley should have netted a one on one. Oh, and we had actually scored a goal. After that point though we sat back and showed little to nothing going forward.
We have shown in recent weeks that we will have a catastrophic defensive lapse and conceed a goal. That means we need to be pushing for more than one, and when we scored against Millwall it looked like we were capable of doing that, only to not bother trying. It is incredibly frustrating to watch and will stop us having even a fighting chance of points in games if it continues.