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MOTM: Bolton Wanderers 1-3 Rochdale - Thibaud Verlinden

Well that was a massive kick in the nuts wasn’t it

Bolton Wanderers v Rochdale - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

The wait goes on for our first win since March 30th and first home win since the 2-1 win over Millwall on the 9th of that month.

But who shone, shining like a light in the darkness of another defeat?

There were some notable displays on Saturday and as Flitcroft said post-match, 80% of it was good but the 20% of shite cost us dearly.

Jason Lowe had a very good first half then completely forgot to track Callum Camps for Dale’s deflected equaliser. Both Adam Senior and Yoan Zouma did well up against Ian Henderson and his supporting cast until the wily veteran and in this case pantomime villain instead of hero, Aaron Wilbraham used his football brain and experience to make space for the younger and more agile members in behind him to do their thing.

The just-turned-40 year-old helped turn the game on its head and sent the Bolton faithful home disappointed and despondent after sensing that a first win might have been in the offing at 1-0 up.

The one performer who stood out for me above anyone though was our on-loan Belgian wide man, Thibaud Verlinden.

He was ably assisted in overloading Rochdale right-back Jimmy Keohane in the first-half by Adam Chicksen, with Wanderers getting an awful lot of joy from that side of the pitch. That the aforementioned Keohane was hooked at half-time for Luke Matheson was an indication of how much we had won the battle on our left.

A number of teasing crosses were unfortunately passed up until Thibaud got fed up and decided to get on the end of one himself, impressively hurling his head at Joe Dodoo’s curling delivery, beating his marker to the ball to bury it beyond another former Wanderer in Jay Lynch from a matter of a couple of yards out.

Unbeknown to myself at the time, young Thibaud had injured himself earlier in the second half and played the game out with an injury that may keep him out of the next couple of games potentially.

This would be a huge loss as we can’t keep losing our better players and expect to conjure up results in this league.

I was harsh on him after our draw with Blackpool, giving him the lowest mark of our team, which when watching the game back last week seemed a little unfair as he did put in a number of quality balls in the first half especially.

Either way, this was an impressive response to the setback of not particularly living up to his potential in that Blackpool encounter and long may it continue. Let’s hope he only has a niggle and can play a part against Bristol Rovers tonight.