What a lovely win that was, who doesn’t love a last minute winner, particularly as you think the opportunity of your shithouse win has slipped through your Irish fingers? It was a good finish from Daryl Murphy who did what all good strikers do and put the disappointment of moments ago out of his head whilst others dwelled on it. Hopefully his buddies in the Irish national team can do the same on Monday night.
Whilst those at Bolton understandably are uncomfortable talking about survival and what this result can mean for it, I think it could be a massive result come the end of the season. There are a lot of points left to play for and even if the EFL sanction Wanderers with further penalty, the season is by no means over. We can survive, keep winning our home games and we have more than a puncher’s chance of occupying 20th place come the end of the season.
There are some lesson’s to be learned from every game we play and I think some are particulars important. Firstly, Josh Earls inclusion over Yoan Zouma made Bolton a lot more solid at the back. Preston North End loanee Earl partnered Jake Wright at the heart of Bolton’s defence and the two did very well against former Wanderer Joe Mason who looked like he had just returned from a gap year and converted to veganism. It was only through a basic mistake in possession from Wanderers midfielder Liam Bridcutt that allowed Pirates of the Caribbean star Mason to bring an excellent save one on one onto the post.The most obvious benefit you get with Earl in defence is calmness on the ball, which is particularly effective as Adam Chicksen is very comfortable in possession and allows Bolton to build from the back in the style wanted by manager Keith Hill.
On the topic of Chicksen i’d give some serious thought to that Zimbabwe call up just in case Ben Chilwell picks up an injury before the Euros. What a signing he has been -no preseason, no problem, since Chicksen has slotted right in, he has been without question our most consistent player and he deserve all the plaudits coming his way.
Our other full back Jay Emmanuel has also been a fantastic signing, I spoke at length last time about just how good a signing he is proving to be and if anything, my opinion has only enhanced of him over these last few weeks.
I do worry about a lack of creativity in midfield, despite the fact I would say we have three competent central midfielders in Lowe, Bridcutt & Murphy. I understand the 3-pronged attack is being used to combat it but it isn’t going to always work and we need a plan B and I’m not sure Sonny Graham is there yet. Ali Crawford is a big loss and whilst we haven’t quite felt it yet, I worry we will.
I’m not sold on Bridcutt completely but I’ll leave it there or we’ll end up with another piece of meaningless WhoScored.com stats from Mr Manning and no one wants that.
There was some talk in the media prior to the game over the future availability of Thibaud Verlinden. I don’t really see how it matters right now, yes there is more than a chance he may have to enter the city of Stoke again during what will be a harsh winter there but we’ve know that since day one. The focus now should be on his performances, and he was quite brilliant on Saturday. If he keeps those levels up, good things will happen for him and we all win. Let’s worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
Off the pitch, something introduced that I am a fan of is the introduction of the cash turnstiles for League games. Such a simple thing that makes so much sense. That along with the e-ticket scheme just makes things easier for the fan who may decide on the day they fancy going the game. It doesn’t take much to get the match day experience right I don’t believe, we don’t need fire breathers or tee-shirt cannons. Just make things slicker, simpler and easier to hand over the money and have a seat. It is also good to see the club listened to the fans and re-introduced the half time beer token system, which is a proven winner. Well done.