The end result was predictable but Bolton Wanderers, to their credit, found a new way to lose on Saturday away to Swansea City leaving us even closer to what feel like an inevitable relegation back to League One, twelve months later than expected.
With that being said, on to my five talking points:
1 - Two Strikers, but No Chance
Oliver McBurnie is a proper irritation. Ambling around like a proper scruff with his socks pulled halfway up his legs and wearing gloves in MARCH, McBurnie has a lot of things about him that wind me up.
That said, I would give my right arm for him to play for us. He was a complete pest throughout, stretching and dragging our backline apart as he ran the show, replete with a well-taken goal at the end. Yes he missed a penalty but he was absolutely everywhere and I just wish we had someone like that in our team.
Instead, Wanderers had Josh Magennis and Clayton Donaldson. Two honest strikers but two strikers completely devoid of any real attacking heft. I’ve yet to see someone present a heat-map of their performances but I can imagine that the area around the Swansea goal would be nothing but open green grass.
2 - Oh Captain, My Captain!
As mentioned in my player ratings piece - see here for more - certain elements of the fanbase seemed, at the time, to think that David Wheater had done something noble in bringing down Kyle Naughton as he rampaged through clear on goal.
I completely disagree.
At the time, the game was moving away from Wanderers at 1-0, but we were still in the game despite being down to ten men thanks to Craig Noone’s decision to put the referee in a position where he could justifiably send him off. At 1-0 we might well have managed to sneak an equaliser somewhere and brought home what would’ve been a superb point.
Instead, Wheater decided the best thing to do for the team would be to bring the player down and get himself sent off. What I believe he should’ve done would’ve been to leave the player running through on goal and trust that his goalkeeper would have made the save and kept Wanderers in the game.
It was a baffling decision and one that ultimately forced Phil Parkinson to bring the team even further back in defence and which led to us conceding the second goal which resigned us to our fate and took us even further towards League One.
It might well have been spur-of-the-moment from Wheater but it was, in my opinion, the wrong move.
3 - Injuries and Suspensions
So at a rough count, suspensions will leave us without Jason Lowe, David Wheater, Josh Magennis and Craig Noone for the visit of Millwall this coming Saturday. Four underperforming players, yes, but four senior members of the first team for a game that we simply must win.
Their replacements hardly bear thinking about. Another afternoon of watching Will Buckley have the game bypass him completely brings me out in hives.
The lack of quality in our first team has been apparent since the first few weeks of the season, but the lack of quality in depth in the entire squad has been obvious for years now. We have a highly average first team but our squad, eesh.
If you have something to do next Saturday that involves either watching paint dry, cutting your lawn with scissors or keeping an eye on the tread on your tyres then I recommend you partake in that enterprise instead of coming to the match because it’s shaping up to be more rough than Katie Price without any slap on. Or Katie Price with slap on.
4 - Phil Parkinson, the Teflon Man
Dealt a poor hand, apparently. Managing with two hands tied behind his back, apparently. He deserves to be judge when he has some money to spend, apparently.
Some of the most bleak, interminable football ever seen in the town, never mind the stadium, has led to a heightened apathy amongst a fanbase noted almost entirely for their apathy. The team is as uninspiring as the manager.
Parkinson has been a dead man walking for months. Ken Anderson’s focus being away from the team has left us in the position where we have a manager in post who knows that he is hanging on by his fingertips. Only the lack of progress on a takeover has saved Parkinson from the chop that he so richly deserves.
Surely the first act from whoever takes over the club will be to fire him.
5 - Chairman Kenny
What more can be said about the situation that our Chairman has put the club in? We are rudderless and being treated with contempt at every turn.
Granted there is no sentimentality in business, but in life there should always be humanity.
To read of the club having to offer food hampers to staff unable to afford the basics of essentials is heartbreaking.
Having met the man in person and having seen over the last three years how business is conducted at the club I can only hark back to this article posted earlier in the week and conclude that whatever your opinion of the job the man has done whilst in charge of the football club, his legacy will now forever be that of a villain.
Get the deal done before more people have to suffer.