Saturday saw Bolton Wanderers win an actual game of football for the first time in what seems like forever against Queens Park Rangers.
Wanderers lined up in a 4-2-3-1 with three changes from our previous disgraceful outing at Wigan pre-international break including Olkowski replacing the injured Jason Lowe, skipper David Wheater coming in for Jack Hobbs and Sammy Ameobi for Clayton Donaldson.
Wanderers started the brighter, almost taking the lead early on courtesy of a long range Sammy Ameobi effort which was easily dealt with by ‘keeper Lumley. QPR responded quickly with a couple of consecutive breaks from which they came close on each occasion but couldn't quite make the most of to open the scoring.
A well worked low driven corner then caused the Wanderers’ defence issues which wasn't properly cleared and subsequently nearly cost them the opener as a loose ball dropped for Scowen whose sweetly struck effort rattled the woodwork, leaving Remi rooted to the spot. A let off for Bolton.
The hosts, now with the momentum, burst down the left, eventually finding an unmarked Freeman inside the box whose half volley was well held by Matthews when struck across the face of his goal.
Effectively countering, Wanderers then broke the deadlock.
Ameobi powerfully surged forward, shrugging off defenders, found space down the right before laying it off to Williams whose neat, out-swinging delivery found the head of Josh Magennis, on hand to knock the ball back across the face of goal, teasing Lumley, only able to parry into the path of an awaiting Will Buckley who bundled the ball home at the far post to give Wanderers the lead.
Wanderers went into the break with a rare away lead which had come ten minutes prior with the thankless task of holding the lead for another 45 minutes.
Soon after the interval, the hosts turned on the heat, went in search of an equaliser and were nearly rewarded when Osayi-Samuel outmuscled Olkowski, raced towards goal, cut inside Wheater before firing towards goal but all his hard work was undone as the resulting tame shot was met by the awaiting strong hands of Matthews.
Both sides spent the next quarter of an hour sharing the possession and a flurry of attacking chances, but it was Bolton who came closest to capitalising.
Ameobi’s wicked low ball was met by Buckley at the far post who somehow didn’t convert from a mere few yards out, admittedly under pressure, but with the goal gaping, could only fire his effort against the under side of the bar. Rangers struggled to clear but a number of follow up opportunities were sadly squandered.
Now back on top and looking for a second, we eventually came up trumps.
Ameobi’s low driven shot from the edge of the area was too much for ‘keeper Lumley who parried directly into the path of a queue of black shirts, the inviting loose ball was too much to pass up and it was Connolly who turned it home on the rebound to give Wanderers some amazingly satisfying breathing space.
With ten to go, the boos started to ring out around Loftus Road from the home fans, clearly embarrassed as anyone would be if they were two down to us, were soon cut short and Wanderers’ dreams of a comfortable win now almost a reality, became premature as briefly taking their feet off the gas cost them their two goal advantage.
Nahki Wells, who always seems to score against us, popped up, floored Taylor, drove at the heart of the Bolton defence, into the penalty area and got a shot off before anyone could get close, inevitably finding the far corner, lumping the pressure on us once more to hold on to a narrow lead.
Credit where credits due, Wanderers nobly hung on and proudly took three points home from the capital in the most unexpected turn of events, providing us with a glimmer of hope where survival’s concerned, helped by other results, assuming it isn't shattered by off the field matters this coming Wednesday.
Credit also to those 700+ who travelled and carried the team over the line, your loyalty does not go unnoticed nor unrewarded.
Our attentions now turn to Wednesday’s court date, subject to a sale and providing all goes well, to Ipswich at home on Saturday, a huge opportunity to increase our chances of survival, not to be missed by the team or fans.
Well done boys, there’s life in the old dog yet, I hope.