An improved performance from Bolton Wanderers saw us grind out a respectable draw at home to Accrington Stanley. I know a draw at home doesn’t sound that inspiring but if not for a general lack of urgency in the final third at times, then we might have won this game. However, a draw and a clean sheet can not be sniffed at and it is definitely an improvement considering Accrington have put 9 past us already this season. There were a lot of solid performances throughout; Jason Lowe applying himself brilliantly as a bloody wing back (when will this nightmare stop), Kean Bryan being as ‘‘Rolls Royce-y’’ as ever in CM and a tireless Daryl Murphy giving everything once again over 90 minutes. I could have given the MOTM honours to anyone of those; or to the fit again Ali Crawford who’s ability at dead ball situations has been sorely missed but also his link up play between the lines with Joe Dodoo and Luke Murphy that saw us dominate the early stages. If it wasn’t for Crawford tiring as the game wore on, I would have given him MOTM but the fault here lies more with Keith Hill (surprise surprise) as there is certainly an argument for not keeping a recently injured player on for the whole game.
Instead I will agree with James in that Joe Dodoo was our best player on the pitch yesterday and he was unlucky not to cap his performance with a goal. Dodoo is certainly a player for the good times as he can go absent in games and I don’t think i’ve ever seen him attempt to win a header when the ball is lumped up to him. But that isn’t ever going to be a part of his game, he is much better when he has players like Murphy to play off and Crawford with the ability to find the space in between the lines. On countless occasions yesterday he found himself with space to drive at the Accrington defence and he tore the poor lad Johnson apart in the first half. If it wasn’t for some good goalkeeping and luck, a few of those half chances might’ve fell our way. In the second half he was quieter and better marshalled but he still managed to create a few opportunities and his presence was enough to draw Accrington players over to him and open up space for others.
This draw is certainly a good platform to build on for the rest of the seasons games. I’m sure Keith Hill and the lads don’t want to finish bottom and can understand what any amount of joy means to the hard done by Wanderers faithful. Hopefully the likes of Dodoo, Lowe, Bryan, Nsiala and Murphy can take these strong performances into the Wimbledon game next Saturday. If we still can finish the season not rock bottom then we should be giving it our everything. Because whilst we are likely going down it is more important than ever at this stage not to give up going into the final third of the season: as this time needs to be used to build a team strong enough to compete right from the off in League 2 next season.