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Five Things: Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Colchester United

Lee shares his five things from Fridays draw

Bolton Wanderers v Colchester United - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

A thoroughly frustrating afternoon at the UniBol as the Whites laboured to a goalless draw, which would ultimately put them into the automatic promotion places.

Putting teams away

We seriously lack a killer instinct in this squad and if Doyle doesn’t provide it then it’s hard to see at the moment who will.

The ‘Irish legend’ had one presentable chance, except his disallowed goal, which doesn’t count. This is becoming a worrying trend as the side is creating next to nothing for the spearhead of our attack. The ten minute spell midway through the first half was played at exactly the tempo we needed and with it we created the Lee shot and both the Doyle disallowed goal and his flicked back header, saved on the line by Gerken after Jones’ cross was parried, much like Kieran Lee’s goal versus Walsall.

The breaks we got at the death against Barrow and Southend in eerily similar games were never going to be sustainable and it is imperative Evatt either gets the team playing at a higher tempo for longer periods or he juggles his forward pack in a way that gets the best out of them. Perhaps we’ll see more of Marcus Maddison and Zack Elbouzedi, who looked bright again when he came on but perhaps suits a game where the opposition are pressing so there is more space in behind.

A point gained?

I mean, it obviously isn’t as we really should be beating the divisions’ most out of form side at home but with everyone bar the top two losing, the result was certainly looked upon under a kinder light at 5pm as opposed to 3pm.

It’s important that if we’re not playing well we don’t lose games but we don’t want the unbeaten streak to continue to the detriment of us winning more games, as draws alone won’t get us into that top three. We of course did our best to win this one and I’m not suggesting we were protecting our record but if it’s level with five to go today at Rodney Parade I don’t think we should be settling for a point.

Time to shuffle the pack?

The team has been a fairly settled one thus far during the run that’s catapulted us from huge underachievers to automatic promotion candidates, understandably so too. But was Good Friday’s sluggish display overall an indication that we need to give players a rest or perhaps a kick up the arse by dropping them?

Dapo Afolayan had his poorest game since joining and the perennially argued stance that Arthur Gnahoua is a better impact sub than a starter gained further credence as he struggled to make any impact against the U’s low block.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see two of Maddison, Elbouzedi and Isgrove come into the side at Rodney Parade, especially given Evatt’s post-game comments on how the three behind Doyle were all under par.

Momentum

It seems the rhythm of Saturday-Tuesday suited us and it could be argued that we looked rusty rather than fatigued, as Colchester grew into the game on Saturday virtue of some sloppy passing on our part in my opinion, also taking heart from not conceding in our best spell, of course.

The momentum that playing twice a week generated really seemed to help us and now that we only have two midweek games left, against play-off chasing Carlisle and Salford, Evatt must find a way to get the team playing in a way that generates momentum going into the final 8 games.

Positive mindset

I think I enjoyed the way Evatt responded to the draw by almost writing it off as a bit of an under-par day at the office and the other results certainly helped. We’ve got some tough assignments ahead, we play 5 of the top 12 in our last eight, there will be disappointments amongst these games but it is how we react to those that will define how our season ends up. A positive mindset will help immeasurably in achieving our aim and I believe Evatt won’t let his troops get too down over the dropped points on Friday.

Massive game today, COYWM!!