1) Team Spirit
When Ipswich took the lead after just five minutes, Wanderers fans had that familiar feeling. Bolton Wanderers don’t win at Portman Road. It was going to be another long day on the pitch, and an even longer trip home.
This team doesn’t care for the dark chapters of our recent history. They’re here to write their own. Freed from the shackles of the past under Ian Evatt, this version of Bolton Wanderers is here to create something special.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that Evatt’s side responded with a quick fire double to take the lead. Nor should we be shocked that an Ipswich equaliser on the half hour mark was met with three more Bolton goals.
The frustrations of the Burton Albion draw on Monday night seem a distant memory. Somebody was going to be on the end of a hammering. Unfortunately for The Tractor Boys, it was their turn. After all, a win at Portman Road was long overdue.
2) Left Back Competition
Entering the season, Declan John was everybody’s first choice at the left back position. John hasn’t quite hit the levels of performance he enjoyed in League Two, with his season hit by illness and injury.
It was a tough day at the office for Liam Gordon, who had the tough task of keeping Wes Burns at bay. Twice in the second half, Gordon was beaten in the build up to Ipswich goals, although the first appeared to be a foul on the Bolton man.
I fear we haven’t seen the best of either of our left backs yet, but there is a healthy competition for that place in the side. Better is to come from both Gordon and John. May the best man win.
3) Cutting Edge
The Whites failed to score in eight of their League Two fixtures last year. Even against inferior opposition, there were games where we simply never looked like scoring. History repeated itself away at Cambridge. Although Bolton drew a blank at home to Burton Albion, they did everything but score. Kieron Lee was wrongly denied by the linesman’s flag, and a late foul on Nathan Delfouneso rescued The Brewers from a last minute penalty.
Bolton Wanderers are currently averaging two goals per game in League One fixtures this season. It is a small sample size, but the early signs are promising. A much-needed cutting edge will serve the side well in a possible promotion challenge.
4) Josh Sheehan is magic
He wears a magic hat.
What a sexy, sexy footballer we have on our hands in the form of Welsh international Josh Sheehan.
He is brave in possession, always wanting the ball under pressure and looking for space once it is at his feet. Simply put, he keeps us ticking.
His finish for Bolton’s fourth goal yesterday was textbook Sheehan. Where most players in that situation would go for power over precision, he stroked the ball into the far corner of the net.
With a slim 3-2 lead at the time, the next goal was crucial. Sheehan provided it after some good work from his midfield partner Antoni Sarcevic, and sent Bolton on their way to a long awaited away win in Suffolk.
5) Dapo Afolayan
What more can be said about the birthday boy’s performance?
Afolayan was at his electric best. He terrorised opposite number Kane Vincent-Young, who was substituted after just twenty minutes. There is no greater compliment from an opposing team’s management than that.
Afolayan scored a brace to make himself Wanderers’ top goalscorer so far this season. He provided another when he was fouled for Eoin Doyle’s penalty.
Enjoy Dapo Afolayan while you can. If he continues in this form, he won’t be a League One player for very long. Let’s hope another promotion here at Bolton Wanderers is the cause. Whatever happens, he is sure to have his admirers further up the football pyramid.
The one disappointment for the birthday boy came off the field. Afolayan was subject to yet another example of sickening racism on the football terraces. Ipswich Town are aware and we hope will deal with the individuals involved appropriately and severely.
It would be shocking if it wasn’t all too predictable. Earlier this week, Wanderers attacker Elias Kachunga was the subject of racist abuse online. If anyone continues to doubt why our players take a knee at the onset of each fixture, this week was your answer.