Bolton Wanderers v Venky's Report
5 March 2013
One nil. One moment. One incredible feeling.
I`ve been thinking about the goal all day. The relief, the euphoria, what it means for our season and for our confidence; it was as near to a perfect moment that the Reebok has seen. Sure, there have been great memories in the stadium over the last sixteen years. Beating Manchester United in 2007, beating Arsenal several times, playoff semis, the Carling Cup Semi-final against Aston Villa; all these have their place in recent history. There have been better games, there have been finer goals against finer teams, but nothing has felt better than that.
Thinking about the game and attempting to sieve through the cloud of excitement that surrounds my memory of it, I can now remember that on the whole, it was quite a frustrating match. We were dominant throughout the match, despite having much less of the ball in the first half (we edged it overall), and it was hard to see why we weren`t already far ahead. The performance of the majority of the team was excellent, and right up there with the rest of the wins in our little run. However, a couple players didn`t do anywhere near enough to warrant a start against Brighton on Saturday.
I`ll start with my first culprit, and I know this is going to be polarising. We all need to face the fact that Kevin Davies is not the player he once was. Mrs SKD, if for some strange reason you are reading our 'vile` (in your words) blog, then please do not take this as a lack of respect for our captain, our leader and one of my heroes. Kevin never had the pace, but he fails to be able to make the runs that a team so geared towards a counter attack requires. It is clear that he was picked last night to counteract the strong, physical presence of the Blackburn team; but his ability to win the ball in the air and flick it on to a more technically gifted player, the skill that he has built entire Bolton Wanderers career on, is rapidly dwindling.
When he was replaced by Craig Davies, you could evidently see what we had been missing up front for the rest of the game; and it is no coincidence that we scored the winner after their defence had been stretched by pacier players. There are reports that he has not been offered a new contract, and I think this is the correct call, for both Kevin and Bolton. I just hope that our fans don`t turn on him before the end of season, and remember him for all the good times.
My second culprit is Medo. I think he had a very poor game. He didn`t seem to be able keep up with the pace of the game, or the attacking intent of his teammates. I`m not certain whether this is down to rust, or being new to the club, or more. His touch wasn`t great, and when he passed, he rather opted for a simple pass instead of a more penetrative one, or tried a more complex pass and lost possession. It`s only early days, and it didn`t cost us the points, so I`m willing to give him some time before making a decision on him. Ivan Campo is remembered as one of our finest players of the last twenty years, and I don`t think we rated him very much at the start.
The final player that I`m going to pick on is Andy Lonergan. I don`t think his performance was as bad as SKD`s or Medo`s, but it wasn`t great. He did make some very nice saves, but he is very uncertain at set-pieces, and commands the defence with the control level I have over my bladder after fifteen pints. I`m kidding, I have never wet myself when drunk. I think. I black out sometimes. Moving back onto the keeper, I think he had a solid-ish enough performance for a stand-in keeper, but I think he showed the people calling for him to be number one that Adam Bogdan has that role on merit.
Anyway, despite all that, we won!! I`m confident that we will make it five in a row at the weekend. It`s an exciting time to be a Bolton fan, and it was certainly nice to walk past all the Reds with sunken heads at work today with that victory feeling. Come on you Whites!