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David Nugent Sinks Bolton

Bolton Wanderers
1 - 2
Derby County

Macron Stadium

19 August

Attendance: 15,175


Hahahahahahahahahaha. I thought we were ever so slightly growing into this league, in a position where we might have been able to get a statement result. No. Not at all. Derby were always going to be a test but a first half absolutely blew that theory out of the water.

Whether the Rams specifically had a plan to exploit us in wide areas I don`t know, but that is what happened in a first half where we simply couldn`t lay a glove. A cross came in from their left via Mate Vydra and veteran striker David Nugent needed no invitation to turn the ball home. Having made the Macron a fortress of sorts in League One, in this division we were once again behind early doors on our own turf.

Later in the first half, a goal from a similar plan of attack worked. This time, it was Johnny Russell on the other flank, but Nugent was again in the area, more alert than anybody, and Derby were two up. And let`s not dress this up, they had other chances. Gary Rowett reckoned they could have been four or five up at the break, and they certainly missed two big chances. We should have been 4-0 down at the break. Vydra volleyed narrowly over the bar, and Andre Wisdom of all people firing wide.
The second half, was in fairness, better. That may have been down to Derby downing tools a little, but it did allow us a few chances. Unfortunately, in terms of the result, we could only make it interesting in injury time. Gary Madine had started to have a bit more space having been pretty ineffectual in the first half. A few minutes earlier, there was a nice flick to play In a player, but then Madine got free in the 18 yard box to at least soil Derby`s clean sheet.

It is only four games in, but today was a crossroads of sorts. Imagine an alternative universe where we won this game. Five points from four, a home win off our back, would have given us a bit of confidence and an unequivocal good start to the season. Instead, we`re still winless, have a tricky game at Hull next weekend, and then an international week. We`ve started poorly before of course, but tough league or not we simply cannot afford to be a soft touch at home. On the flip side, we`ve played four games. No need for hot-takes, just yet.

Star Player

Reece Burke - Star Player might be putting it nicely. I feel obliged to pick a Bolton player, being a Bolton site. Of course there would have been a number of Derby players who had a better game. Burke was the best of our back line at least, he could pass a lot better than any of our other players in a game where any successful passes were generally sideways, he managed to snuff out more danger than anyone else (officially making more interceptions than any other player) could and put in a few tackles. I didn`t want to get excited about him and Cullen signing, but Burke has done fairly well over these opening few games in my opinion.

Writer:Anthony Hart
Date:Saturday August 19 2017
Time: 11:16PM

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