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BWFC: All Those Little Things

BWFC: All Those Little Things
If it was a game of chess, we lost a knight. If it was a game of tennis, we had our service broken. If it was a game of American Football, we fumbled in great field position. It was a blip, a blot, a hitch or any other one-syllable word you want to use for the defeat at Leicester.

Again, I won't focus entirely on the game of football we played at the King Power Stadium because you'll have already read umpteen match reports, all of them ending with the same result. I want to focus on the nitty-gritty. The things the independent reporters at the game don't feel or see. Things only fans can sense. The small victories... The little things.
Bolton Wanders lost a game of football away from home which they could easily have won. That's been the story of our season and nothing new. This was different, however.

The other capitulations away from the Reebok this season have been warranted, self destructions with little-to-no fight for redemption. This one saw Bolton Wanderers fighting to the death for something they believed they deserved. Yes, you could say the quick-fire double from Leicester at the end of the first period was a self-destruction of sorts, but the response from the Whites was superb. Craig Davies struck fear into the Leicester defence and we even saw a cameo from Tom Eaves. Bolton should have come away with at least a point for their efforts. Davies smashed one against the bar and Schmeichel made 2 world-class saves to deny Pratley and Alonso. We lost a game of football but I witnessed a fight and spirit long missing from the Whites' performances for several seasons. It was Leicester's night...nothing more. A win for Leicester, a small victory for us. A little thing...

Yet again, the results from other significant fixtures went in favour of the Whites. Brighton drew at Posh picking up a solitary point and Palace & Forest lost again. I'm sure most Bolton supporters are looking up enviously at the teams above in the league table. Brighton sit on 66 points, Leicester leap-frogged us on 64 points and Crystal Palace have a game-in-hand to go with their 66 point tally. Hustling for a play-off spot at the right end of the league table is a situation Bolton haven't been involved with for over a decade. Unfortunately, for several seasons during their Premiership stay, Wanderers became more accustomed to the infamous relegation dogfight. You may then think that the 'points in the bag' are what matters at this stage of the season. In a relegation battle, that's correct; they're priceless. In the battle for promotion, however, they're either a target on your back, like a bulls-eye to aim for, or, in Palace's situation... Well, let me put this to you: Would you rather have 63 points where you have won 7of the last 10 games making you one of the form teams in the league, or would you have 66 points and failed to score a single goal in the last 5 games, picking up 1 point out of the last 15? Maybe you're bagging the points and maybe you're correct to do so. What I do know for sure is, however, Crystal Palace supporters with 66 points and sitting 5th will be a lot more nervous than the Bolton fans sitting 7th. A little thing...

Alert for all you pessimistic, glass-half-empty supporters who read the site. I may be crazy and losing the plot after constantly seeing light where there is obvious darkness, but I'm going to find optimism in injury. There's no doubt the loss of Jay Spearing is a major blow to our hopes of a play-off spot. He's been a constant in a season of fluctuation. David Ngog, however, is as divisive as the late Maggie Thatcher. Dropping someone with the skill and intangibles of Ngog from the line-up must be almost impossible for Dougie to do, especially for a Championship club, regardless of his goals-per-game ratio. Now the decision has been made for him and it may work in his and our favour. Hear me out. With Ngog out for the season, Mr Freedman will have no choice but to play the more prolific of his striking contingent. I don't know whether Marvin Sordell, Craig Davies and Tom Eaves have the goals in them collectively to fire us into the play-offs, but I do know they are out-and-out strikers who think goals...nothing else. Tom Eaves is undoubtedly going to get more playing time with Ngog out of the picture. Can you imagine the lift it would give him, the team and the fans if he scores the winner at the Reebok against 'Boro? A little thing...?

Tuesday 16th April was a day we lost a game of football. It was also a day where Bolton fans should find a number of positives from the rubble. I'm sure supporters will see different pictures and shapes from that game we lost, proving football is subjective. The fact is, however, Bolton are still very much in the hunt for a top-six finish and showing no signs of doubt. They should also be aggrieved in defeat, they should be buoyed by the unified support they are getting from the terraces and also find undoubted positives from seemingly barren situations.

I'm finding solace in the detail... All those little things..

Date:Thursday April 18 2013
Time: 8:10PM


Lovely article, I couldn't agree more.
18/04/2013 21:02:00
At this stage in the season, its far better to have the points on the board than to be fighting for them, secondly having to win our games and be reliant on other teams losing is anything but ideal, in fact its bad desperately bad. Thirdly, form is irrelevant we lost at Leicester which underscores this very point, we also lost at Ipswich and Charlton games the form book had us down as favourites to win. With only 3 games left the odds are now seriously stacked against us : if we fail to beat Middlesbrough and Leicester and Brighton win their next games, its over, forget the remaining games it would be over. Even a victory under those circumstances would not improve our current position. As a realist I feel the Leicester defeat was literally the final nail in the coffin, collectively losing three of the last four away games has cost us dearly, maybe our expectations were built on a premise of hope rather than anything more substantial. Mathematically it is all now subject to if this and if that, desperate conditions with no margins for error including events we have no control over. I cannot share the same level of optimism BWFC 85 writes about above, when I look at rubble whatever I may claim to see does not change the fact its rubble, we needed points you get no points for positives. Last season late events transpired to send us down, whether late events will now transpire to send us into the play offs remains to be seen. Others have corrected me in stating we went down last year because of previous bad results, the same may be true this time around. Is my glass half empty or is it half full, whichever way you choose to look at it, the level remains the same.
aussie mike
18/04/2013 21:23:00
Forgot to say - I agree the article was a lovely piece of work, many thanks to BWFC 85 for his effort, appreciated.
aussie mike
18/04/2013 21:31:00
Totally agree. Very well expressed piece. The other little thing is that although we are chasing the points, the pressure is off us. If we make it into the play offs on the basis of a brilliant last quarter of a season it will be a bonus for us, as opposed to a gut-wrenching disappointment to Leicester, who would be the most likely to lose out after a whole season in the frame for automatic promotion. The pressure's all on those above.
Skopelos Chris
18/04/2013 22:04:00
So no SKD then?
18/04/2013 23:36:00
Game lost by DF tactics. Sordell and Eaves should have come on after they had scored their second goal when even blind Freddie (Mike will know who he is!) could see that N'goals was totally ineffectual as a lone "striker". Team magnificent. That is why we gave them a standing ovation after the final whistle for their "never say die" attitude
19/04/2013 08:14:00
Bring back Stu S A
19/04/2013 08:15:00
This game was one of the very few when I left the game still pretty happy having seen a good game where my team bust a gut for the shirt and there were no shirkers. As usual we were not playing with 11 men though. 9 on the night - N'goals and Butterfield were both passengers and hinderences.
19/04/2013 08:18:00
A stat on Bogdan diving the “wrong” way for penalties would be interesting. Off the top of my head I can only remember him going the “right” way once. Surely they do a lot of studying opposing teams historical penalties? I would expect a keeper’s stats to be a minimum of 50/50.
19/04/2013 09:09:00
I totally agree with everything said in this article and wholeheartedly disagree with Mike. The number of points you have after 42, 43, 44 or 45 games is irrelevant. It's how many you have after 46 that matters. And if you're going to end up finishing between 3rd and 6th, it's absolutely not what you want to end up having lost to get there rather than having won to get there. The form team is almost always the one who gets promoted - the last obvious counterexample I can think of is us in 1995...
19/04/2013 10:28:00
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