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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..
The Journalist

Writer: bwfc_85 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday April 18 2013

Time: 8:10PM

Your Comments

Lovely article, I couldn't agree more.
Boltongav
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
Forgot to say - I agree the article was a lovely piece of work, many thanks to BWFC 85 for his effort, appreciated.
aussie mike
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
So no SKD then?
Muur
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
Pedro1874
Bring back Stu S A
Pedro1874
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.
Pedro1874
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.
Pedro1874
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...
robmoss2k
Thanks for the reminder Rob!!!!
Boltongav
I struggle to see what there is to be gloomy about. We lost a game that we played well in and it was away against a team that have been very good over the season. I do believe Ngog and butterfield should have gone off for spell and eaves early on if they played at all. However just remember how we all felt on boxing day for example. We would never have believed we would be in this position back then.
Boltongav
Eggsactly! Whoderthoughtit?
Pedro1874
Sanmi (Sammy) Odelusi, well known to us frequenters of the County ground must be busting a gut to get on the pitch. He is very fast and unpredictable and would be well worth 15 mins at the end of the game
Pedro1874
Thanks for the article - good stuff bwfc_85.
Pedro1874
Can't see df playing odelusi though.
Boltongav
Sanmi Odelusi did come on in the 82nd minute against Charlton away, and by all accounts all he managed to do was foul someone - we may have been down to 10 men when he came on but he still managed to almost completely avoid the ball for 15 minutes (including the 7 of added time).
robmoss2k
I fail to understand why Robmoss suggests the points on the board after 43 games is irrelevant, Cardiff, Hull and Watford might disagree. Brighton currently occupy 4th spot with 3 more point's than ourselves, which equates to one more solitary victory, would anyone prefer to see us in Brighton's position right now ? of course we all would. Will Brighton still be in the play offs after 46 games ? who knows, will we be in the play offs after 46 games ? who knows, What I do know is having another 3 points to our name at the 43 game stage is a luxury we would kill for right now. With a maximum 9 points remaining and an away game at the champions elect still to come the best we might reasonably hope for is another 6 points and this looks more like the absolute minimum, we could even need all 9 points. It seems to be a three horse race for that last play off spot ( ourselves Leicester & Forrest) we are effectively 2 points behind Leicester as it stands, in truth should we get the 6 points at the close, we remain dependant on Leicester getting no more that 4 points from their three games and Forrest no better than 5 or 6 points - although goal difference might then count on the latter. So we need to win at least 2 of the 3 games and hope the others stumble, its always possible but another 3 points in the bag at this moment would have made the final odds so much better, all the supporters the players and DF himself would agree and that's a fact.
aussie mike
I dont believe it is beetter to have the points in the bag for the teams around us, barring Hull and Cardiff. The other teams have all been up at the top all season and look to have stagnated and declined while us and Forest have come up on the blind side to make a challenge. I believe the momentum is with us and we can do it, contrary to the view of most people on here i believe we will miss N'Gog a lot, holds the ball up well and brings other players into the game, yes is goal return is poor but he offers more than that. Saying that, i am looking forward to a potential Sordell/Cravies/Eaves frontline tomorrow
moonpig1
I therefore assume everyone is pleased we lost at Leicester, god forbid had we another 3 points to our name.
aussie mike
I can't agree regarding Ngog, he doesn't hold the ball well at all when compared to skd. It bounces of him at times and generally he tries to beat one to many people before taking a shot.
Boltongav
Having played catch-up for a few days reading all the writings, here's my tuppenceworth. I am, by nature, both a skeptic and a cynic but my drinking vessel of choice generally contains simply a half of its intrinsic volume. Admittedly, prior to OC's departure and DF's appointment, that half volume was veering more towards empty than full. It is now veering resiliently in the opposite direction. In historical management terms, Megson was pretty disastrous; OC was undoubtedly a decent bloke but not a lot better really (as Mike said "the wrong job at the wrong time" & I agree he should have gone at the end of last season); Phillips perhaps should have had more time. So to DF...I didn't see him coming at the time & didnt agree with his appointment. I wanted MickMack. Megson's reign was a series of lurches, OC's was a constant, slow decline; neither really had a handle on transfer policy or any serious policy of analysis of opponents. Indeed I think it was SkopelosChris who described OC's reign as a shambles which, with hindsight, is probably correct. We were relegated from the BARCLAYS promised land last season & rightly so (all teams finish where they deserve to); as I think Gav said the first ten games did for us & we never recovered. But we had plenty more games to turn it round & OC couldn't engineer that. DF tinkered for a while as he got to know the players but was presumably working on systems on the training pitch. As he has grown into the job these systems have allied to solidity, belief and fight. He has had obvious expectations of the players & they have taken those on to the pitch. If there is one thing I think we can all agree on we are now in a position that none of us would have imagined a few months ago. We have had a superb run of results, albeit with a few setbacks, mostly down to a a bit of steel in our play, an ability long-missing to grind out wins which, combined with the nervy poor form of our direct competitors has rocketed us up the league. I think we can all say we are happier Whites fans now than a few months ago. I have said this before...we need a prolific goal scorer; I want to see us take teams to the cleaners now and then. I know you only get 3 points if you win 1-0 or 15-0 but when you are fighting for a play-off place when goal difference may be a factor this could be important. And that is not down to the rub of the green; at least not all the time. Anyway, if we get play-off action or not, I will be happier at the end of this season than last. DF seems to have righted the good ship BWFC, the players seem to be better organised and we all have more faith in our club. Nobody has moaned about Gartside for days!! DF has a list apparently & a tan acquired whilst compiling it so who knows what comings and goings can be anticipated. Future so bright we got to wear shades?? Oh, and I hope SKD does get a testimonial; he deserves one.
FredMadagascar
We will miss Spearing. I like the cut of his jib. As for Ngog...hmmmm. Never rated him at Liverpool, don't think he has done it for us either. You want a 9 on your back (metaphorically), you had better bang in some goals. Now he is out the Sordell/Cravies/Eaves axis has a chance to shine. Starting with a hat full against Boro.
FredMadagascar
I don't think anyone is pleased we lost at Leicester. I do however see the point of view we are on the up while palace and leicester are struggling. That said I would rather have the three points than not and I'm sure everyone else would too. Come on mike you can't really be that unhappy with things at the moment.
Boltongav
Dear Boltongav I am truly delighted with the turnaround this year and as excited as anyone with the chance of possibly making the play offs - I want success for the team that bad it churns me up. My worry is the Leicester defeat was a massive blow to our chances, a game we truly deserved to get something from kicked us in the teeth. The game was a true 6 pointer and far more important than any of our previous games of late. As it is the scenario has changed completely - Leicester now have another chance - they will be firing on 6 pistons going all out to get the 5 points they need, I have nightmares about Sutton rediscovering lost form, to take them into the play offs at our expense, possibly by one bloody point ! hypothetical blarney that sums up my pragmatic fear as I study the maths. I think of Market Garden and our war heroes who faced a bridge to far. Fast forward 58 years, whatever transpires so be it.
aussie mike
Lovely article, a really good read. We are in the zone and fighting for it, I am truly happy at the moment about our game
ChicoryCoffee
Ooops came on to see the preview and poll. Hopefully a big crowd for the next two home games to spur the lads on. Looking forward to seeing Eaves show the others what a striker is supposed to do!
Pedro1874
I'm saying nothing I'll just end up in trouble.
Boltongav
Mike, when you are doing your sums regarding the last two games( i write this after the Boro win) bear in mind two things. Firstly, we now play a Cardiff team that have guaranteed top spot, so hopefully they've already starting drinking heavily. And more importantly, the two danger teams for us regarding our playoff spot- Leicester and Forest, cannot both win their last game of the season because they play each other..
swedebwfc
Leicesters other remaining game is against Watford who still have hopes of a second place finish.. Its possible that losing to Cardiff and beating Blackpool still might be enough for us to hang on to sixth.
swedebwfc
Leicesters other remaining game is against Watford who still have hopes of a second place finish.. Its possible that losing to Cardiff and beating Blackpool still might be enough for us to hang on to sixth.
swedebwfc
Its even possible that we could lose both games and still finish sixth.
Boltongav
 

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