BWFC: To Hull And Back
After their 1-1 draw with Cardiff, the Wanderers away supporters probably stayed for a couple of drinks before making excuses to travel back north and get settled. The hosts may have tried talking their party-guests into staying longer but wouldn't have minded their early exits so the DJ could crank up the noise. This was Cardiff's day to party- regardless of result- and I'm sure the Whites will be more than happy to leave South Wales with an invite-stub and goody-bag of a Championship point. Craig Noone's late arrival to celebrations made sure the Whites only left with a slice of party cake rather than the whole thing. On the whole, the draw was as fair and predictable a result as someone at a house party drinking too much, starting a fight, then throwing-up in the front street. Happy days...so I've heard.
Dougie did a great job in respecting the home crowd of 25000. His team were calm, professional but looked threatening going forward. I'm sure if he could have chosen the minute Chris Eagles netted the team's solitary goal, it would have been more like the 81st than the 18th. But it was a near-perfect game-plan and one orchestrated by a manager who is showing increasing maturity beyond his years. The home crowd rarely called for blood. Such was the respect and controlled football Wanderers players expressed, for much of the first half and a portion of the second. This culminated in the home fans quite happy to share their joy with the fans from the North West. Around the hour mark, however, Craig Noone was seen showing his studs to the officials on the sideline; the equaliser was inevitable. Surprising, maybe, it came from the midfielder's own boot, but not surprising within 10 minutes of his introduction, the scoreboard read 1-1. A fair result and a point which may mean Wanderers having to deal with Mr Noone again next season.
I could talk more about the Cardiff game, but like you, I'm a Bolton fan. I've seen the goals, listened to the managers and read enough match reports to feel I was on the pitch for the full 90 minutes... and helped erect the stand at full-time. I want to talk about what you're all thinking: Will we? And if so, whom? If you don't know what I'm talking about, get off our forum Wolves fans, we already know your fate.
In my mid-week article I talked about finishing 6th and playing Watford twice or finishing 5th and playing Brighton over two legs. Football being football, there's a new scenario to muse. The six point gap Hull had over Watford for that 2nd automatic promotion place looked insurmountable only a week ago. Hull only had to travel to lowly Barnsley and come away with a win to guarantee promotion. They lost. As it stands, with Watford sauntering up to Leicester and taking 3 points on Friday, if Hull lose on the final day and Watford win or draw, Watford are up. With Crystal Palace having 2 games remaining, Bolton's likeliest finish is the 6th spot. So, which outcome would you rather have? Watford twice or Hull? I'd rather play Hull. The Tigers' last 8 games have seen them score just 5 times, failing to score a solitary goal in their last three outings. If this was free-scoring Watford we were talking about, it could be seen as a temporary blip. But Hull aren't prolific at the best of times- their goal difference of only +9 will testify to this. They've relied heavily on 1-0 or 2-1 wins to get them into the promotion places and what's bared fruit may end up being their short-fall. An away trip to the Reebok will be the last place they'll want to visit with their heaviest defeat of the season still rattling around their heads. I bet a lot of the players after the drubbing thought- thank God we don't have to go there again this season... Football, you've got to love it.
Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself, but not by much. What may be Hull's short-fall this season of a solitary-goal-win, is all Bolton need to finish in the top six. Unless, Forest beat Leicester 5-0. Can we assume, for the sake of this article, that won't happen? Thanks.
I know there are still things about Bolton Wanderers that need rectifying. There are also things about Bolton Wanderers that need improving. Players will leave in the summer, regardless of division we reside, and new faces will enter the Reebok doors. But if Bolton Wanderers were the finished article, what would be the point of all this? There wouldn't be a need for fan-forums to voice our opinions because our opinion would no longer matter. The ever-quest for never-to-be-achieved perfection is why I wear my Bolton shirt with child-like naivety. We strive... That's good enough for me. If we miss out on the play-offs, so what. It just means we look forward to another romantic summer of recruitment, coupled with the promise and ironic hope we promote ourselves out of this exciting league for the pomp of the Premiership. I could handle another season in the Championship, could you? Just the one more, mind...
Great commenting on the last thread. Premier League standard.