Bolton Match Zone

Below Par Bolton Blow First Chance of Promotion


Bolton blew their first chance of automatic promotion as they let slip a half-time lead over Exeter, and went on and lost the game 2-1.

Morecambe’s win at Walsall means it goes down to a final day shootout of sorts, also with an outside chance of us both going up if Cambridge lose again.

It was all going so well too, a good first half performance saw us take the lead, with Gethin Jones being this week’s goalscoring full back, and what a finish it was too. But Exeter aren’t a bad side and they came to the North West with something to play for themselves. Arguably, they needed it more, a loss today would have ended their season but now they have an outside shot of making the playoffs.

Maybe that told in the second half. Maybe they wanted it more than us. Maybe we just didn’t cope with the situation we were in, being 45 minutes from going up. For whatever, it didn’t work out in the second half. We looked nervous, almost afraid to pull the trigger when it was arguably the right time.

As for Exeter, they did manage to pull the trigger. Randell Williams equalised early in the half, then Pierce Sweeney headed in a set-piece deep into injury time. That point lost at the end takes away a slight buffer too. Next week, if we did lose at Crawley, a draw would take Morecambe up, whereas if we at least came away with that point today, then Morecambe would have to beat Bradford.

Exeter were lucky to have eleven men on the pitch, Alex Hartridge should have been sent off for his challenge on Lloyd Isgrove. The last man argument being thrown around isn’t the point, that isn’t the rule anymore. But while you can joke about the quality of finishing, it was, in my eyes, a clear goalscoring opportunity. He was given just a yellow card.

It certainly would have dampened the mood of the welcoming committee outside the stadium. A few hundred fans turned up anyway, and unsurprisingly a few of them were an embarrassment to the club as they managed to get into the stadium after the match, as well as some anti-social behaviour. There are always some.

It was also a bad day for iFollow, who managed to lose the picture for a few minutes. There’s a good chance that Sky decide to show next week’s game, they are allowed to pick one from League Two. If I was them, that would be the game in our division to pick.

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