Bolton beat Salford City in tonight’s televised game in what is a welcome boost.
The team news sprang some pleasant surprises. The first one wasn’t that big – Billy Crellin was finally dropped and Matt Gilks was given the gloves. The other names were, almost like one massive bluff. We were effectively told not to expect Eoin Doyle, Gethin Jones or Antoni Sarcevic, but all three started. Jones also started at left wing-back, which provided a possible solution to that particular problem, keeping Peter Kioso on the right.
And it provided a good a performance as we’ve had all season. Gilks, despite his long time between drinks, was assured and commanding, to the point where you could hear him from home, and not because of your TV speakers. When he had to make a save, he made the save, stopping a long range strike from Brandon Thomas-Asante, then also denying Ash Hunter.
That’s not to say we were always in control of the game. We had started well and Sarcevic’s good ball for Doyle, well finished, had gave us a deserved lead. But Salford had a decent spell at the start of the second half, having made a double change, and one of those newbies, Bruno Andrade, should have done far better his chance.
But if luck generally goes against us, it didn’t tonight. Jordan Turnbull, whose name was linked with a move to the UniBol in the summer, was the man who ultimately sealed victory for us, with a volleyed own goal to double our lead, and from there, we were reasonably comfortable, and nobody in a white shirt really had a bad game, which makes a refreshing change.
It’s our first win of the season by more than a single goal, and the first one of those since October last year. Our next three fixtures are against sides below us in the league. We have to use this as a catalyst to kick on now. Let’s hope that’s the case. We’re still only four points off the playoffs.