Bolton Match Zone

Bolton Start The Season With League Cup Defeat


The Ian Evatt era didn’t get off to a good start today, as Bolton lost at home in the first round of the Carabao Cup to Bradford City.

Wanderers went behind twice, Lee Novak gave the visitors the lead. Antoni Sarcevic would equalise just after the break, but Harry Pritchard scored a late winner.

It was a team full of debutants, as was always going to the case. What Evatt’s strongest team will be will be revealed as time progresses, but it looked strong. Billy Crellin in goal, Gethin Jones at right back, Antoni Sarcevic, Brandon Comley, and the front two of Eoin Doyle and Nathan Delfouneso would have been on most people’s starting lineups.

A possession based game is a big part of what we expect to see under the new management, and today showed that. Wanderers had most of the ball throughout the afternoon, but that didn’t translate into a share of the chances. Bradford had plenty of shots, Billy Clarke got free and had a chip stopped by Crellin before Novak was also denied by the impressive young goalkeeper. Novak would open the scoring though, when it looked that Bolton’s high line would leave us vunerable, they got behind, put a great cross in and Novak turned home.

We responded after that, Ricardo Santos hit the woodwork, whether he meant to shoot or not. Delfouneso, who managed to move around the pitch, was denied by Bradford keeper Richard O’Donnell. Speaking of the strikers, one of the biggest disappointments of the day was Doyle, who was anonymous, and when you could see him, was too deep.

Bolton did show glimpses of promise, and the goal just after half time was an example of that, Antoni Sarcevic side footed home from close range after a good move. We didn’t kick on though, and Harry Pritchard was afforded too much space as he headed home a Bradford winner.

It’s a disappointing day, while you could clearly see how we’re trying to play it’s evident that there is still work to be done. The high line undid us a few times, we weren’t always comfortable with some of the balls out of the back, while Doyle was kept quiet as mentioned, which would have delighted the weirder element of the Bradford fanbase. Gethin Jones seemed to get forward a lot though, so that was promising. But it’s one game, things take time, and a first round League Cup defeat is no reason at all to panic.

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