Bolton lost their opening match of this season’s EFL Trophy as Crewe ran out 3-2 winners at the University of Bolton Stadium.
The biggest concern from the evening would be the quality of defending. It should probably be mentioned that Crewe are a league higher than us, so a single goal defeat is hardly the end of the world. But defensively we need to improve massively. Teams are able open us up with simple balls behind, and plenty of teams will try and do that.
The first goal was conceded from a set-piece header from Mickel Mandron, the second was a very good finish from Owen Dale, with Billy Crellin left stranded, but you can’t help but feel everyone had switched off for a second in the aftermath of some substitutions. There would be that lack of concentration for the Crewe winner too, a foul from which Mandron converted the decisive penalty.
The first half felt quite sloppy going forward too. Jak Hickman delivered some great balls in all night, but often we were giving the ball away in midfield, which didn’t seem to be the case on Saturday. We were much better in the second half though, showing a lot of promise. Ali Crawford was our best player, being involved in both goals. We equalised twice, Ryan Delaney turning a ball in, before Shaun Miller was rewarded for a bright showing with his first goal for the club. Eoin Doyle was far more involved tonight, and really should have put his shot on target when played through, but somehow put it the wrong side of the post.
Arguably we were the better side in the second half, Ian Evatt does need to address these defensive deficiencies, as our attacking play alone won’t get us back into League One. But there was promise there, and if we can get the defensive side fine we’ll win games.