Bolton Match Zone

Disappointing Night Sees Bolton Lose To Hartlepool


It’s okay, nobody wanted to go to Wembley anyway, didn’t they?

We were handed a winnable tie in the last 16 of the EFL Trophy, away to Hartlepool, and it went wrong.  A strong Bolton side was picked, but they couldn’t take their chances, maybe their chances weren’t good enough, maybe Hartlepool defended well in the positions that mattered. There were some people who thought we had dominated that match, that’s hard to agree with. We had moments where we put on the pressure and could have, should have even scored. But so did Hartlepool, who started well and had moments of their own – in fact they had more attempts on target than we did over the course of the night.

It’s match we could have put away with more intricacy, but we didn’t, and it always increased the chance of a late sucker punch, but it would have been hard to envisage one as comically bad as what happened. There isn’t an issue per se with playing out from the back, it’s almost the done thing now. But don’t do it for the sake of doing it, and players have to use their brains. Seemingly Joel Dixon didn’t when despite having Matty Daly right in front of him, still gave the ball straight to him and the rest was history. It did trigger a bit more intensity from us as we tried to come back, but it was to no avail.

Three more players are expected in this month, and arguably another keeper needs to be one of them now. Matt Gilks isn’t a viable long-term alternative, given his age, regardless of how loud he can shout at other people. But, and it’s safe to assume this will be looked at in the window, but the midfield. Nathan Delfouneso was effectively playing in a central midfield role at times. That’s not right. As for the two debutants, Marlon Fossey looked alright going forward, if sometimes in a bit of a battle defensively, while Dion Charles got an hour under his belt with a couple of chances, Unfortunately, it looks like a ban is coming his way after those tweets were dragged up.

It’s just the league to concentrate on now, and an important few weeks ahead to make sure the latter weeks of the season don’t see us in a relegation scrap, because that’s what even the more pessimistic fans won’t have expected in August.

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