Bolton lost 2-0 at Middlesbrough last night, in what was a pretty awful night for anyone who had to watch that.
It was weird, as bad a first performance that was, there will still some chances that we could have taken in the second half that we could and should have taken, but Jonathan Grounds fired over and Josh Vela also missed the chance to equalise.
It was a night where lost of mistakes were made. Phil Parkinson’s team selection seemed odd. It was very defensive, with three central defenders, three deeper-playing midfielders, then probably most confusing of all Josh Vela was used as a strike partner to Josh Magennis. I can only remember one other occasion he tried to play Vela there – a defeat to Oldham two seasons ago. Vela hasn’t always played to his potential, and playing him there surely won’t help.
Defensively though, it was for a while largely job done. The back three handled what came their way, which was a lot considering it was one-way traffic, but then some horrendous decision-making from Gary O’Neil gave the ball away in our own area and George Saville capitalised to put us behind.
Suddenly we were chasing a game with *that* set-up. It took until the second half to get some sort of reaction. Joe Williams managed to slip away now and again, Yanic Wildschut came on and had a few shots, while David Wheater and Jonathan Grounds got forward, perhaps more chancing it rather than a strategic masterstroke.
Britt Assombalonga then came on to score his obligatory goal against us at the death after Marc Wilson’s poor header. I think Parkinson has done an excellent job at Bolton, but that back three just doesn’t work and it always seems to make an unwelcome cameo. Having said that, he can’t be held responsible for individual errors.
Finally, I was one of just under 150 fans to make it to the Riverside. Given the weather and the resulting transport chaos (at one point all trains beyond York were cancelled) we should all give ourselves a pat on the back.