The ingredients were there. A deserved away victory the previous week and a larger than usual crowd who were more than prepared to get behind the team. But once again Bolton let its fans down. As usual Gary Megson`s post match comments were on the button. As usual, he showed that he has no idea of how to solve his team`s attacking deficiencies.
‘It was a frustrating performance,` he said. ‘But we caused our own problems, certainly in the first half, in that we were too direct.
‘The only option we had was the ball up to Kevin Davies and look for the flick. We spoke about it at half time, played better and created a few more opportunities in the second half but not enough to have won the game.`
Bolton`s best chance came when Matt Taylor hit the outside of the post after a passing move that would have graced any game. A pity that it was very much the exception. Jason Roberts had the chance to put Blackburn one up, just before the interval, but let the ball glance off his forehead when it was easier to score.
That was about it. In ninety minutes of football there was one shot on target, and Matt Taylor`s curling free kick in the first half wasn`t meant as such.
The statistics make grim reading. Bolton have scored one goal in the last three home games. In eight league matches they have hit the net eight times. Six came in two games. Of those, one was an accident, two were due to poor defending and two were goalkeeping errors. Goals from defensive mistakes should be regarded as a bonus. For Bolton, they`re a staple.
Putting the blame for this entirely with Megson would be unfair. Those problems were apparent some time before he took over, but despite having more money to spend than any other manager in Bolton`s history, he has failed miserably to solve them. Cheap tickets and free beer are all very well, but if the football is as enjoyable as a funeral dirge, supporters won`t turn up, no matter what the blandishments.
Jussi Jaaskelainen 6
Nothing to do.
Gretar Steinsson 5
Ineffective going forward. As reliable as an Icelandic Bank at the back.
Jlloyd Samuel 7
A solid defensive performance. It’s getting to be a habit.
Kevin Nolan 7
The finer points of the game will always bypass the skipper, but he worked hard and made himself available in all areas of the pitch.
Andy O’Brien 6
Black marks for missing two goal chances but reliable enough at the back.
Gary Cahill 7
Only let Jason Roberts off the leash once. Fortunately, this time, once wasn’t enough for a striker who has caused Bolton problems in the past.
As ever, lots of endeavor, but having scored his one spectacular strike of the season, Taylor has reverted to only troubling the ball boys with his efforts on goal.
Fabrice Muamba 3
Looking increasingly like a waste of £5 million.
Johan Elmander 5
The effort can’t be faulted, but the World’s least saucy Swedish import has yet to justify that transfer fee, or indeed, his wage.
Gavin McCann 5
Kevin Davies 6
Battled gamely, if not gainfully.
Ricardo Gardner 8
Understandably benched after his international exertions, but his influence was missed, and Bolton’s movement in midfield improve immeasurably when he came on.
Joey O’Brien 4
Needed to get into the game quickly. He didn’t
A pointless substitution with four minutes left.