We won a football match.
Even better, we won it by two whole goals – something that hasn’t happened for 22 months if you’re wondering, not since we beat Cardiff just before Christmas a couple of years ago.
It was a night where the 500-600 Bolton fans travelled to the ‘Mem’, probably one of the worst grounds in English football if you want my opinion, probably expecting the worst after Saturday’s loss to Rochdale and a continuing injury crisis. Keith Hill only named five outfield players on the bench, and ultimately made no subs, although there was no need to change anything given the performance the team put out.
Some relative experience was able to come back into defence though – Josh Earl, young himself but at least has played senior football prior to this season, made his first start since the opening day and performed well, and also settled Yoan Zouma, who had made mistakes the other day.
Bristol Rovers were the better team for about three minutes – Remi Matthews made a good save early on while a floated Nichols shot sailed worrying close to goal but thankfully wide. And from there, we were great – there were plenty chances before we went ahead around the 15 minute mark – Ali Crawford hitting the post being the best of those – so it was deserved when we went ahead, a nice bit of football put through Luke Murphy, much maligned in his time here but excellent last night, who went on to score.
There were some injury scares as the evening went on – both Joe Dodoo and Zouma needed treatment at some stage, but they were fine. Both sides had their chances, but for the first time in a long time it didn’t feel as though we holding onto dear life for a lead. It felt weird to be honest. Come the mid-point through the second half, you could still hear the odd comment on the away terrace about getting halfway through the second half, but seconds later, Daryl Murphy, composed as you like, toe-poked past Anssi Jaakkola to double our lead.
Hopefully, the first of many goals he’ll score this season, and from there we went on to finally take three points, ending a seven month wait for a win. It could be the night where the ‘Keith Hill era really started’ although for that to ring true, a run of good results needs to be put together.
Bring on Lincoln.