Bolton won their first game of 2021 with a 2-0 victory over Leyton Orient today.
It was a deserved performance. Wanderers have often played well in small patches, often when the damage. was already done, but today saw a strong performance right through the side, from the get-go.
While in some ways it was partially forced, Ian Evatt still surprised many by making six changes, the key ones were bringing Harry Brockbank in at right back, Alex Baptiste in for Ryan Delaney, while Kieran Lee came back into midfield after an injury absence, while Arthur Gnahoua, after some decent performances off the bench of late, was finally freed.
The two centre backs were largely strong, and we could have led very early on, with Nathan Delfouneso picked out, but denied by a decent save from the Orient keeper.
Eoin Doyle was also denied a spectacular strike, going for it from range and it had to be tipped away. It was a much better first half performance than those of late.
The second half seemed to start a bit tighter, which was worrying, but Bolton eventually did get the breakthrough. Ian Evatt will probably be very satisfied it came in the way he seems to want us to attack, a teasing, low cross from Nathan Delfouneso looked to have been tapped in by Brockbank, but Eamon Brophy was instead credited with an own goal.
We very quickly made it two. Doyle wasn’t quite on top form today, but he still managed to reach double figures for the season and from there we looked very comfortable. We could have had more, maybe we should have had more.
Zack Elbouzedi came on and wasted a couple of chances, while Delfouneso put another one over the bar in stoppage time.
A much better result and performance than of late, but now this is something we need to do on a far more regular basis.