Sheffield. City of steel. Somebody should have told the Wednesday defence about that before Chris Eagles’ corner effortlessly found the head of Marcos Alonso, and drifted inside an un-manned post just before half time at Hillsborough on Saturday.
I, along with 2,000 other Wanderers fans, opted to make the trip to Sheffield at the weekend in the hope of seeing the Whites pick up their first point(s) on the road. I didn’t go with hope in my heart; more with a sense of foreboding in my stomach.
Zero points from three previous away trips, and the humiliation of going our of the League Cup to League One’s Crawley Town were Bolton’s away results up until Saturday, so there was good reason for pessimism.
However, things started well on Saturday. I went to the game with a Wednesday fan, and he assured me that he was just as confident as I was – and on a run of three losses on the bounce. That dreaded pre-match hope made its appearance.
The game itself was a comfortable a 2-1 win as you could hope for. Neither team was exceptional, but Bolton were far superior. We created more (Ngog and Eagles guilty of missing great opportunities), and generally looked OK at the back.
In fact, had the Wednesday penalty not been awarded, the scoreline would have been – for me – a fairer reflection of the game.
Alas, it wouldn’t be right to let the game go without criticism. There were still moments where the Bolton team looked like they’d never met before. We still squandered numerous chances to make the game safe. And a free header in the last couple of minutes could have seen all the good work go to waste.
But it didn’t.
The Birmingham result was poor, but six points from Watford (h), Brum (a) and Sheff Wed (a) is not. A win on Saturday and Coyle will have Bolton on something of a “run”. And we haven’t been on a run for a long, long time.
Other positives: Chris Eagles looks like an absolute world beater at this level. Jay Spearing can tackle AND pass. Imagine that.
On to Palace. Come on You Whites!