Bolton’s hopes of achieving a fourth league win in a row were trampled on Saturday as Wanderers were put to the sword by Accrington Stanley in embarrassing fashion.
Keith Hill’s side blasted themselves into an early lead as Daryl Murphy netted for the fourth game running in a matter of minutes.
What followed, however, will surely go down as one of the worst defeats in Bolton’s history after Josh Earl conceded a penalty and was harshly sent off by referee Anthony Backhouse.
It’s obvious that Bolton totally fell apart against Accrington but apart from losing their heads at Josh Earl’s sending off, just where did Keith Hill’s team struggle specifically?
Crosses, to put it simply.
Apart from the penalty, all of Accrington’s goals came from wide areas of the pitch, whether low balls into the box or high crosses in the air.
Once Josh Earl was sent off, the choice to put Liam Bridcutt into defence wasn’t the most inspired of decisions. Despite Bridcutt’s obvious talent in defensive midfield, he is only 5’7 so he wasn’t winning any headers.
By the time that was rectified and Yoan Zouma came on to plug the gap in defence, Bolton were already 3-1 down and it looked more like a question of how many.
This is the second time Bolton have completely collapsed after going 1-0 up within the first five minutes.
In Keith Hill’s first match in charge, away at Rotherham, Wanderers took an early lead and went on to completely fall apart with crosses into the box proving to be the root cause of the problem yet again.
Of course, the somewhat questionable sending off won’t have helped the players’ mentality but to totally dissolve following the controversial decision is tough to take.
Wanderers have an instant opportunity at revenge, though, as their next match is once again away from home against Accrington Stanley, this time in the EFL Trophy.