Josh Magennis is Wanderers’ top scorer this season. As a target man, he’s been instrumental to the way Bolton play under Phil Parkinson.

Most of Bolton’s passes are aimed at the striker and Saturday’s draw with Millwall highlighted just how important Magennis’ presence is to this Bolton side.

(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

With Wanderers leading 1-0 at half-time and creating chances, there was hope that they could hold on and win their first game since September.

Naturally with Bolton, it wasn’t to be.

But why?

Magennis had picked up a dead leg during the first half and was forced off during the break.

In his place came 34-year-old Clayton Donaldson. With him up front on his own, it would be unlikely that Bolton would add to their lead.

(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Predictably, the second half saw a return of the nervous and wasteful Bolton side that has slipped down the table in recent weeks, and as the defence and midfield retreated further into their own box, an equaliser was to be expected.

But if we look at Magennis’ departure at half time, we can see the turning point in the game.

The stats

As the spearhead in attack, most passes are aimed at him and in the first half this worked well with Bolton winning 29 aerial battles. But without the towering figure of Magennis to aim for, they only won 15 in the second period.

(Photo by David Shipman – CameraSport via Getty Images)

It’s a similar story when it comes to possession too, with Bolton managing 40% in the first half but only a meagre 26% in the second.

Of course, this could also be in part due to the defensive attitude of the team as a whole. But as the first half with Magennis was much more fruitful than the second half without him, it’s an easy conclusion to come to.

Thankfully, according to Bolton News journalist Marc Iles, Magennis’ injury isn’t as bad as first feared and he should be fit to play against Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow night.

If Bolton can replicate their first half performance for the full game against Sheffield Wednesday could they have a chance of victory?

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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