Oh dear. Just as it seemed Bolton were turning a corner in their season, with some promising results over Christmas, the first game of 2019 brought about a nightmare and Bolton’s worst defeat in three years, a 6-0 thumping at the hands of Hull.
Going into the New Year’s Day fixture, Bolton’s form was, for the first time in months, looking positive.
In the final two games of 2018, Phil Parkinson’s side had picked up four points from a possible six. Not a miraculous amount by any means but just consider that Bolton only earned three points from the previous 13 games preceding that.
Players and fans alike would certainly have looked at the Hull game as another opportunity for Bolton to take something home.
However, Hull, who had won seven of their last 11 games in 2018, had something different in store for the Trotters.
It was always going to be a tricky game for Bolton with Hull just coming off the back of beating promotion-chasing Leeds at the weekend.
But the result goes beyond anything fans had feared going into the match at the KCOM Stadium.
The 6-0 thrashing is Hull’s biggest ever win over the Wanderers.
At half-time, with Hull only leading by one goal, it was always unlikely that Bolton would get anything from the game. But keeping the score to only 1 or 2-0 would probably have been begrudgingly acceptable, you can’t win them all.
But to collapse in the fashion that Bolton did is likely to be the final straw for some.
In only five second-half minutes, Hull’s lead went from one goal to four and the final 6-0 scoreline could have been even worse in truth.
Why did Bolton collapse?
Wanderers have lacked quality all season. It’s been obvious to see for anyone who’s been unfortunate enough to watch them this season.
What won the game against Rotherham and held Stoke to a draw at the end of December was hard work and determination.
But in those five second half minutes at the KCOM Stadium, where Hull’s lead quadrupled, the effort and fighting spirit Bolton showed over Christmas simply disappeared.
In the Boxing Day game against Rotherham, Bolton had players flinging themselves in front of shots to keep their slender lead in tact. But against Hull yesterday, the defence merely looked on as the Tigers left them standing in the biggest defeat in Phil Parkinson’s tenure as Bolton boss.
It’s hard to see any way to remedy the situation Bolton find themselves in.
In an article for the Bolton News, Marc Iles wrote: “Investment is the only thing that will ultimately help Bolton. A change of manager may only be a sticking plaster at this stage.”
It’s a statement that is hard to disagree with. There’s only so far you can go by taking on other club’s rejects, freebies and loanees.
After the worst possible start to 2019, where do you think Bolton can go from here?