After the superhuman heroics of holding Coventry City to a 0-0 draw at the weekend, Wanderers were hit with a humbling reality check in a resounding 5-2 defeat against fellow League One side Rochdale.
Bolton took an unexpected but welcome lead after just 14 minutes through the constantly running Ronan Darcy who finished sweetly into the bottom corner to give Wanderers their first goal since April.
After being pegged back to 1-1, Bolton took the lead a second time through 19-year-old Dennis Politic with a goal from close range. However, after showing a lot of promise early on, Wanderers faded out of the game as it progressed and Rochdale pounced with the score eventually reaching a humbling 5-2.
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Return of the seniors
The biggest talking point going into the Rochdale cup tie is that several of Bolton’s senior players were back in the side after missing out at the weekend.
A number of fans quickly jumped at this opportunity to praise the management by giving the young ‘first team’ players a rest by giving the ageing seniors a game in the cup.
And after the biggest defeat of the season so far, calls for the senior players to sit out of the squad more often will only seem more justified.
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A lot of work to do
Despite the heavy defeat, Bolton showed promise with their attacking efforts, not least the young duo of Ronan Darcy and Dennis Politic who managed to net their first professional goals for Bolton, something which hopefully bodes well for the coming season.
However, the eventual result leaves a lot to be desired and raises questions about just how Bolton are going to cope in the campaign ahead.
Arguably the most worrying development from last night was that Liam Edwards, who has been solid at the back so far for Bolton, went off with an injury shortly before Bolton’s second-half collapse and Dennis Politic was withdrawn before the end of last night’s match after battling through a hip injury he picked up in the draw against Coventry.
The only solace Wanderers can take in the humbling defeat is that at least it was only the League Cup but it’s a clear reminder of just how far Bolton have to go this season.