Wanderers put the weekend defeat behind them and offered up the best Bolton performance in a long time.
Going into last night’s match against Oxford United, it’s safe to say that many of the Bolton faithful weren’t expecting much.
After the 6-1 hammering at the weekend, it was a nervy few minutes leading up to kick-off as the Bolton team Keith Hill had selected was identical to the one that fell to defeat at Rotherham, except for the introduction of Will Buckley and Jason Lowe to the starting line up.
Almost unbelievably, Wanderers showed absolutely no sign that they’d just lost 6-1 and came out with a gutsy and spirited performance that certainly got heads turning.
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Right from the first whistle, and for the first half an hour or so, Bolton were absolutely on top in the game and could easily have bagged a goal or two ahead of half-time.
But it was the complete shift in playing style from the Parkinson era that surely will create the most buzz. Gone were the long hoofs forward, for the most part, and in came some genuinely entertaining football.
The most shocking thing all match was seeing defender Jack Hobbs take the ball down with the same grace, almost, as Barcelona’s Gerard Pique.
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Going forward, particularly with Thibaud Verlinden on the left side of midfield, Wanderers looked a real threat and had Oxford on the ropes for large sections of the first-half before tiring after around 30 minutes.
It may not quite have been the miracle of a win but the 0-0 and vital clean sheet is a minor miracle in and of itself after the Rotherham game on Saturday.
While Bolton’s 0-0 against Coventry early in the season celebrated pure survival, last night’s 0-0 was a clear celebration of what is to come from Keith Hill and if he and David Flitcroft can get Wanderers playing like the first half-hour for longer periods in a game and they look a real, real threat.
More of the same please, gents.