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Bolton Wanderers 1 v 2 Ipswich Town
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 1st December 2012 Kick-off 15:00
blue added 17:12 - Dec 1

slowerball added 20:39 - Dec 1
Marvellous - in a word. The game saw us get gradually better, especially in the second half and the substitutions worked extremely well. Their goal so early had us thinking the flood gates would open as per the Foxes and Palace away game debacles; thankfully those feelings were very wrong and there were many dogged performances throughout the team. Think we should have closed Mark Davies down before he hit, what was to be fair, a tremendous strike, Hendo having no chance. He did do well to tip an Andrews effort over the bar early on. Barnett put himself about a bit and Dudley was busy, but they were feeding on scraps really - don't think the service from either flank was fantastic today, although better from the left side in the second period. Drury was a disappointment in all honesty and he was rightly substituted. Edwards I think struggled and was moved to right back later on in the game, when Orr went into centre mid, the latter doing okay and looking physical and active throughout - he put in a few robust challenges, good to see to be honest. Still not convinced by Cresswell I have to say, an opinion that won't be shared by many... Martin didn't have a good game, but hit a very nice effort from a well-worked, centrally placed free-kick. What looked like a training ground routine created the opportunity but was well saved by Bogdan between the Trotter's sticks, palmed away to Orr who hit a decent strike but over the top from an acute angle to the right side of the goal.

JET showed some decent form, good feet and was very physical in a couple of shoulder to shoulder challenges. Had he not ballooned an opportunity wide and high when he cut in from the right wing, beating several players, it would have been the goal of the season! The manager will be pleased with his display.

DJ took a decent spot kick to equalise - the pen was nailed on, good work from Orr to put Murphy through who did well, took a nice touch to beat a man before being brought down. No complaints by the home team over either the pen or the subsequent booking. Leading goalscorer Dudley was replaced by Chopra with 15 to go. Chops got booked having just come on for silliness really, but he actually looked sharp. Martin hit a shot towards the near post from the left hand side, saved by the keepers feet. From the resulting corner, Chopra did well to follow the Orr shot that Bogdan spooned and bundled it in, and should really have scored a second, but was perhaps trying to be a bit too clever having worked a good opening after some clever movement off the ball.

Our support deserved the victory and we thoroughly enjoyed it when it came. The home crowd, who could at the very best have been described as lacklustre, did nothing to assist their team in putting the game to bed in the first half, which with another goal before the break could have been the case. Having been at the Reebok when we got hammered 4-1 (four nil down at halftime and basically relegated - a fantastic strike by Jamie Clapham in the second half) it was great to experience victory and - possibly - the resurgence of our club?

£9 for the lad, who enjoyed a hot chocolate / Kit-Kat combo at half time.

A deserved win by a team gradually gaining confidence and now scoring goals. We need to be able to grit it out from time to time which we did in the parts of this game - no bad thing. The centre backs battled and worked hard, if not completely assured and calm at times. Man-of-the-match for me was N'Daw, but there were other good performances and as a team we did well. Chopra and JET's contributions will have really pleased the manager. (By the way, does anyone know where we put Jason Scotland?)...

There is a long way to go, but a few more decent performances and one or two more wins, let's then see what movement takes place in January and I think we'll be well set for a good second half to the season. All in all a very decent display, certainly as the second half progressed. I'm sure McCarthy has a very good idea where he needs to strengthen and who perhaps are surplus to requirements.

cbower added 23:09 - Dec 1
It was pretty damn cold at the Reebok today and when the Trotters took an early lead with a sweet Davies strike from distance (that we failed to close down), I must confess I wondered what I had let the boy and myself in for (not another Foxe-like mauling was definitely on my mind). The boys started slowly and the home side threatened to really take advantage of our fragility but credit where it's due, there was no capitulation and after 20 minutes the game was generally pretty even (but dull) to be honest. Before the opening goal, Campbell appeared to spurn a shooting chance when he elected to pass to Martin but to be fair, we did not create too much in the first 45. Martin brought a decent save from Bogdan with a well worked free kick routine, Orr blazing the rebound over. Barnett won more than his share of headers and looks like he brings something we have been lacking. The Wanderers TV on the concourse at half-time said 61% possession for Town but all things considered, The Trotters were defintely good value for their one goal lead.
The second period seemed set to replicate the opening minutes of the game. Kevin Davies looked certian to put the home side two up on 50 minutes but Henderson made a fine save to keep the score at 1-0. A few minutes later, MM made some fairly bold changes. Murphy and JET replaced Drury and Barnett. I was glad to see Drury depart as he was not giving the team anything. Barnett, on the other hand, had put in a decent shift. The new gaffer has been lauded by many for his "round pegs in round holes" philosophy so it was surprising to see Carlos revert to right-back and Orr take up a central midfield role alongside N'Daw (with JET wide right). However, to be fair the tactical switched actually saw the boys improve. Orr was an improvement on Drury in the middle of the park, adding bite and an unexpected forward drive that had hitherto been lacking. Without really creating chances, the tide started to turn a little. I have been very critical of Murphy in the past but today his contribution was really positive. He put himself about a bit more, ran with the ball with genuine purpose and actually jumped for some 50/50 headed balls. It was the big Irishman who won the penalty on 70 minutes that brought us level when he was clearly upended by Mears after a through ball by Orr. Campbell dispatched the spot kick low to Bogdan's right and we celebrated wildly. Five minutes later, DJ departed to an ovation and Chops was given the final 15 to make an impact. Within three, he had entered the referee's book but he had a more signficant contribution still to come. JET showed some more physicality on occasion but he also reminded us of his lovely skills, beating three so beautifully that we were all baying for him to shoot from distance. He did but it was woefully high, wide and not very hansome. Martin had an excellent chance as the game entered the final few minutes but Bogdan saved the home side with his legs. Whilst not exactly one-way traffic, Town were certainly the more likely to win the game and Murphy went close and was only denied by the long legs of Knight who deflected a goalbound effort wide as the game move into the 90th minute. The resultant corner was headed clear, fell to Orr 20 yards out who struck it powerfully on the volley goalward. Bogdan spilled, Chopra pounced - 2-1 Town. More ecstatic scenes amongst the travelling faithful and still time for Chops to fashion but ulitmately spurn a further great chance before the points were ours.
The players came over to the fans, celebrated and were roundly applauded. None more than Luke Chambers who was seriously pleased to say the least. The boy and I left with the fans singing loudly, "There's only one Luke Chambers!"
Some thoughts on the players:
Henderson - no chance with goal, impressive otherwise
Orr - shaky opening 15 but after that he was solid. Nothing short of inspirational when moved into midfield!
Cresswell - competent performance
Smith - challenged, battled and didn't allow Kevin Davies to dominate. Well done Tommy!
Chambers - much more competitive in the air than I have seen, passionate, committed and you have to love that celebration at the end!
Edwards - not at his best but OK. His delivery wasn't great
N'Daw - although he is not quick, his ability to glide past opponents at times creates himself space. Solid and can (not always) pass the ball really nicely too.
Drury - rightly substituted. A squad player for me.Hyam was genuinely missed in the first 55 minutes
Martin - tireless workrate and that counts for a great deal for me. Still doesn't deliver the end product often enough though
Barnett - Willing runner, won plenty of high balls. More to come from Tyrone I expect.
Campbell - puts in a shift and great to see him step up even after the missed spot kick on Tuesday
Murphy - see above. Murph made a real difference today.
JET - showed MM what he can bring but we all know that consistency needs to be found both in terms of effort and impact
Chopra - poacher's goal will do him no harm at all. Should have had a second too!
13 points from 7 games is an exact symmetry (in reverse) with the 7 points from 13 games achieved under the previous regime (I know PJ was sacked after 12). I know which one I prefer!

Thanks for reading. Hope it gives you something if you couldn't make it up t'north.

chorltonskylineblue added 23:45 - Dec 2
I'm a NW exile and don't get to many games. My last one was 6-0 defeat at Blackpoool. The first half was very uninspiring and to be honest, we played better football at Blackpool. We created very little and I predicted 2-0 to Bolton at F/T, 3-0 if we ended up chasing it. I noticed Mick getting frustrated in the technical area in the first 45.

The start of the second didn't show too much difference, but the substitutions made a real difference. We suddenly seemed to want it more and for some reason Bolton seemed to back-off. I was sat in the Bolton end with an old mate and they appear to be suffering post-relegation jitters. They really should have wrapped it up early doors, but because they didn't, our players sensed half a chance and took it. From about 60+ mins every ball in midfield seemed to fall to us, whereas we were overrun in that area before that.

My assessment of the players:
1. Henderson - solid. Made some good saves and hard to fault him for the goal.
2. Cresswell - he's getting a bit of stick I notice, but he was always screaming for the wide ball from Hendo, but rarely got it. He makes the odd mistake, but for a 22 year old this guy has the right attitude and lot of talent. If we let him go he'll be a star elsewhere, I have no doubt about that.
3 &4. Tommy Smith & Luke Chambers - good solid performances from both. Ngog was a real handful early doors, as was K Davies at times. With help from midfield, they soon got to grips with them. No criticism from me.
5. Bradley Orr. Real mixed bag, but you can tell he's a seasoned pro. Made the odd rick and had a couple of shocking shots, but whar I really noticed was his enthusiasm to get forward and support the attack. Was worried aboiut him to start off with, but he was instrumental in the win in the end.
6. Carlos Edwards - not a great game. He did contribute and showed some nice touches, but also easily muscled off the ball at times.
7. Andy Drury - not a good day at the office. He did improve and his short passing did help us up our tempo, but his mistakes in the first half exposed us a lot. Maybe he's shortb of match practice, but doesn't look like a first teamer at present.
8. Guirane N'Daw - dunno what to make of this guy. I'd heard him described as a 'wardrobe' (thank you Naked Footie podcast). He certainly lacked mobility and was really frustrating at times. But he hit a purple patch as we got on top and seemed to collect every ball in midfield in the last 30 mins of the game. Again, contributed to the win in a big way, but unconvincing before that.
9. Lee Martin - didn't create much early on, but I think he did ok. We knocked it long in the first half and it doesn't suit his style of play. When he got it to feet and got some support he was part of some nice play. And he put a shift in.
10. Tyrone Barnett - was the target man for most of his time on the pitch. Won a fair few headers and did what I guess he was asked to do, but the flick-ons went nowhere. Not really a criticism, but we only threatened when he went off.
11. DJ Campbell - our best player. Ran his socks off all game and got back and made a few crucial tackles at the back. It was telling that he was our first player to get booked. Didn't moan either, he just really put the effort in. Thought it wass tough when he was subbed, but that brings me on to....
12. Chops - I've been quite annoyed by him this season, but he did really well. Prepared to go out wide and hold the play up. Passing was neat, as was his movement and deserved his goal. A lot of strikers would have fluffed his chance.
13. Murphy - appears to have got the requisite kick up the jacksy from Mick. He's never really convinced me, but he was this business today. created problems from the moment he came on and his turn for the penno was great. I may be changing my mind!
14. JET - I have to admit I was yelling at him away to Blackpool this season and Burnley last season. But he played well when he came on and caused loads of problems. Bolton were on the back foot and he thrived on it. He did shank one classic into row Z, but the key thing was he had them rattled, which helped us panic them.
Mick & Terry - job well done. Read the game well and got us out of early trouble. Under previous managemengt we would have lost and probably convincingly. My 2/3-0 loss prediction at half-time weas based on the bitter experience of the past few seasons!

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