Andy Munro on Blues’ defeat to Bolton.
Most Bluenoses must have secretively seen this coming. An improving Blues with an increasingly impressive home form and very few injuries against the bottom, under-performing club. This was a disappointment waiting to happen in typical Blues style.
Often a key indication on how the match will pan out are the opening gambits and Blues certainly seemed off the pace and lacking their usual and recent fluency. In fact they failed to threaten at all early on and it was really no surprise when Bolton took the lead. Admittedly it was the result of a horrendous mistake by the normally reliable Burn although he almost redeemed the situation and Randolph was slightly culpable for rushing out when he probably should have stayed on his line.
This stung Blues out of their lethargy but, apart from Burke, there was little danger created in the final third. Matt Green looked decidedly ‘Mansfield’ and the much vaunted skills of Shinnie and Linguard were rarely glimpsed. A word on the latter who looks excellent on the ball but suffers from a touch of the early stages of Redmonditis by not taking up enough good positions to receive the ball. In the case of both of them (Linguard and Shinnie) they both seem not to know their position , or if they’re ostensibly ‘playing in the hole’ they tend to disappear down it. Often the ball was crossed from Burke or Murphy and there was only one offensive player in the opposition box.
Second half saw a slightly improved display but all seemed lost when another horrific mistake saw the Blues suffer the ex-player curse as Neil Danns nipped in after Randolph had flapped badly at a cross cum shot. In fairness when Lee Clark brought on Ziggy, he made a difference and, apart from his goal, created a bit of mayhem in the Bolton box. However, why oh why, did Clark also bring on labouring Lee Novak, who I feel a bit sorry for but can’t run, can’t head and can’t score? Also , bringing on Caddis and therefore switching Robbo to left back seemed pointless and proved ineffective as a game changer. It was crying out for proper width and pace down the left and either Ferguson or Hancox would have been ideal.
All round a disappointing performance and although we should have had a stonewall penalty for hand ball, at best we deserved a draw. Disappointing but what’s new?