Posts tagged ‘Petrov’
Last night, we took on Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park. We started off reasonably well, but then Afobe came on…..
He scored his first goal by pouncing on a poor defensive error and finishing well. 24 minutes later he scored a real strikers goal by heading in beautifully a Chris Eagles floated free-kick. Three minutes later after showing some good movement around the box, he fired the ball in the bottom corner to complete his hat trick. Tranmere did manage to pull one back when one of the strikers scrambled in a corner.
Bolton squad: Lonergan, Riley, Ream, Knight, Alonso, Lee Chung Yong, Pratley, M.Davies, Eagles, K.Davies, Sordell. Subs: (Bogdan, Lynch, Mears, Mills, Petrov, Afobe, Wylde, Vela, O’Halloran)
When I was young, before my parents introduced me to Burnden Park, my Saturday afternoons were spent at the Regal Cinema on Spa Road (several years later the Regal became the Nevada, where I spent my Saturday nights, but that’s another story).
The highlight of those far off afternoons was the serial, in which Flash Gordon, or one of a variety of cowboys, found himself in a hairy situation; typically, hanging by his finger ends over a deep abyss with the dastardly baddy preparing to stamp on those same finger ends. You can probably see where this image is taking us. In this game against West Brom, our beloved Wanderers were in the same position as my long forgotten heroes.
In the movie, however, our star would grasp the ankle of the villain, throw him into the gaping void, and hoist himself to safety by the strength in his fingers. In the football game, alas, just as we thought we were safe, the world collapsed and we were back in the mire.
One of my interests outside of football is mountain walking; this clash with Spurs was rather like a hard day in the hills. The ascent of hope since the weekend, the emotional peak of Muamba’s pre-match appearance, the plateau in the first half as our game didn’t quite click, the descent when Tottenham scored, anther high as we battered the opposition and equalised, and, finally, a plunge into the abyss as Spurs scored three goals and left our hopes shattered on the rocks below.
Sadly, this over stretched metaphor ends there. Whereas most mountain expeditions end with a few pints in a bar, on the journey home, hold ups and diversions prolonged my suffering, giving me plenty of time to ponder the ramifications of our humiliating defeat.
Despite Tottenham’s obvious quality, I feel that we ought to have taken something from the game. I don’t agree with the manager’s view that it ‘was a game we could easily have won’, but with better application we might have achieved a draw. A point would have kept the momentum going and if it were coupled with a win against West Brom in the next game, it would probably have been enough to keep us in the Premier League. The defeat means survival is now unlikely.
Brian – apologies for publishing your post a little late. Nevertheless, here’s Brian’s thoughts for you all to read!
I was brought up to respect authority. “Keep off the Grass” meant just that. Whilst my friends skipped freely across the forbidden turf, I hovered on the edge, held back by this forelock tugging inclination towards the powers that be. As I grew older, I became a little less respectful but I have never been a rebel. Hence, when, on my journey to the match, the Trans-Pennine road warnings in Huddersfield indicated that both the M62 and my alternative route over Buckstones were closed, my first inclination was to turn back.
I knew from the radio that there was an accident on the motorway and if there was a similar blockage on the A640, there was little point continuing. On the other hand, I wanted to be at the game so I ignored the inner voice telling me to obey the notice. More fool me; even though it proved false, I would have done better to heed the warning. The game I so wanted to see was the most dispirited and dispiriting of a generally miserable season.
Darren Pratley and Gretar Steinsson both passed fitness tests but only the former made the starting eleven. I found Steinsson’s omission puzzling as, from what I saw on the internet last week, Alonso had been the weak link in a good defensive display. I also thought Kevin Davies might have done enough to earn a recall when he came on in that game but Pratley for Klasnic was the only change in the following eleven: Bogdan; Ricketts, Wheater, Ream, Alonso; Reo-Coker, Pratley, Mark Davies; Miyaichi, N’Gog, Petrov.
It is difficult to write about this game without reference to the events of the previous week. To say that Fabrice Muamba dominated the match, even though he was still in intensive care in a London hospital, smacks of hyperbole, yet the young midfield player featured throughout the afternoon.
The strange, subdued atmosphere before the game, the tributes and good wishes outside the stadium, the images on the big screen, both teams wearing ‘Muamba 6’ on their warm up kit, the prolonged applause from both sets of fans, the chanting of Muamba’s name before the game, after each Bolton goal, at the final whistle, and intermittently throughout the afternoon. Most of all, perhaps, the inspired, battling displays from the Bolton players.
Clearly, it’s been a very difficult week for all at Bolton Wanderers and a game that before last Saturday might have been referred to as ‘life and death’, probably didn’t seem quite so important. It was incredible that none of this showed once the game started.
Imagine the scene; a primary school in a working class area of Paisley around 1973. The nun in charge of the class asks a question. ‘Please Sister, please Sister’; a slight, dark haired boy on the front row is thrusting his hand forward and almost bursting his braces to provide an answer. The nun points at him, the boy answers; the nun responds ‘No Owen, that isn’t the right answer, it wasn’t the right answer yesterday, or the day before.
Will you ever learn?’ The scene is repeated day after day; young Owen is always boiling over with an answer and, at last, the nun’s response is different. ‘Holy Mother of God, he’s got it right. My prayers have been answered. Well done Owen, well done indeed’ she rejoices. But alas it didn’t last. A week later, we were back to Act One Scene One. ‘No Owen, no, no, no. I thought you had it but you are wrong again. I fear you will never learn’. And though young Owen grew to be a man, he didn’t get any better; he still found it difficult to recognise the right answer even when it was staring him in the face.
You would think our manager would recognise that we had some good results in the last few games, with Reo-Coker and Muamba playing behind Mark Davies in central midfield, and that when he changed this, with half an hour to go in last week’s match against Norwich, we conceded two goals and lost the game. What ever possessed him to start this game with Bogdan; Steinsson, Wheater, Knight, Ricketts; Eagles, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Petrov; Kevin Davies, N’Gog? At least he wouldn’t be taking Muamba off; he hadn’t picked him to start. When I heard the team, I felt like heading straight for home.