There aren’t many grounds now in this league that I haven’t visited but Bolton was a new one for me, which made it all the more exciting!!
We got onto the M621 and already the traffic was at a standstill, as we sat there, 2 fire engines and an ambulance sped down the hard shoulder, there was a big worry we wouldn’t get to the match in time for kick off, obviously depending on how bad the accident was!! About 15 minutes later we started moving and went past the accident, there was a poor woman standing at the side of her smouldering car, looks like it spontaneously combusted!!
When we left Leeds, the rain had just started falling but as we got further and further down the motorway, it wasn’t just raining, it was absolutely bucketing it down.
When we got to The Reebok there was a really long wait to get the coaches parked up, we must have waited about 20/25 minutes!! Luckily though, there was no lengthy walk involved as the rain was still coming down quite heavily and that wouldn’t have pleased me.
The referee for the night was Phil Dowd….Joy.
In the opening minutes of the game there were two fouls by Michael Brown on two separate Bolton players which resulted in Bolton almost getting an early lead when Matt Mills headed goalwards but Paddy Kenny had it covered.
The minutes that followed were much of the same, Phil Dowd was making the match about him, giving free kicks against us at any possible opportunity, this almost resulted in Neil Warnock being sent to the stands as he made his feelings clear, Dowd went over and exchanged words with Warnock but he was allowed to stay pitchside.
11 minutes into the game and it opened up for Chris Eagles to take a shot on goal from range but it was punched away by Kenny.
Two minutes later however, Bolton were awarded a corner, Eagles swung the ball in and Kevin Davies was in the right place to see that the ball went in to make the score 1 – 0 to the home side. Que embarrassing goal music and dancing….Hashtag tinpot.
Bolton had the bit between their teeth now and 15 minutes in Keith Andrews had a shot on goal, Kenny was there however to make sure the ball was safe and play continued. Not 30 seconds later though Eagles had another shot that just came off the post, he was unlucky not to score.
Bolton were playing very fast football and we were struggling to keep up with the pace of the game, the next 10 minutes were hard fought by both sides with not a lot of chances until Benik Afobe shot just wide left of the target.
28 minutes into the first half and Sam Byram shot from the left hand side but it cleared the posts and went wide of the goalmouth.
Byram had another chance on the 32nd minute too as he shot from 25 yards out but it was blocked by Stephen Warnock.
1 minute before half time though, Byram headed the ball past Bogdan and levelled the score at 1 a piece after a cross from El-Hadji Diouf.
This goal couldn’t have come at a better time for us, it meant we could go into the changing rooms at half time, re-group and hopefully come back onto the pitch a better side!!
4 minutes after half time, Matt Mills brought down Sam Byram in the penalty area and to our shock and surprise, Dowd actually gave the penalty!!
Luciano Becchio picked up the ball and placed it on the spot, Bodgan looked confident but Becchio placed it well in the bottom right of the goal to see us go into the lead for the first time in the match.
The 4000 strong away support was drowning out any singing by the home fans as we had been doing for most of the game as Luciano celebrated right in front of where I was, as you can imagine, I was going pretty mental, man-flu or no man-flu ha ha.
We were playing like a different side, putting pressure on Bolton and marking them all out of the game, but on the 59th minute Jay Spearing found space to shoot from the edge of the penalty area but it was blocked by Jason Pearce. This was closely followed by a shot from Mark Davies from 20 yards out but Paddy Kenny made sure it just went over the crossbar.
Pearce made sure any danger from the corner was dealt with as he cleared the ball from the area.
More pressure from Bolton as El-Hadji Diouf fouled Mark Davies, Chris Eagles took the free kick and Zat Knight headed just over the bar on the 60th minute.
Martin Petrov came on in place of Jay Spearing as Bolton were chasing the game.
Diouf had a chance on the 64th minute when he shot from 25 yards out but Knight blocked it and it went out for a corner also taken by Diouf, the corner came into the box but was swiftly dealt with by Kevin Davies.
A handball by Eagles resulted in a free kick that Rodolph Austin lined up 25 yards out. We all know what Austin is capable of from this range but this time, it went wide and never worried Bogdan.
Another substitute for Bolton on the 71st minute as Afobe was taken off for Marvin Sordell.
A flurry of Bolton corners came on the 76th minute as we tried desperately to defend our lead, the last one resulted in a chance for The Wanderers when Petrov missed left from about 25 yards.
Yet another corner on the 78tg minute was swung in from Martin Petrov and Kevin Davies was there to head in his second of the night to equalise and the goal music bleared out again....
Luciano Becchio made a clearance in the area when Bolton threatened with another corner on the 90th minute.
Both teams had all to play for and an anxious 3 minutes of added time awaited.
They passed without much happening, that was, until, pretty much the last kick of the game when El-Hadji Diouf saw an opportunity on goal arise before him....We could see it, he could see it.... He was going to go for it....He put his foot through the ball from about 18 yards out, it was like slow motion, then.... BOOM, it hit the effing crossbar. Ohhhh my god, my hands were on my head for a good minute after that, what an effort, he was so unlucky that it didn't go in!!!!
Dowd brought an end to the game and a point was claimed by either side.
I said before the start of the game, I'd have taken a point there and then but I somehow felt really frustrated, probably because we were in the lead for a good while before they equalised!!
We really need to work on defending set pieces, we should have learned from the first goal Davies scored but we clearly didn't because the second goal was pretty much exactly the same. It's these silly goals that need to be eradicated. Because of this though, I can never relax, if we were winning 3 - 0 on the 60th minute, I still wouldn't be able to relax, It's going to get to the point where I'm going to need a massage chair on the coach just to chill me the hell out after watching a match!!
There's only one man of the match for me from this game and that is Sam Byram, what a match he had. He was everywhere!! I remember seeing him get clattered but no free kick was given and play had continued and by the time I looked again he was half way down the wing ready to cross the ball into the box!! So impressive.
Completely off the scale rant here and I'm sorry to lower the tone of the report ha ha, but this has to be said. Half way through the second half I came over all queasy, basically someone in front of me had been farting every 5 minutes or so throughout the whole game. Now if you've ever been to Football, you'll know, if someone farts, it's not like a quick fart in the living room, it's like a nuclear fart that will make you violently ill on first sniff. So, like I say, I started to feel a bit sick after a while because someone clearly had a problem. I asked Jamie if it was him and he promptly he denied it was, but I said 'well if it is, I'm telling you now, I will make you drink a whole bottle of fairy liquid....hold on, would that make you fart bubbles....' He just said it defo wasn't him so I carried on my little rant about the smell in the hope someone would think, oh, maybe I'll try and hold onto it instead of making people ill. It wasn't just me that noticed, there were a group of lads behind me too who kept asking 'who'd shit?!' I know trapped wind is no joke but honestly, HONESTLY, it was every 5 minutes. Ugh. I still feel a bit sick now ha ha!!
The Bolton fans weren't the quietest I've ever encountered but they weren't the loudest either, we did find common ground however when we began to sing in memory of Gary Speed and the majority of Bolton fans either joined in or clapped. Gary played for them for 4 years making 121 appearances and scoring 14 goals.
Barnsley at home on Saturday....Not a team I necessarily look forward to playing against, probably because I know so many Barnsley fans who probably wouldn't care if Leeds were the only team they picked up points off of all season ha ha.
MOT xx <3 xx