Author Archives: Football Nation

Bolton v Peterborough – League One

Football Nation watched as Bolton Wanderers beat Peterborough United to claim automatic promotion on the last day of the League One season. Bolton only needed a draw to guarantee themselves the second automatic promotion spot, but they took all 3 points in an emphatic win in front of a nearly full Macron Stadium.

Phil Parkinson’s side showed their intent early on, building a succession of attacks down the right through the lively Filipe Morais.

Filipe Morais puts in yet another cross from the right.

This tactic eventually paid off for the opening goal, although actually on this occasion it was centre back Dorian Dervite who supplied a quality ball into the box. It fell perfectly for Jem Karacan who cooly guided the volley home with the side of his foot.

Karacan scores the first

Peterborough managed a couple of attacks in the first half, but never managed to trouble Mark Howard in the Bolton goal. One last ditch tackle by Mark Beevers did stop what looked a certain goal though.

In the second half the home side upped the pace even more. Bolton have been deadly from set pieces this season and this was underlined when goalscoring centre half David Wheater headed home the second. From then on there was only going to be one winner.

A nice move saw Josh Vela release Adam Le Fondre who smashed in the third, and that was game over. It was party time for the long suffering home fans. Some of them jumped the gun by starting their pitch invasion before the final whistle. There was a break in play while the players, stewards and police cleared the pitch. But a few seconds later the final whistle did blow and the celebrations could officially begin.

The whistle actually had gone this time

It was a deserved win and a deserved promotion, and we enjoyed the match and the atmosphere.

Predictions For Next Season

So Bolton will be playing Championship football again next season, but how will they get on? Well, for a start they won’t expect to be enjoying back to back promotions. You can’t actually bet on next season yet, but once the odds are released I expect most bookies will offer very high odds on Bolton finishing in the playoffs. A solid mid table finish is the best they can realistically hope for.

The fact is they need to strengthen if they are to survive and they’ll need to sort their finances out to do that. This promotion was based mainly on their defence, which was not only the best in League One, but their centre backs also scored a lot of goals from set pieces. I think both David Wheater and Mark Beevers are good enough to be successful in the Championship, but it’s in midfield and up front where they will need to improve.

The problem for Phil Parkinson is that he won’t expect to get much money to spend, if any. So he may need to work his magic in the loan and free transfer market in order to add the necessary strength to their squad.

For Peterborough, they shouldn’t be too despondent despite a mid table finish. It looks like they have one or two players such as Maddison who look to be of a much higher standard than the rest, and they’ll do well to hang on to them over the summer. If they do then they could definitely at least make the play offs next season.

Bolton Wanderers v Grimsby Town – FA Cup 1st Round

Lofty The Lion provided the entertainment that the match lacked

Lofty The Lion provided the entertainment that the match lacked

The Saturday FA Cup matches took the football nation team to the Macron Stadium to watch Bolton v Grimsby. Not our first visit to this ground by any means, but the first since it rebranded from the Reebok Stadium.

It was a very chilly afternoon in Lancashire which may have contributed to the sparse home crowd, but doesn’t really explain the lack of atmosphere generated by the home supporters. We can’t remember one chant or song – in fact several spectators near us didn’t even bother to celebrate the goal.

By contrast, the Grimsby fans at the opposite end were in good voice throughout and they certainly generated what atmosphere there was. In fairness, neither set of fans had much to shout about in what was a fairly low key match. Bolton took the lead after 20 mins through Liam Trotter, and they were the better team in the first half. Grimsby put some pressure on the home defence in the second half and did create a couple of good chances, but they were missed. In reply, Bolton had a couple of good runs from Zac Clough, who looked like the best player on the park today.

The appearance of Lofty The Lion was equally as entertaining as the match itself, although we weren’t sure about his sidekick Lofty Junior, who seemed to think it was dress down Friday as he turned up in jeans.

Bolton v Grimsby Match Stats (Sky Sports)

We’ll await the draw for the second round and try to get to at least one game.

Altrincham v Matlock Town – FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round

As part of our quest to visit football grounds around the country, Football Nation decided to pay a visit to Moss Lane to watch the FA Cup 4th qualifying round tie between Altrincham FC and Matlock Town.

A crowd of 1071 witnessed the home side come from behind to win 3-1. This took them into the 1st round proper, where they were rewarded with an away tie against Lincoln City.

An entertaining match at a proper old fashioned non league ground. We’ll try to get to a 1st round match in November.