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.
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.
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.
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.