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