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Where to Wander after Lennon

Started on 21 August 2015 by squirmy420
Latest Reply on 20 October 2015 by squirmy420
Hey all! It's been roughly a year since I wrote a story here. But with the start of the new season, and more conveniently my return to an area where internet services are viable and decent has prompted me to write a new story.

Those of you who have read my previous stories know that I love me some FM. And within the world of football no club is closer to my heart (besides my home-town Real Salt Lake) than Bolton Wanderers.

They're a club I've watched since my early days of EPL viewership and a club that, due to players such as Stuart Holden, Tim Ream, and Jay-jay (so good they named him twice) Okocha grew to take a larger portion of my heart than they probably should have.

A few quick notes on my story. I'm using the current SI update, but I won't be removing Lennon from power myself. Instead I will be sim-ing until Lennon himself leaves for his own reasons, or the club decides to go a different direction.

So... we shall see. I may be waiting awhile. I may inherit a crumbling squad of oldies, or a youthful squad, untested and unbloodied by the sport.

Long and the short of it, wish the Wanderers luck. Or don't. A hero, or a monster is on it's way.
Sun, 1/3/16
Neil Lennon, among the favorites for the QPR job after Ramsey sacking
Neil Lennon, who has been in charge of Bolton Wanderers since October 12th 2014 is rumored to be interested in the QPR opening.

After Chris Ramsey’s dismissal from the QPR backroom for poor results in their latest attempt at Premier League survival, Neil Lennon is rumored to be among the shortlist of favorites for the position. After taking charge of Bolton Wanderers in October Lennon managed to keep them afloat in the struggle that is the Sky Bet Championship.

After his midseason savior role Lennon has been in charge of the squad now for roughly another half season. Following Bolton’s 1-0 victory over Boro in the FA Cup Third round on the 2nd of January 2016 there is no doubt both fans of the club and the new chairmen, Ken Hodcroft, who took over from Phil Gartside earlier last year after moving on from his previous role as chairmen of Hartlepool United F.C. will be hoping Lennon does sick around despite the chance of jumping to a much larger club and league. Without mentioning the serious financial crisis that persists at the Macron stadium.
Ken Hodcroft is said to be loving his new role with the Trotters and is hoping to keep the current head coach for the remainder of the season.

Lennon remains tight lipped on a move, remaining focused on the job ahead with Bolton, who play again this Saturday, the 9th of January. If Lennon does move on a large number of names are already in the rumor mill for the opening including Shaun Derry, Paul Tisdale, Jay-Jay Okocha and a few other notable former players.
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8 yearsEdited
Sun, 1/10/16

After Neil Lennon’s departure from Bolton Wanderers 6 days ago to the supposedly greener pastures of QPR the Trotters have picked up 3 points under care-taker Johan Mjällby at The Den vs Millwall with Bolton’s season stand out Josh Vela scoring his second goal of the season in a dominant 2-0 victory.
Despite his decent showing in his first game in charge rumors persist that a new man will be appointed the helm for the remainder of the season rather than Johan.

Rumors of Paul Tisdale leaving his current role as Burton Albion Manager seem to have fallen on deaf ears and the man looks no further to a move towards Macron Stadium.
Tisdale keeps a calm and cool head and doesn’t look for an exit.

However, Shaun Derry has publicly spoken that he would love to take the vacant spot at the Trotters, “I’d love to get back to managing. Since Notts County I’ve been looking for a new challenge worthy of my skills and abilities. I think I could be just the man for the Wanderers.”
Derry hasn’t managed a club since his role at Notts Co which ended in November of 2015.

Ken Hodcroft has remained silent up til last night when he spoke for the first time about the situation at the Macron Stadium.

“We’d very much like to get a new coach in before we play Fleetwood on Saturday. Preferably Neil (Lennon) would have left us with more time to find an ideal replacement but such is the world of football these days. You have to jump and snatch at chances as much in the backrooms as you do on the pitch I guess.”

“There are a few names that have been tooted around by the media of late… but a number of those are unfounded. I’d like to apologize to Burton Albion and Paul Tisdale as he was never on our radar. Shaun Derry did come in for an interview yesterday and he spoke very well. The board and myself were impressed. However, he’s been out of the game for a little more than a year now and that’s not an ideal situation. We’ve had a few more applicants come forward. Jay-jay Okocha did send us an application but the job seemed a bit to large for his qualifications.”

“I’ll remained tight-lipped for now, but I’ll give you a bit of a hint. We’re leaning in favor of a newer and younger face here at the Macron Stadium, but someone familiar. He’s even won a Bolton Wanderer’s player of the year award here and he gets along well with both the younger and older members of the squad. He’s been on and off the pitch a lot in the last few years due to injures but, we think this may be a step in the right direction for him.”

Obviously there are still a few hats in the ring for the Bolton board to consider, but fans will be wanting a quick resolution to the situation, with a game vs struggling Fleetwood and Brentford coming up it would be a perfect situation for the new man to gain some confidence in charge, and for the lads under him to get a feel for his tactics before a very tough test vs Reading at the end of the month.

Bolton currently lie in 11th place with 37 points gained from 26 games and only 5 points off the playoff spots.
Dueling Bolton stories!

Will be curious to compare notes and see where your players wind up as opposed to mine. Good luck!
Welcome back! Best of luck
2015-08-20 20:38#218956 tenthreeleader : Dueling Bolton stories!

Will be curious to compare notes and see where your players wind up as opposed to mine. Good luck!

Indeed, it will be very interesting. I imagine the squad I inherited from Lennon will be much different from yours. And some players will be missed... sniff*, Tim Ream, sniff*

And thanks Feliks! Should be interesting.
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8 yearsEdited
Sunday, 1/17/16

Bolton make a big announcement following the clubs devastating heavy 4-1 loss to 22nd place Fleetwood town yesterday.
Ken Hodcroft met with media early this morning to make a “big announcement” following the disappointing display by the clubs senior squad yesterday.

“We thought Johan Mjällby might have been up to the task up until last night. After the disappointing way in which we folded an early lead and the way the lads lost heart in the second half of yesterday’s match we (the board at Bolton) decided that we needed to get things sorted here at the Macron Stadium and fast. We met until the wee hours of the morning trying to get the papers run to the right offices and signed by the right people but we’re proud to make an announcement today. Going forward the new manager of Bolton Wanderers Football Club will be a face many fan wouldn’t have expected to see here so soon, but due to injuries and his startling desire and ability to gain coaching badges we’ve decided… Stuart Holden will be taking reigns here.”
“Stuart has had a rough go of things as a player lately, and, having decided to hang up his boots at the end of the season, he has done so a little faster in favor of staying in the Greater Manchester area and moving into a managing role. At first, I, and others we’re skeptical when Stu came forward with an application, but after watching him complete a number of coaching badges in record timing we were sold.”

To say Stuart Holden “enjoyed” a playing career at Bolton might be a stretch, as he suffered a multitude of horrific injuries year after year.

Stuart had a few words of his own to share with the media only a few hours after the announcement was made, “Hi, everyone. I know it might be surprise to most of you, but it’s been a long time in the works. I knew eventually these knees of mine wouldn’t be able to hack it anymore on the pitch. But I’ve never wanted to leave the game. Even when I was rehab-ing with the squad here, I had half a mind to manage. What the lads have done this year is nothing short of fantastic. We have a young squad here, having sold off a number of key players under Neil Lennon’s rule we’re looking to build for the future. Tim Ream, Adam Bogdan, Matt Mills, these were all players I knew well from my time here, but they’ve moved on and it’s time for a changing of the guards.”
“We’ve got a core group of young players to build around, and with players like Mark Davies, Emmanuel Ledesma and David Wheater we still have some talented veterans to teach the younger lads a thing or two. However, we will need to press forward with the development of the key younger lads and this next season or two will be key to a number of lads such as Josh Vela, Zach Clough and Oscar Threlkeld who have had stand out seasons this year.”
Clough has been instrumental in Bolton’s good position this year with 6 goals, 4 assists at the tender age of 20

Bolton will be looking to build on the good performances of their youth players this year. Zach Clough, at the age of 20 leads the club in goals with a tally of 6 so far and will be looking to add more. Josh Vela, 22, is also making a name for himself this season with a tally of 3 goals and 8 assists only 1 assists of the leader in the Championship Don Cowie, of Wigan. And Oscar Threlkeld has, while splitting time between center back and right back chipped in this season with 2 goals, 7 assists and 4 player of the match performances.
Oscar Threlkeld has earned himself a consistent starting position this year with his performances, even earning the Young Player of the Month award for August earlier this year.

Can Stuart Holden be a success at the Trotters? Only time will tell. But if he is too become a great manager, his first task is Brentford in front of his home crowd at the Macron Stadium.
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8 yearsEdited
January after Stuart Holden’s take over

Macron Stadium played host to Brentford in Stuart Holden’s first game in charge of the Trotters who were undoubtedly looking to bounce back from the disappointing performance vs Fleetwood. Rumors had it Holden would line his squad up in a 4-3-3 wide, favoring the balanced midfield and attack options over the more defensively sound 4-4-1-1 Neil Lennon seemed to favor. David Wheater took the arm band as the Wanderers warmed up for the match.

Brentford lined up in a more traditional 4-1-2-3, looking maybe to exploit Bolton after a head coach change and a rough loss last week.

Bolton did not start well, with Brentford hard tackling their way into an early advantage. Bolton nearly conceded in the 10th minute, and would have if not for the efforts of Elliot Parrish, a recent arrival at the Macron, and Marc Tierney. However, eventually, after some cajoling from the side lines by Holden, the home squad turned on the style, taking control of the ball and keeping it well as they grew into the game. At the half hour mark Simon Dawkins, ex-Derby player, scored a peach of a goal, beating two defenders with his first touch and caressing the ball gently passed the far post and into the corner of the net. It would be the match winner, but not for lack of trying as the Bolton midfield dominated proceedings for the rest of the evening. If not for Brentford’s Harlee Dean, Bolton would have won a very comfortable victory.

Bolton vs Brentford
1-0 victory
Man of the Match: Simon Dawkins, 8.7 MR

Bolton’s next game would see them coincidentally travel to Brentford for a FA Cup Fourth round match-up. Stuart Holden’s men would no doubt be hoping for a repeat of last match, or an even more comfortable victory. However, with the board expectations largely reached in this competition none would have blamed the Trotters for bowing out at this point away from home. The teams would line up in the exact same manner as they did only 5 days earlier, with only a few changes to the first teams.

It was a very similar match to the last, with Brentford tackling hard and often early on, seeing Bolton’s Loyd Isgrove limp off around the 22nd minute mark and the match would see the teams head into the locker rooms tied at 0’s.

However, it only took Bolton 12 minutes to break the deadlock. Emmanuel Ledesma hit a cross into the near post, where David Wheater’s meaty English forehead met it in a delicate kiss to flick the ball into the 6 yard line over the sprawling Tom Heaton and onto the unlikely head of Jay Spearing for the match winning goal.

Bolton vs Brentford FA Cup Fourth Round
1-0 Victory
Man of the Match: Jay Spearing, 8.3 MR

Bolton’s final match of the month would see them travel to 3rd placed Reading in what would be the first real test for Stuart Holden and his men. Bolton again would line up in the, becoming more familiar 4-3-3 wide formation with top scorer Zach Clough leading the line.

Reading would line up in a 4-4-2, a classic formation, coupling the powers of Simon Cox and Pavel Pogrebnyak in an attacking display that would put most defenses to the sword.

Again, Bolton were not lively in the opening minutes almost allowing a goal in the 12th minute when a long ball hoofed up field was flicked on by Pogrebnyak and Simon Cox unleashed a fearsome curling half volley towards the near post. However Elliot Parish was equal to it somehow, getting down with a very strong hand to bat the ball past the post.

Elliot Parish makes a heart stopping save in front of fans in the Madejski Stadium.

However, Bolton found their feet quickly, and 8 minutes later Emmanuel Ledesma hit a looping in swinger of a corner that was cleared by center back Jake Cooper, but only as far as Josh Vela. Vela quickly picked up his head, and found Darren Prately unmarked at the top of the box. Prately hit the ball first time unleashing a low worm-burner of a shot that caught a lucky deflection on the goal line and rolled past the diving keeper for the opening goal.
Bolton continued to grow into the match, dominating possession against one of the front runners for promotion, however Reading would continue to press for a goal in front of their home fans. With time running down, and Reading throwing more and more men forward it was an incisive break that saw the game clinched for the Wanderers as the ball found it’s way to Jay Spearing, with the defense behind him he took off from the half-way mark at a sprint. As he neared the 18, the defense began to catch up and collapse and he picked his head up to find the run of Zach Clough perfectly. Zach Clough’s first time effort left the stranded keeper helpless and he wheeled away celebrating his 7th goal of the season, and his first goal in 15 hours of competitive play.

Clough’s celebration was emphatic, fitting for a goal that breaks his drought.
Bolton vs Reading
2-0 Victory
Man of the Match: Stoke Loanee Jordan Willis, 8.1 MR

Stuart Holden’s first 3 games saw Bolton gain 9 points. The club is on a high, and Holden seems like he may be able to keep them playing like this. He’s undoubtedly delighted with the way the club is performing and has turned some things around already, such as helping Clough to find the net again after struggling for so long.
Those 9 points did a world of good for both player confidence and table standing as the club rose from 11th to 9th place, only two points off of the bottom playoff spot.
Player of the Month
Jay Spearing

The tenacious center midfield skipper has made a return to form after a season long loan at Blackburn last year, he had only featured 7 times under Lennon thus far this year. However, having started the last two games under Stuart Holden, Bolton’s captain seems to have found renewed life at the Macron Stadium, having scored and assisted once in the last two games he’s looking like a man working for a manager he likes.

February 2016 Fixture List
Bolton fans probably shouldn’t be celebrating their form too early, as next month is both incredibly busy and difficult.
Interesting story, mate!
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8 yearsEdited
Bolton’s next two games before their cup tie with Aston Villa went fast, as they were played only 3 days apart. With little rest, and playing two of last years relegated Premier League teams, the fans would have expected points to be dropped, and would have even forgiven a home loss vs Leicester.

Bolton vs Leicester

Bolton lined up in the 4-3-3 wide formation that had yielded so much success in Holden’s first games in charge.
With Spearing being rested Wheater took the arm band. Clough, after finding the net last game was rewarded with another start. Holden opted to rest his clean sheet grabbing keeper Elliot Parish in favor of the more tested Andy Lonergan, fresh back from a fractured cheekbone.

Leicester lined up in a 4-5-1, seemingly trying to plug the Trotters midfield which had been so successful of late under Holden.
With Kasper Schmeichel, Mathew Upson, Luke Garbutt, Andrej Kramaric their stand-out performers this season Leicester fans could be confident of conceding very few goals and with Kramaric the lone man up top, they could expect some creative runs from their leading goal scorer.

Things, however, did not get off to the start Nigel Pearson had hoped for as Zach Clough drew a free kick for a rough foul in the 6th minute and Emmanuel Ledesma’s shot from 25 yards kissed the underside of the bar and rebounded into the back of the net for his 2nd goal of the season. Nigel Pearson did not look pleased, and his team responded in kind. Dominating proceedings for the remainder of the half before a cross shot teamed with unlucky timing lead to Josh Vela putting the ball into Andy Lonergan’s goal on the stroke of halftime.

Bolton and Leicester both came out swinging in the second half, however both teams failed to find that net with Lonergan and Schmeichel both kept very busy. Fans of both teams were kept on the edge of their seats in the Macron Stadium and would have been forgiven for thinking that an entertaining match would come to a close at a 1-1 draw. However, after a series of quick back and forth play, Bolton found themselves with the ball moving into the attack at pace after some clever skill by Dawkins and a wonderful long forward pass to release Clough by Prately. Clough found Ledesma running unmarked down the right wing. Ledesma took a touch, saw Clough continuing his run and split the two remaining defenders with another wonderful pass to find Clough alone at the far post. Clough kept his head, and for the second game running, found the net for the Wanderers to finish a wonderful passage of passing play in the 87th minute.

Bolton fans were delighted with Zach Clough’s late goal.

Bolton vs Leicester
2-1 Victory
Man of the Match: Emmanuel Ledesma, 9.0 MR

Bolton’s next game brought them to Turf Moor to take on Burnley. Last time the clubs had met under Neil Lennon Bolton had fallen to a 2-0 loss at home, and Holden would no doubt be sure to keep revenge keenly in the mind of his players as they would want to pull one over on their local rivals this time.
Bolton opted to stick with what works and did not change formation, only making 2 changes in the line up from their last match. Simon Dawkins was replaced by 23 year old Welshmen Loyd Isgrove, and Josh Vela was rested and Spearing was given the start and the arm band.

Burnley lined up in a 4-4-2 diamond wide, featuring a large number of young, talented attackers Bolton would be hard pressed to contain. With Marven Sordell, and Adam Bogdan in their starting XI Burnley also made the choice to start to former Wanderer’s, the later of which only recently swapped shirts for the sum of $2.5m under Neil Lennon.
With Sordell, Ing, and Guidetti leading the attack, the Trotters would be hard pressed to keep Burnley quite.

The game kicked off in a heavy rain, however it had faded by the time the first goal of the match was scored in the 28th minute. Liam Trotter, who has featured inconsistently in Bolton’s 31 matches, seeing pitch time only 16 times before, picked the pocket of Ed Upson and in the same action played the ball to Emmanuel Ledesma. Ledesma, finding himself on-sides, hit a speculative effort which rebound off Bogdan’s leg and found its way into the net.
Bolton’s lead didn’t last long. After a series of determined play, and a fast build up demonstrating a good team understanding by Burnley a perfectly weighted pass from Marvin Sordell to Danny Ings allowed the shadow striker the time and space to coolly put the ball under a diving Elliot Parrish for his 12th goal of the season.
Elliot Parrish is too little too late to stop Danny Ings.

Unfortunately for Danny Ings, his game was cut short at the 37th minute when he and Jay Spearing collide in a challenge. The challenge, while judged clean by the ref, could have yielded Spearing’s 2nd yellow card.

The game would go into the halfway mark tied at 1’s. Stuart Holden was said to look rather calm under the pressure of the situation as the team made it’s way down the tunnel. And whatever it was he said to his team worked quickly. Ledesma’s free kick in 48th minutes was cleared directly back to him on the wing by Guidetti, some quick foot work combined with technique and skill and he was at the by-line delivering a curling cross towards the box. Liam Trotter rose higher than Ashley Barnes and met the ball with his head looping it up in an arc and down towards the goal where it glanced the underside of the crossbar and into the goal.

Trotter’s header comes down at an impossible angle for the helpless Adam Bogdan.

Only 10 minutes later, Trotter would further stake his claim for a starting spot, as he received the ball from Darren Prately and coolly found Zach Clough alone and unmarked at the top of the box with a lovely pass. Clough calmly collected the ball with one touch as Adam Bogdan rushed out, and with his second touch sent the ball skipping past the sprawling goalkeeper and into the corner of the net for his 3rd goal in as many matches leaving Adam Bogdan wondering why he ever left the Macron Stadium for the Turf Moor.

Clough, all smiles, scoring drought long forgotten.

The match would finish at 3-1, but not without seeing Loyd Isgrove limp off the field in the 73rd minute after trying to beat Berardi to get a clean shot at goal.
Bolton Vs Burnley
3-1 Victory
Man of the Match: Liam Trotter, 9.0 MR

Two more win’s would see Bolton rise from 9th place to 7th and with Stuart Holden at the helm the fans have begun to whisper of a playoff run come season end.

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8 yearsEdited

Welcome to Villa Park for todays FA Cup match-up between Bolton Wanderers, todays visitors and Aston Villa!

Today we have quite a treat for you, matching up Gary Bowyer’s and Stuart Holden’s men in what many of fans have called an easy match for Villa. Still, Bolton have retained a 100% record under Holden’s leadership in league play since his take over close to one month ago.

Gary Bowyer, on the other hand has been in charge for a little bit longer, 90 days. In that time Bowyer’s team has played 18 games, and won 9 of them.

Obviously it would be expected for Aston Villa to come out of today’s match here in Villa Park and may be hoping for a comfortable victory vs the newly surging Bolton.

Bolton’s line-up

Up top, in form striker Clough. Backed-up on either side by Dawkins, and Ledesma. The midfield-field trio of Darren Pratley, Mark Davies and Captain Jay Spearing will undoubtedly be the work horse behind Bolton’s ability to defend, and linking any play together at all. The defense consists of Marc Tierney, Dorian Dervite, David Wheater, surprisingly Josh Vela will be kept busy keeping the Villa offense at bay.

Aston Villa’s line-up

Aston Villa will be playing in a 4-4-2 with Patrick Bamford, recent arrival from Chelsea for $1.9m, and Niklas Helenius leading the line today. Recent arrival from Manchester City Scott Sinclair will take up the left wing with Jake Grealish on the right. Yacouba Sylia and Carlos Sanchez will play the center midfield partners today. The defenders for Villa today are Eugene Selin, Captain Ron Vlaar, Jores Okore and Peter Ankersen. Undoubtedly Villa fans will be expecting Bamford and Helenius to step up in place of the injured Gabby Agbonlahor.

The players have been warming up under a slight drizzle, and it looks to get worse before it gets better…. But we’re ready for kick off!


Helenius rolls the ball to Bamford and we’re underway as Bamford plays the ball to Okore, to Vlaar, to Selin…

22nd minute

Villa with the throw in… Selin to take it. To Bamford, he beats Wheater and puts in a low cross. Neither Helenius nor Dervite can control it. It rolls out, Grealish is on it in a flash! Vela makes a last ditch sliding block on the ball. Out for a corner. What a chance for Villa, what a moment of defensive talent from Vela. Grealish to take the corner, he lowers his arm and starts his run up. Dawkins hoofs the ball clear and Bolton are out of danger for now.

32nd minute

Villa with a throw in near the halfway line. Ankersen lobs the ball down the line to Grealish, Grealish taps it first time to Sanchez. Sanchez holds up play, and knocks the ball down the line for Helenius. Helenius controls the ball. He tries to stand Dervite up… and Dervite comes up with the ball after a strong and solid tackle. Dervite plays a short pass to Davies, to Prately, Prately can’t control and Sanchez intercepts the ball! Sanchez back up to Helenius. Helenius across the center of the pitch to Sylia. Sylia controls the ball. Sylia blows passed Jay Spearing. Sylia winds up at the top of the box! Just over the crossbar near the far post! Bolton must to be thanking their lucky stars!

35th minute

Selin plays a long ball forward and across the pitch. Helenius picks up on the pass. Tierney forces the ball off of Helenius and Dervite plays a long clearing ball forwards. The ball evades Vlaar! Vlaar over runs the flight of the ball and now Clough is in on goal! Clough takes a touch. And unleashes a fierce long range shot! Just wide by the Bolton youngster! Guzan didn’t even dive, what a goal that would have been!

39th minute

Bamford has the ball on the wing. He’s showcasing some skill here, holding off two Bolton defenders. He plays the ball across to Sylia, Sylia looks for Helenius… and finds him. Helenius pulls away from his defender as he falls back into midfield. He plays the ball out wide to Sinclair. Sinclair see’s Ankersen making an overlapping run and plays him the ball. Ankersen controls the ball on the touch line. Ankersen looks up and plays an early cross in. Bamford with a volley!! Lonergan gets to the shot! Vela, Wheater and Bamford race for the ball! Wheater makes the clearance! That should have been a goal, Villa fans will be wondering how that hasn’t ended up in the net.

The teams go into halftime level. Bolton will be the happy team at half time. Will only a few chances and those coming late in the half both teams will be looking to grow into the 2nd half.

51st minute.
Vlaar controls the clearance. In steams Zach Clough, it’s a hard but fair challenge. Both players end up in a heap and the ref award Aston Villa with a free kick. Clough comes up favoring his lower leg. There’s blood! Looks like Clough has suffered a lower leg gash in the collision with Vlaar and he’s coming out to be replaced by Georg Illiev. Peter Ankersen to take the free kick. He lofts a lovely header into the box. It’s begging for a header! Sylia peels away from Pratley and gets his head to the ball! It’s in the goal! It’s in the goal! Aston Villa have broken the deadlock! Wait, the whistle has gone. Yacouba Sylia was judged to be offsides. Unlucky Villa fans.

75th minute

Guzan with the goal kick. Pratley wins the headers in midfield and nods down to Mark Davies who one touches it up to Illiev. Illiev holds up play, working his defender for an opening… Selin slides in and wins the ball… but Ledesma comes up with it. Bolton are back on the ball. Ledesma takes the ball past one, two defenders. He cuts inside at the top of the box onto his left foot. WHAT A GOOOOAL! He unleashes a grass cutting wonder strike from just beyond the box. Guzan was left helpless and Bolton have the lead. What a moment this is for Stuart Holden and his team!

76th minute

Villa with the corner kick. The substitute Carles Gils lofts the ball in. It looks destined for Patrick Basford’s head! Lonergan snatches it before he can get that! What a move by the veteran Bolton goal keeper.

78th minute

Pratley loses out to Grealish. Grealish hits the ball forwards to substitute Libor Kozak. Dervite clatters through Kozak and to clear the ball. The whistle goes! Dorian Dervite is already on a yellow card… the ref reaches for a card! Dervite is off! Bolton’s lead is put under worse threat. Can Bolton hold on now? Pratley is coming off for Bolton’s stand out youth defender 22 year old Oscar Threlkeld. Looks like Bolton will lose the midfield strength for a dominant defense?

93rd minute

Marc Tierney to the free kick. He lobs the ball forward into midfield and the ref blows for final time! Bolton have done it! What a victory! Emmanuel Ledesma’s wonderful bit of skill and wonderful striker separated the two teams in the end. Bolton continue on in the cup! And Staurt Holden continues his impressive run as a first time head coach.

Bolton Wanderers vs Aston Villa

1-0 Victory
Clough turns into a very good player from what I've heard, so you'd do well to keep him around the place long term.
100% record remains!
The Remainder of February

Bolton Vs Derby

Bolton started brightly, earning a free kick in the 9th minute. Emmanuel Ledesma lined up the kick, and lofted a lovely ball into the 6 yard box for $1.2 million rated Stoke loanee Jordan Willis to calmly sweep home. 18 minutes later Derby would be the team celebrating. After a series of poor defensive clearances by Bolton allowed Ivan Calcero to get a lovely low shot on goal that was superbly blocked by Elliot Parrish, only to have the rebound pounced on first by Matt Philips for the equalizer. Bolton however were not to be outdone in the Macron Stadium.

Holden’s boys took the ball straight down the pitch from the kick off and, after a lovely series of long and short passes, Darren Pratley played a lovely through the defense and into the path of the charging Liam Trotter who finished with aplomb in the 29th minute to put Bolton back on top.

Bolton held their one goal lead through the intermission. And Holden looked well pleased to be continuing his 100% record.

In the 54th minute Ledesma lined up a corner and hit a lovely lofted ball towards the near post and David Wheater's head. He flicked the ball up and over the entire defense and onto the far post where Jordan Willis slammed home his 2nd goal of the match with a forceful header.

About an hour into the match Derby player Abdul Razak was forced off by injury. And only 19 minutes later Bolton would add their 4rd of the match off of yet another set piece. Emmanuel Ledesma sent a hanging ball in towards the near post where a lovely dummy by Wheater set Darren Pratley up for a simply tap in volley.

The fans were rollicking in the Macron Stadium and Stuart Holden looked all the happier for it, maybe reliving his own days on the pitch when it was once called the Reebok Stadium and he’d played for the club in the premiership.

However, only three minutes from the final whistle a quick and decisive counter by the Derby players allowed substitute’s Chris Martin and Johnny Russel to link up, with Martin providing Russel the perfect cross for the striker to crush home past Parrish on the volley. The game became a little tenser after the 6th goal of the match. But Bolton managed to put on a solid show and finish the match out with the 3 points.

Bolton’s next game would take them Bristol to take on Bristol City at home in Ashton Gate. Things didn’t quite go as well for Stuart Holden’s men as they had previously. 2 knocks to Boltons squad, one to Captain Jay Spearing and the other to Jamaican international Simon Dawkins in the 54th minutes and a few yellow cards were the only real things of note as neither team found the net, with Bristol looking the more likely, trying the Wanderer’s keeper Andy Lonergan a total of 7 times compared to the one time Bolton managed to put a shot on frame. Stuart Holden was said to be livid with his team.

Bolton would travel back to the Macron stadium for their next match vs Leyton Orient. It was a quite game for Leyton as they tried Andy Lonergan only once whilst Bolton managed a staggering 17 shots with only 5 on target. Bolton managed to make the breakthrough in the 40th minute as Liam Feeney surged passed the struggling Grant Ward inside the box. Ward made a desperate last ditch lunging tackle and brought down Feeney and a penalty was given. Emmanuel Ledesma stepped up to take, and converted wonderfully.

Bolton’s final game of the month would see them travel to struggling Birmingham, who found themselves in 19th place so far this season. Bolton would be expected to comfortably deal with Birmingham. However, Birmingham started with fire in their bellies and desperation in their minds.

In only the 2nd minute of the match in St. Andrews, a long throw in found it’s way to the head of Demarai Grey who ross uncontested and glanced it goal wards. It beat Andy Lonergan, but not the post and rebounded right back to Grey who didn’t squander the 2nd chance and tucked it into the goal to put Birmingham up 1-0.

Stuart Holden was seen shouting at his players from then until the final whistle. His face red, his gestures sharp and the unhappiness obvious to all around. However, youngest Zach Clough managed to calm the American manager in the 20th minute, when after a long throw in and a poor defensive clearance the ball fell almost perfectly onto his left foot. Clough unleashed a fearsome volley into the lower corner of the net leaving Darren Randolph absolutely helpless.

For the remainder of the match Bolton were forced to commit foul after foul in order to slow down the Birmingham offense, which Bolton seemed unable to cope with. Birmingham ended up recording 61% possession and recorded 21 shots with 5 on target whereas the Wanderers only managed 4 shots and 3 on target.

Holden looked seriously upset after the match, storming in the dressing room at St. Andrews and laying into his team for their inability to control to ball against one of the “minnows of the season.” He did take time to explain to the media that, although he has yet to lose a game in charge of the club, each draw rankles, especially when he knows Bolton could have climbed into a playoff place if they had managed to take the 3 points.

With Bolton picking up a total of 14 points from a possible total of 18 the Wanderer’s left only 4 points unclaimed as they continued to play well under the new manager Stuart Holden. There is a feeling around the Macron Stadium that if playoff don’t happen this year, provided the right moves, promotion is almost guaranteed for next season.

Bolton currently sit in 7th place. One place out of the playoffs.

Player of the Month

Emmanuel Ledesma

The former Middlesbrough player has excelled this month under Stuart Holden contributing 4 goals and 4 assists, all of which have been key to the success of the Lancashire club. He also single handedly helped Bolton past Aston Villa in the FA cup with a wonderful long range strike. If he continues to perform like this it won’t be long before some big clubs come calling.

March Schedule
Bolton continue for only 10 more days with a number of key players injured, including Captain Jay Spearing, Jamaican international Simon Dawkins and Welsh international Lloyd Isgrove. The maximum length any of the three will remain absent is only 10 days, which undoubtedly will spur Bolton on to greater things next month.

The only player to continue to be unavailable for the Bolton senior team is 22 year old Rob Hall who has missed out for 3 months with Knee tendinitis and is expected to be out further 2-5 weeks. Hall is widely regarded as Bolton's strongest left wing player, and they will be gleeful to have him back, just in time for a playoff push.

Stuart Holden had time to speak about Hall's situation this afternoon. "Rob is an important player here at the Macron. There's no reason we won't have him back playing full 90's when he's fully fit. However, he's missed out on a lot of football this season, and I know how tough knee injuries can be to recover from. I have full faith in his ability to do so, at only 22 years old he's got plenty of time to recover fully and even come back a stronger player for it. I can't wait to see him on the practice field getting a workout in."

Holden was no stranger to knee injuries in his career and will have some helpful insight for the youngster during his rehab.

Rob Hall is said to be excited about the prospect of working under Holden when he finally gets his fitness back. "He's been great with the lads so far. We haven't lost since he's come on board, it's amazing. He's really got the team buzzing, the fans buzzing, the whole club is raring to go and I can't wait to be a part of it.

Hall is said to be one of the most creative players at Bolton when taking a man on down the flanks, and Bolton fans will certainly look forward to seeing him glide down the left hand touchline once again.

You are reading "Where to Wander after Lennon".

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