Could get promoted via play-offs. Best of luck!
Bolton’s Month of March
Bolton vs Fulham
Bolton kicked off the month on the first day with a match against Fulham in the Macron stadium. It would be more of a match of Fulham throwing themselves into heavy tackles in an attempt to slow the Bolton midfield down. It would prove success for a large portion of the game but would see Fulham reprimanded three separate time for hard tackles as they committed a staggering 20 fouls, and would frustrate fans of the game as it became a stop and go affair.
The dead-lock wouldn’t be broken until on the hour Emmanuel Ledesma line up over a free kick and cannoned a power shot towards the upper v. Unfortunately it careened off the cross bar and into the box where Zach Clough was quickest off the mark to tap the ball home for his 11th goal of the campaign.
Bolton vs Tottenham FA Cup 6th Round
Bolton’s next game would see them drawn vs Tottenham in the FA Cup in the Macron Stadium. An influx of people to the game would be expected with a sell-out hopeful, especially after chairmen Ken Hodcroft made it known he expected the funds would help the club immensely. In the end, Macron was only 25 empty seats from full.
Bolton played a hard game against Tottenham, putting the premier league club and European hopeful under pressure a number of times, but Tottenham played as were expected and put Holden’s men under a lot of pressure as well.
With both teams managing to get double digit numbers in shots, it would have almost been expected to be a draw. But in the 55th minute Tottenham found the breakthrough, with striker Leo Baptistao received a peach of a cross from right back Mario controlled it with a touch and unleased a vicious shot pass Andy Lonergan into the upper right corner of the net.
The match would continue to be a back and forth affair, but neither team could find the net again and Holden’s squad fell to their first defeat under his leadership.
Bolton vs Ipswich
Bolton would play a very good first half against Ipswich in Portman Road. With David Wheater finding the net for his first goal of the season in the 32nd minute with a thumping header off a corner that the defense could do nothing about.
Bolton followed that up quickly, in the extra time of the first half with a lovely series of passes with the ball falling to striker George Illiev, played to allow Clough a rest, who beat 2 defenders and drew the keeper out of the box before slotting it past the outstretched Bialkowski.
The second half was a different story. With Ipswich scoring almost straight from the kickoff in the 47th minute. Martin Cranie received the ball on the wing with space and time to play a long looping cross towards the far post that evaded both Oscar Threlkeld and David Wheater to fall perfectly at the feet of Isaiah Brown for a lovely goal.
Holden didn’t look amused, as it was a simple goal to stop and Jordan Willis was substituted shortly after for the mistake. Ipswich would play hard the entire second half, putting Bolton under intense pressure and forcing Lonergan into a number of fine saves. However they could not find the second goal and Bolton would see their way home with the 3 points after the loss to Tottenham midweek.
Bolton vs Charlton
Both teams would come out of the blocks attacking like there was no tomorrow. With Emmanuel Ledesma drawing a penalty very early on, in the 3rd minute and then stepping up to take and score it in the 4th minute. Bolton would continue to press, scoring once again in the 15th minute when Mark Davies played Southampton loanee Jack Stobbs through on goal for his first goal in a Wanderer shirt.
Three minutes later it would seem Charlton would be making a fight out of it, as Marc-Antoine Fortune got onto the end of a deep early cross to smash the ball past Elliott Parish. Almost 10 minutes later Liam Trotter would give away a penalty for a bad challenge in the box and Johnnie Jackson would step up to score the spot kick to equalize for Charlton.
Fans of both sides would have been forgiven for expecting a 2-2 draw going into halftime, however Bolton would find the perfect time to strike. Ledesma lofted a wonderfully weighted ball into the 18 yard box where it found Mark Davies unmarked who one time volleyed it along the ground and into the low near corner of the net.
Both teams would peter out in the second half, with much of the energy expended in the attempted comeback and full quashing of it in the first half it the only thing of note being a yellow card in the 56th minute.
Bolton vs Wigan.
Bolton would travel to the DW Stadium to take on their fierce rivals Wigan. Things would not start well for Bolton as they fell to an early goal in the 6th minute. Oriol Riera rose higher than David Wheater to meet a James Perch cross and smash it into the goal.
Bolton would work hard to claw their way back into the match. Especially under the whip of Holden’s harsh and scathing leadership from the sidelines. It took some clever foot work by Ledesma to take advantage of Andrew Taylor who brought the Argentinian winger down inside the box. Ledesma stepped up and sunk the spot kick for his 2nd goal in as many games.
4 minutes later Bolton had turned the deficient completely around. Zach Clough received the ball from Mark Davies, controlled it, back heeled it to Lloyd Isgrove, who played the one two back to Clough through the defense. Clough collected the ball and smashed a shot passed the stranded Ali Al-Habsi.
Once again, shortly before halftime, Bolton found the net. Emmanuel Ledesma lined up a wonderful free kick that flew past the helpless Al-Habsi and into the goal from 20 yards.
The second half it was much of the same, as Emmanuel Ledesma stepped up to the spot to take another two penalties. Scoring both, one in the 64th and another in the 68th minute. Oriol Riera would managed to score one more, but it was only consolation for the home fans who found themselves well and truly beaten at the end of the match with only 10 men on the pitch and 5 goals against them.
Bolton vs Huddersfield
Bolton’s final match of the month would see them take on Huddersfield in the Macron stadium. Bolton would get off to a decent start with the Captain Jay Spearing, freshly fit from injury, reacting fastest after an Emmanuel Ledesma free kick was parried wide by Alex Smithies, to tuck home from a hard angle in the 14th minute.
Lloyd Isgrove, also freshly fit from injury would find his theme of the season continue as he struggled off the field in the 23rd minute with a damaged heel that will keep him out for at least another week to be replaced by Simon Dawkins, another player returning from injury.
Shortly thereafter Bolton would find the net again in the 35th minute. Ledesma lofted a lovely ball in towards David Wheater who climbed highest and met it with his head. It looked a certain goal, but kissed the crossbar going almost straight up, and then straight down towards the sprawled out goal keeper. A rush of bodies and a panicked clearance attempt by Murray Wallace led to him putting the ball into his own goal.
The rest of the match would prove uneventful, as Bolton locked down their midfield and played to finish out with three points and to avoid further injuries to what many have deemed a fragile squad this year.
Bolton Wanderer’s Player of the Month
Emmanuel Ledesma had another great month running racking up an impressive 5 goals and as many assists to lead Bolton further up the table and collecting the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month award. Many are wondering if the 27 year old uncapped Argentinian can continue his run of form. He continues to eat up defense after defense with his clever moves on the ball, and his wonderful ability to place both free kicks and corners where he wants them when he wants them.
Bolton’s meteoric rise up the table continued in March under Stuart Holden as he led them to a perfect month in the league despite his first bitter defeat to Tottenham.
With playoffs almost a certainty and promotion even a possibility Bolton fans are celebrating the day Neil Lennon left and Stuart Holden made the transition from player to coach.