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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From my seat: Bolton (H)

By Ken Buckley :  11/11/2010 :  Comments (8) :
Beckford?s beaut bails out Blues from a game that I can only describe as frustrating.

The team selection was baffling to the average fan... and there were thousands of us baffled. My only thought was the manager may have reflected on playing 3 games in 9 days plus some injuries to players. From the off, we dominated the game and early on Bilyaletdinov had sliced wide from a Fellaini knock down and then just failed to meet a Baines cross at the far post and then Saha belted one well over the bar. Even Phil Neville danced his way into the area neatly but he met the curse of Everton ?It comes to nought at the business end?.

Then Saha had a hot shot pushed away by the keeper and Cahill was first to react but the keeper was too close to him and the ball went for a corner off the keeper?s chest. Arteta took one of his better ones and Saha met it and guided the ball toward the corner of goal only to have it cleared off the line by a well placed defender. Bolton did have the odd chance, the best of which fell to Elmander who left Jags for dead but a tremendous sliding block by Distin saved the day. Almost on the break, another decent corner was delivered but Fellaini didn?t control his volley and blasted high into the Park End.

Half-Time and the frustration was already showing. Bolton?s away support seemed to have come in 4 taxis yet they out-sang and out-shouted the gathered faithful.

Second half wasn?t much different although Bolton did come out of the traps more quickly and early on Taylor hit the top of the bar from a Holden corner; then the roles were reversed when Holden got in a powerful close range header in from a Taylor corner and Howard made a tremendous reflex save. ?USA-USA? chanted the Bolton fans bringing only stony silence from the faithful gathered.

We continued to dominate but could find no way to unlock the Bolton rearguard and when things looked promising it never quite came off. Things were summed up in one small passage of play when Bilyaletdinov was supplied with a throughball for him and he seemed to stop, look around for instruction and then hared after it; he did catch up with the ball but the quick break chance was lost.

Not long after this ,Coleman replaced him much to many a fan's delight. His pace immediately caused trouble and his willingness to run at defenders should have rubbed off on a few more. His introduction at last brought some semblance of vocal support and we upped our tempo but alas that final third was the graveyard of invention.

Blues started to build another move from the back with Jags who got caught in two minds and was not able to make either of them up. He got caught in possession and, with the rest of the team moving forward, Taylor was sent down the left and crossed for the unmarked Klasnic to bundle the ball home at the far post on 79 mins.

With this setback, Beckford and Yak were readied and the fourth official was primed when Robinson slid in on Fellaini, the Everton man took exception and whilst prone kicked out donkey fashion and was sent off. "Idiot," I thought, sawdust for brains. Beckford and Yak put their training tops back on whilst the manager rethought his subs. Eventually Saha and Neville came off.

4 mins of time added on and Bolton timewasted superbly in the corner of the Park End and Bullens Road. Many Blues left... eventually, in the very last minute, we got out of the corner, while many more had left; we got the ball to their box but it was headed away, Bolton?s Lee was first to it but Baines somehow wrestled it from him and poked it into the box. Beckford picked it up, bounced a marker off him and then deliciously curled it with power into the top corner with the keeper motionless. Those that were left celebrated, many by way of amazement, that goal was as good if not better than the Torres one on Sunday but I doubt anyone of the Sky mafia would acknowledge that.

Overall, a frustrating night, a good brand of football to a point, some good individual performances, non better than Fellaini until he let himself and everyone else down... so my MotM goes to Distin. Pienaar was splendid first half but does seem to have tendency to fade as the second half goes on.

Those not up to the mark I thought Bilyaletdinov, Arteta, Jags and Saha which also left Cahill isolated for periods of time. I got the feeling that our inability to convert chances is getting to the players as tonight a lot of wrong options were taken, i.e. shooting when a pass was required and a pass when a shot was required. A bit of work down Finch Farm way required.

Arsenal next and on recent performances a daunting task especially with Fellaini unavailable but, the way results are going in this league, I will be hoping for ?Tales of the unexpected? with the ball travelling with power and accuracy in-between those white things that hold the nets up.

See you there...
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Ian Smitham
1   Posted 11/11/2010 at 20:51:31

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Wow it looks like i am forst to respond to Kens report.

May i start by as usual on the part of the vast majority by thanking Ken for his well balanced observations.

Tonight i notice a little downbeat tone in the report which form where i sat in the ever colder Top Balcony was about right.

Bolton were no mugs and the Manager Coyle is someone who offers something.

The match report is accurate and also the sad comments re my fave player- Fella.

Peanut may tire, i have not noticed but why oh why can't they sort the contract. I have been told his current wages and they in no way compare to our top earners. Senor 75 grand, at last a few more are seeing through him. Big teams or hard working ones like your Wolves and Boltons and where is he. He even realised in the second half that the objective of corners is not to hit the first defender by signalling Baines to take over from him.

How can Pienaar feel being paid a fraction of what Senor, Johnny and Billy get?

Give him the money. Skill and committment. Appreciate the comments re Distin last night, fair play to him, he made Jags errors not look so bad. remember the first half sliding tackle? Peanut was a close second MOM.

Thanks also to Ken for headlining some of the players who were poor last night. I echo your views.

i joined the discussions last week about building a squad and was rebuked for suggesting we sell part of the squad, having watched last night my views remain. Jags is a stopper only. Billy is using up his lives, Saha is, well Saha, and the unthinkable- Arteta, ahead of central midfield of Fella and Jack? Johnny-65k PW- just no, he is too short to be a centre back and too AWOL to be a midfielder.

Changes are needed but certainly the input of Ken and his loyal support of our club is welcomed interesting balanced and i for one enjoy his reports.

Thanks Ken
Micheal Lynch
2   Posted 11/11/2010 at 21:10:49

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Good report Ken. What amazed me last night was the total lack of atmosphere in the ground. It's like we accept mediocrity and the life has been drained from us with no great light at the end of the tunnel. I could not believe he dropped Yak and Coleman. As for the overall tactics, I will just never understand why he does not go full on attack against sides like Bolton. But that's that and it's another 2 points dropped.
Ray Robinson
3   Posted 11/11/2010 at 22:05:09

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It was certainly a "grumpy" crowd last night. I couldn't understand the team selection and the failure to shoot when promisingly placed is beginning to really aggravate me. There can be no excuse whatsoever not to engage in the transfer market in January. If funds are not available, then some trade-ins need to occur to finance changes (Bily, Heitinga, Saha).

We are an ineffective, impotent side that may actually have improved in terms of ball retention but the lack of pace, incision and width is so evident that it should have been addressed during the close season. Games at Wolves and Stoke away last season, even the last home match against Pompey, were clear indications of the lack of fire power. We must be the easiest side in the league to defend against..

I'm just sick and tired of clear signs being ignored and no amount of pretty, pretty football with no end product is going to improve the mood around the place at the moment. Well a win against Arsenal might help!
Dick Fearon
4   Posted 12/11/2010 at 11:16:31

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Another much appreciated report, Ken.

Joined-up football has its place but only when it results in goal attempts. Without that kind of end result, you can keep it.

It is particularly painful when we outplay opponents in the fancy dan department only to go down to an opponent's no-frills long-ball and cross as we did against Bolton.

Before it is too late, we must get someone onto our coaching staff who has an attacking history.

Peter Norris
5   Posted 12/11/2010 at 12:34:36

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Accurate report again, Ken. The issue re the silent crowd in my view was brought about partially by the team selection. In the top balcony (agree with Ian #1 re brass monkeys) the number of people asking wtf when Seamus and the Yak were not starting was revealing.

Don't buy this resting malarky ? you need to win the next game always. Same old ? nice foreplay but penetration was lacking.

Fellaini should be fined for his misdemeanour ? not helping the cuase when we probably most need it.

Bring on the Arse!

Alasdair Mackay
6   Posted 12/11/2010 at 13:15:18

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Great report, as usual, Ken.

Bily is getting better with every game, in my opinion. I don't think the wing is the right place for him. He has to play behind the striker, but isn't going to get in ahead of Cahill. Pienaar had his best game of the season for me and Fellaini was excellent until he got sent off.

Players of the season so far are Baines and Distin. Consistency and quality.
Jon Cox
7   Posted 12/11/2010 at 13:07:11

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Enjoyed that, Ken.

I could only see the game via the interweb but that morgue-esq atmosphere certainly came accross in the transmission.

I would go for a bit of a clear out come Jan. We need a fresh infusion of ideas. Things are stale and Moyes needs to act. Even if we were to get Donovan, the way things are and since he's really a sriker, I'd go with him in the middle and keep Seamus out wide. Donovan and Becks? We couldn't do any worse with regards scoring goals... Could we?
Tony J Williams
8   Posted 12/11/2010 at 13:50:36

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"It's like we accept mediocrity and the life has been drained from us with no great light at the end of the tunnel" Eh? How is a crowd that is genuinely pissed off with what is going on in front of them accepting mediocrity?

Surely if we had accepted it, we would be cheering the useless feckers in the middle even if they just turn up?

My enthusiasm has gone because I am sick and tired of professional footballers cacking themselves and not shooting. Have a dig, the crowd will OOOOOOHHHH if you miss then applaud you. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

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