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Bradford survive

Pre-season tour
Gallen signs
Hornets sting Town
Owls shot down
Gray returns
Wijnhard crashes out
Worthington woe
Ayre departs
First home point
Bye Bye Brucie
New manager announced
Fans show anger
9 points to safety
First home win
Ndlovu at first sight
Town leap to safety
Macari wins award
More cup woe
Ndlovu joins Blades
Jamie jumps ship
Town hit rock bottom again
Morris' McApline move
Prodigal son returns
Biggest win
QPR doomed
Nearly there
The bitter end

Saturday 9th September.

Today was an early chance to erase the memory of Tuesday’s debacle against Oldham, although the opposition Bolton Wanderers had a similar memory to expunge having been knocked out by Macclesfield. Unfortunately, Town were going to have to manage without the vocal support of yours truly who was suffering from a really bad nauseous headache. I got as far as putting on my socks and undies, but still didn’t feel as though I could make it through the 90 minutes without throwing up.

The team showed a few changes from Tuesday, with Ken Monkou partnering Chris Lucketti and Craig Armstrong in a 5 man defence that featured new loan signing Rob Kozluk in the right back slot. Kevin Gallen and Chris Holland (I thought he was going to be out for a month) both returned to the starting eleven and our other loan signing Kevin Kyle was on the substitutes bench.

Eager to put the week’s cup humiliation behind them Town started brightly and had an early chance in the fourth minute when Kevin Gallen headed just wide of the target following a lay off by Jamie Vincent. The Trotters had ambitions of their own to continue their unbeaten start to the campaign and Nico Vaesen needed to be on the ball to tip a Dean Holdsworth effort around the post for a corner after 9 minutes. Both sides continued to attack at will and Kevin Gallen had further opportunities to break the deadlock in the 11th and 18th minutes but on both occasions Jussi Jaaskelainen was able to save the effort. Town’s luck at the other end held out in the 21st minute when Dean Holdsworth contrived to completely miss the ball from Per Frandsen’s free kick from the left.

The game continued in a fairly adventurous manner as both sides continued to look positive although the number of clear-cut chances diminished as the half progressed. Rob Kozluk tried to break free from his defensive shackles where possible and provided a great cross into the area on 35 minutes but the ball was cleared for a corner before Martin Smith could connect. Kozluk again showed his attacking ambitions as the end of the half neared but his shot was a little too near to Jaaskelainen and the keeper safely collected the effort. Deep into injury time a Jamie Vincent corner was beautifully met by Kevin Gallen but unfortunately his powerful header passed inches wide of the upright. Town probably deserved to be in the lead as the referee brought the half to a close, but at least they had negotiated the first 45 minutes safely against one of the division’s fancied teams.

After the interval I was starting to feel a little brighter and so must Town as they took the lead through Martin Smith in the 51st minute. Bolton keeper Jaaskelainen hit a poor clearance from Dean Holdsworth’s weak back-pass and as it landed at the feet of Smith he calmly chipped the ball into the back of the unguarded net from 35 yards out. The lead proved to be short lived as Town’s woeful defending this season continued when they failed to pick up Dean Holdsworth just 4 minutes later as he drove home John O’Kane’s cross.

Former Bantam Isaiah Rankin was sacrificed for ex-Walsall striker Michael Ricketts in the 52nd minute and Steve Bruce introduced lanky Kevin Kyle for his Town debut on the hour replacing the tiring Ken Monkou. Unfortunately for Town it was the Bolton substitution that proved decisive as Ricketts caught Lucketti in two minds what to do with the ball and the Bolton striker lobbed the ball home from 12 yards out. It seemed that once again Town were going to throw away a lead, but Jon Dyson on as a second half substitute for the injured again Martin Smith had other ideas. In the 74th minute Dyson rose to plant Jamie Vincent’s corner into the back of the net to restore parity to the scoreline.

The home joy proved to be extremely short lived once again as Bolton broke forward straight from the kick off with Bo Hansen finding acres of space down the right. His cross found veteran striker Ian Marshall at the back post, and with Town's defence in disarray, teed up Ricketts for a simple close-range side-foot to make the score 3-2.

Former Bolton favourite Scott Sellars was brought on in the 83rd minute as Bruce forfeited another defender Jamie Vincent as they tried to avoid yet another home defeat. Once again our lack of real quality up front showed through as we failed to trouble Bolton again and the score remained the same until full time and the dire start to this campaign at home continued. We have been unlucky with injuries to key players such as Steve Jenkins and Clyde Wijnhard but we must improve the defence as we cannot hold onto a lead this season and if we could we would be occupying a league position similar to that of our visitors today.

With another tough game on Tuesday in front of the Sky TV cameras against Wimbledon, the points are looking a little hard to come by at the moment. Another worrying aspect of the game is that attendances seem to be in freefall. Although my own absence reduced the crowd by one, a turnout of 12,248 contained 2,478 from the wrong side of the Pennines. I am no mathematician but this tells me that the number of Town fans was below 10,000. Wimbledon are notoriously badly supported, and the attendance for Tuesdays fixture is likely to be pretty poor indeed.

TOWN 2 (Smith 47, Dyson 74)

Bolton Wanderers 3 (Holdsworth 51, Ricketts 69, 75)

Position in table – 21st

Town – Vaesen; Kozluk; Vincent (Sellars 83); Monkou (Kyle 60); Lucketti; Armstrong; Gorré; Beech; Holland; Gallen; Smith (Dyson 68). Subs not used – Margetson; Hay.

Bolton Wanderers – Jaaskelainen; O'Kane; Whitlow; Bergsson; Frandsen (Richardson 84); Hansen; Holdsworth (Marshall 72); Farrelly; Barness; Passi; Rankin (Ricketts 52). Subs not used – Banks; Morini

Referee – Paul Reier (Tipton). Attendance 12,248



All words and thoughts by Chris except where stated.

A big thank you to Machala for putting up with me doing this and Ian for his support and my Mum for her proof reading.

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