STOKE CITY FC 2 BOLTON WANDERERS 2
Not wishing to belittle the effort which our team put into this match,it had many of the ingredients of pure circus.Bolton simply had to win,but nothing looked less likely for the first 35 minutes or so.Stoke's opener,would you believe on THIRTEEN minutes,was pure slapstick.Jon Walters has not been able to buy a goal in recent weeks.Imagine,if you will,two clowns in the circus ring amiably jostling and joshing each other.So it was in the Bolton 6 yard box,Walters,playfully,bumping into Bogdan,the keeper throwing the ball into the net for our amusement,or so it seemed.There were at least 4,000 peoplewho did not see the funny side,most of us felt Ref Foy would be sure to rule the effort out,but he entered into the spirit of things on a fine sunny afternoon.Nothing to see,the goal stood!
In the final 10 minutes of the half we had rich entertainment,side splitting stuff,if you had the humour to cope with it.Kevin Davies hit our bar,Bolton's confidence rose.On 39 minutes they created a kerfuffle in our six yard box.Robert Huth sped to the rescue,gave the ball an almighty clout,directly against Michael Davies' legs.The ball entered our net like a rocket,past bemused keeper Sorensen.You could argue that our Danish international keeper was still in shock six minutes later.Bolton skipper Kevin Davies received the ball far out on our right.There seemed little danger as he launched the ball toward our goal mouth,no other Bolton forward in sight.Sorro rose majestically
extending his arm (as if to acknowledge the crowd) before clattering into the goal post as the ball sailed into the net to give the visitors a halftime lead,and every hope of surviving in the Premiership.
Stoke pushed and probed,Ricardo Fuller took his leave of us,but still no real opening against a poor Bolton defence until 76 minutes.Peter Crouch,who had a pretty good match overall,received the ball in the Bolton penalty area.His shot was well saved by Bogdan,but the ball broke loose,and as Crouch pursued it he was brought down by the keeper,more an accidental tangling of legs rather than a deliberate trip,but a penalty was awarded.
Jon Walters made no mistake,converting from the spot.This,plus news from elsewhere,knocked what little wind there was out of Bolton's sails.After 11 seasons they slipped back into the Championship.For our part the final position 14th in the table on 45 points might be viewed as something of a disappointment.
Still I'm pretty sure its the sort of disappointment Bolton fans could do with right now!!