Bolton Wanderers vs Oxford United

Fresh from our brilliant performance at Lincoln, we headed down to the Unibol in good spirits to face the first half of our Oxbridge double. The mood amongst the fans is positively buoyant after our good start and a growing feeling that we can compete at this level and that we are not going to lose many. It was awesome to hear the ridiculously premature but wonderfully optimistic ‘We are going up’ from the ecstatic Wanderers fans after we scored the winner at Lincoln.
Sensibly, the Harvester had taken on more bar staff and the club opened the gates 30 minutes early to combat the closure of most of our watering holes near the stadium.Declan John returned after injury and Lloyd Isgrove came in for the injured Amadou Bakayoko as Ian Evatt was able to use his squad and name a strong bench as well. In a lively start, Oxford looked sharp and dangerous on the break. They took the lead through a dubious goal. Dapo Afolayan curled in the equaliser at the right time, just before half-time, to end the half in which Oxford were the better team. However, our team has character and a growing maturity to sort things out in the second half and we finished deserved winners after Eoin Doyle’s near post header from a corner.
We can see the improvements in our team, match by match. Our winner was from a corner, and it was obvious that this was something the team had been working on. Confidence is high amongst the management, the team and the fans, which is a great feeling after the decade of struggle, 2016-17 and last season excepted, that we have endured. It is very early days, and we must not get ahead of ourselves but keep the hard work up for what promises to become a very exciting season. There is a great feeling amongst the fans with 4,700 tickets being snapped up for our Carabao Cup duel with Wigan Athletic next week. Both home matches have had superb turnouts with over 15,000 watching today.
I expect Ian Evatt to make good use of his squad on Tuesday night and still be able to put a strong team out, capable of giving Wigan a good run for their money. It is good to be a Wanderers fan right now. Our club is on the way back. Let’s enjoy it.