13 March 2021

Port Vale vs Bolton Wanderers

As the first anniversary of our incarcerations passed this week, thoughts inevitably turned to the last time we were allowed out to watch our beloved Wanderers at Wimbledon and Burton. Having a laugh at the first fan to wear a mask and a group of Bolton fans washing their hands together while dutifully singing happy birthday twice in the service station on the way back.  Little did we know what an extraordinary twelve months would follow that, for both the country and Bolton Wanderers. There is light at the end of the tunnel for the country as vaccinations kick in and we cautiously follow the Government’s roadmap. There is light at the end of the tunnel for Bolton Wanderers too as Ian’s Evatt’s bold roadmap is starting to come to fruition.
So, it was with growing excitement and expectations, we headed virtually to Burslem to face the Valiants and gain revenge for the 3-6 hammering we experienced at home earlier this season. We started with an unchanged team and Ian Evatt’s policy of no goalkeeper on the bench was soon challenged as Matt Gilks took a heavy knock on his ankle but thankfully, he got up and carried on. We then lost Antoni Sarcevic and we looked a bit tired and flat in the fist half. But we dug in, found some reserves of energy in the second half and Gethin Jones finished off a brilliant move after a fantastic set up by Dapo Afolayan to seal another three hard earned points. Port Vale were certainly up for this match and challenged us all the way, but their play in the final third let them down and they never really looked like scoring.
Now we get a little break without midweek games for a few weeks as our rivals play catch up. We are up to 6th but the position is clouded with most teams having games in hand on us. At least half the division are still in with a realistic shout for promotion, either outright or through the play-offs. It really is a case of taking one game at a time and let us see where it takes us. The skill, the spirit and the determination are there in abundance for us. But there are 11 more real tests to overcome, where our squad and character will be tested to the limits. Onwards and upwards, bring on Walsall.