A tough night at the office for the U’s as we were beaten by a strong Bolton side. It’s clear the punishing schedule of games is beginning to take its toll on the hardworking U’s side, with a number of players looking knackered on the full time whistle. On the night, Bolton were the better side, and really, it was just one of those off-days for the U’s.
There’s three main talking points from the match which we’ll try and cover below. The first issue was the injury to Jack Iredale, which we can only hope is not as serious as Jack’s facial expression let on. Iredale has been our best player this season, and he’s versatile in a number of useful positions, so to not have him available for a while is going to be a big miss for United. Bonner said in his pre-match presser that the next couple of weeks are going to be the hardest for us to manage before players start returning from injury, and to now be missing Iredale is going to show the lack of depth in our squad. As Iredale went off the pitch with his head in his hands many fans would be fearing the worst, but it’s not going to do anyone any good to speculate so we’ll just have to sit tight and wait for the results of his treatment, whilst keeping our fingers crossed it’s nothing serious. (A nice touch at the end, was when Bolton manager Ian Evatt, someone most of us here at UTAS think is a bit of a wanker, went over to speak with Jack with his arm round him, so well done for that Ian.)
The second talking point is obviously James Brophy’s error for the second goal. We’re not going to dwell on this too much, as it’s clearly a mistake and Brophy worked hard to make up for it afterwards, but it’s just another thing that will divide peoples opinions of the player. We’ve written about this before, and criticism of him isn’t always unjustified, but he’s a good asset for the team, despite his one-footedness. The main frustration last night was the time at which the mistake came, when United were applying some decent pressure to Bolton and were looking at their most dangerous. Could we have sneaked a point if we’d have limited them to just one goal? Perhaps, but that’s just football sometimes.
Thirdly we’re going to talk about Lorent Tolaj – many U’s fans were excited to see what our new loan signing from Brighton could do, and there was some initial disappointment when he didn’t make the starting eleven. When we did eventually see him, with 25 minutes remaining, he looked impressive, confident and up for the challenge. It will take him (and us) a while to adapt to each others strengths, and it’s clear that he’s not a direct replacement for Ironside, but he looks like he’ll be an asset for the club.
So yeah, one of those results yesterday, we always seem to struggle against Bolton, and they’ve got probably four or five times the budget we have but they’re only a point and two places ahead of us in the League table. One noticable mark of just how far the club has come under Bonner is that we didn’t look in awe of Bolton or their nice ground, which is an accusation we threw at the club last year. We’re in this league on merit and we deserve to be here regardless of the size of our stadium or wage bill.
Man of the Match: A few players had off days yesterday, but the games are coming thick and fast this season so we’re not going to dig anyone out by name given the performances we’ve seen over the past few months. Praise last night goes to Dimi Mitov for a good performance in goal and George Williams for just being George Williams really.
Soundtrack of the Match: LCD Soundsystem – Tribulations