Wednesday 27th April 2011
Bolton offers some of my favourite memories following our team, Christopher Wreh's thumping winner on our way to the 1998 double, our two-goal Monday night win just before we achieved the same feat in 2002 and our almost impossible victory when two goals behind and down to ten men all spring to mind.
Unfortunately however, it is a destination that brings back some of our worst thoughts too. Sunday afternoon very much added to that list.
Even ignoring other disappointing results over the course of this season, before we kicked off against Liverpool last weekend we were still in with a chance of winning the title. Whatever our thoughts and opinions, mathematically there can be no other argument.
That chance has all but gone now yet I find myself analysing the last three games and realising that on a different day we definitely could and probably should have won all three.
It is easy for any one of us to state we definitely have something missing and of course the fact that barring a miracle collapse by our nearest rivals we have fallen short of winning the title again suggests this to be the case but for me we are not a million miles away.
Sunday was the icing on not just a frustrating week but a season of equal emotions. It seemed to sum up how things have gone all in the matter of 90 minutes or so.
The first period, despite dominating possession, didn't see many clear-cut openings for either side. Chezz made one fine save late in the half and Cesc thumped a post. Yet we found ourselves going in at half time a goal behind after a totally free header from a set piece.
Justice was done when Chezz saved the ridiculous penalty awarded and soon after our constant probing paid dividends with RVP's finish. Surely there could be only one winner as we poured forward for the rest of the half?
Sami's two great chances not finding the net increased the frustration as time started to run out.
Another free header from a corner late on and somehow we came away with not just two points dropped on this occasion but all three.
I always feel that you can't always score goal after goal when dominating a game. Nobody just lies down and most will fight to get at least a point, that's football. When playing games like this as often as we do however, it is absolutely paramount that we don't concede at the other end. For me this has arguably been our downfall.
In the last seven days we have played three tough games and scored five goals. The fact we have conceded six is probably the perfect summary.
The League table never lies and fortunately our position means we still have everything to play for to make sure we can continue in our quest for Champions League success next season. We must not lose sight of this over our next four games.
It doesn't come much tougher than the first of those four against Man Utd on Sunday.
Come on you reds!
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