Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Wednesday January 30 2008
So the much anticipated and long awaited away victory didn`t materialise at the Reebok Stadium!
In a game labelled as a 'six-pointer` the spoils were shared on a night where the game itself was a dreadful advert for Premier League football.
Perhaps the importance of the fixture was always going to prevent a free-flowing game or perhaps the cynics amongst us are only too willing to suggest that neither side has the class to do anything else than offer the hustle and bustle associated with survival football.
Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, the draw, whilst closing the gap between ourselves and the pack above us to four points, represents two lost. The number of games left had decreased and Bolton (away) really is one of those fixtures we should have been looking to win. In fact, I`d hazard a guess and suggest I`m not alone when I state the feeling is that the relegation trap door has crept open another couple of inches.
For the fixture, Roy Hodgson gave Premier League debuts to two of his new signings, Hangeland and Andreasen. Both gave solid performances although if pushed I`d suggest the defensive abilities of Hangeland would have given Hodgson more pleasure. For a fixture that nestled in the must win category, Hodgson chose a cautious formation with only Dempsey foraging alone up front.
Bolton, under as much pressure as Fulham, under the stewardship of Gary Megson, opted for a similar formation with Davies ploughing a lone furrow up front for the home side. Naturally, with both sides packing the midfield it was always going to be a scrappy affair with nobody given any time on the ball. Little did we know though that it would be such a dire game!
In fact you can probably count the chances generated by both teams on the fingers of one hand, if I recall rightly, Jimmy Bullard was the only Fulham player to test the Bolton keeper but Jaaskelainen easily save his low shot. For Bolton, Michalik volleyed over form close range and Andy O`Brien (one of two O`Brien`s playing for the home side) scuffed his shot when handily placed.
In hindsight, it`s just got to be two points dropped, even if the draw did give Roy Hodgson his first Fulham point and those brave souls who journeyed home, from the north-west, late into the night, will, like myself, surely be realising this survival battle is now turning into an uphill struggle, isn`t it?
Date:Wednesday January 30 2008
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