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Reading 0-1 Bolton

There is a chance that when the season ends, and Bolton have been promoted, that this result won't look so bad. However, given that we are only four games since they narrowly avoided relegation, and in that time their players have been on strike I'm going to count it as A Bad Loss.

With no fit wingers it was always going to be a challenge to guess the side. John Swift ended up on the left wing, with Meite being fit enough to take part on the opposite flank. Presumably the thinking was that against two big centre backs the pace and skill of Baldock and McNulty should have trumped Bodvarsson.

Clement likes his wing players to drift inside and contribute in the centre of the pitch too, which I presume was why he felt comfortable putting Swift out wide, but the problem was that he was dragged into the middle too easily. You need to pull them out wide so that you can then exploit the space in the middle - space that never materialises when all your attacks go through one area go begin with. It also puts pressure on Blackett at left back, because all of a sudden he's dealing with a 2-on-1 when they manage to break.

I've tried to scrub most of the game from my mind, but what I do remember is that Bolton are unlucky to only win by one. Easily the best chance of the first half was when Magennis rolled McShane and squared to Will Buckley, only for him to shoot tamely at Mannone.

Buckley was replaced by Wildschut at the beginning of the second half, and when the Dutchman was set through unfortunately he did not make the same mistake as the man he came on for. McShane failed to track the run, and didn't put up much of a fight to get back. The decision to drop Ilori  over the captain provided much consternation, and he has been one of the better players in the handful of games before this - but it's not as if he hasn't also made mistakes. Letting Grabban clean through on goal at the City Ground, or giving away a dangerous free-kick against Birmingham. I do think he'll get a chance soon after this though.

Yes, Reading had chances. Swift had another good free kick - that again the keeper made a bit of a meal of, and Meite went through on goal but he was always under pressure. Elsewhere on the pitch McNulty looked lively without ever really troubling the defence, and Kelly had another poor game.  The side occasionally seems fractured between those who still have Stam's keep ball ingrained, and those trying to make runs in behind. Put the ball in behind! The worst thing that happens is we get up the pitch.

Can I see us getting a point at Blackburn? Not off the back of that performance. Can I see us getting a point at Villa Park? No. Can I see us getting anything from Sheffield Wednesday after getting thumped at home to Watford? Unlikely.

I guess it's time to pray.


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