Another defeat live on Sky. Our first league defeat of 2023 and our first under Dean Holden. No complaints though, we were outclassed today and 1-2 flattered us.
I thought Bolton were the best side to visit the Valley this season. They were at it from the off. Ricardo Santos dominated the defence, Shola Shoretire ran the midfield and Dion Charles looked deadly upfront. This was a club that brought in Jerome Cameron and Victor Adeyboyejo yesterday.
They took the lead with their first free-kick, a 35 yarder which rattled in off the top of Maynard-Brewer's right-hand post after only three minutes. It was a cruel blow - Maynard-Brewer was inches away but the strike from Morley was perfection. After that, they could have been three-up by half-time but desperate defending and a large slice of luck limited their lead. All we managed was a weak header from Rak-Sakyi after a decent move and long range shot from the same player which Trafford gathered comfortably.
After the break we struck early with a finely worked goal which Albie Morgan finished with a shot across Trafford. We had momentum for ten minutes or maybe a bit more and Rak-Sakyi had a glorious chance at the near post to give us an undeserved lead. His swipe flew across the goal and evaded the far post and our hopes seemed to go with it too. Bolton continued to come forward and carved us open at times but we held on. Their winner came courtesy of another Inniss heading howler. Getting up to a high ball I think he was in trouble and didn't know whether to head east, west, north or south. He opted for east and it fell to a Bolton player in acres of space who just had to touch in on to Dion Charles to stroke home into an unguarded net as Maynard-Brewer was on the ground after scrambling to support Inniss.
We lost momentum after that and none of the substitutions worked. Bolton could have scored again before the end but we continued to ride our luck. There was a decent crowd to see this one and that reflects well on the improvement under Dean Holden. I suspect Thomas Sandgaard will be watching and wondering, if only....
Next week must surely bring us some news on the tortured takeover. From what I have seen, I hope it fails. Back to Sandgaard won't be great but this takeover group's plan was disastrous for us. If they succeed, expect some very economical language from Charlie Boy.
Great to have a beer after the game with my old mucker, Paul Hamley. Charlton mates for forty years.