The boos at full time (and half-time for that matter) told the story. Bolton fans witnessing the latest miserable performance from their team wished they’d gone to the Boxing Day sales instead. It seems that the players were of a similar mind.
Sheffield Wednesday won with a solitary goal from Mamady Sidibé, whose size and strength posed a problem all day. The big Malian showed impressive movement to latch onto Lewis Buxton’s cross and head past Adam Bogdan leaving the flat footed Tim Ream rooted to the spot.
By contrast the home side had David N’Gog up front, who spent most of the afternoon lying on his face. The Frenchman is willing enough but he lacks the strength and guile to play the one-up role associated with Kevin Davies for so long.
The sense of outrage is fading fast amongst the Reebok faithful, to be replaced by weary resignation, so Dougie Freedman’s post match comments aroused puzzlement rather than anger.
“In the second half I thought we gave it a real good go,” pronounced the Whites boss, sounding like a certain ginger person whose name will not be mentioned here. If Freedman thought that any part of the latest debacle was acceptable then he must have taken a few crafty swigs of the wife’s cooking sherry as she primed the Christmas trifle.
Keystone cops defending is still in evidence, the players look like they’ve only just met over a pre-match beer, and the principal attacking ploy is to take the ball wide and then hoof it into the penalty area to no one in particular. It’s a sure-fire way of losing possession.
The last five games have seen three defeats, all of them against foot of the table sides. The points per game ratio stands at 1.27 under Freedman, compared to 1.1 on Owen Coyle’s watch this season. In short, the latest Glaswegian has made next to bugger all difference.
That judgment may seem harsh. It is argued that Freedman needs time to bring in his own players. That may be the case, but a competent manager has the ability to work with what he’s been given. His charges should be organised and motivated at the very least. It’s true that you can’t polish a turd, but given the time of year it could at least have been rolled in glitter.
There is now the fear that chairman Phil Gartside has appointed his fourth duff manager in a row. Garty has been quiet of late. He’s not even slagging the fans off on Twitter.
Worse than that, the threat of a second successive relegation cannot be discounted. At the start of the season that seemed unthinkable. Given the lack of spirit displayed at present it’s now a frightening possibility.
– Richard McCormick