Gary Madine’s last-gasp equaliser against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday brought a huge sigh of relief for both club and player – in what could prove to be a turning point for the fortunes of Bolton Wanderers this season.
Having previously trailed 2-0 to the high-flying Seagulls, goals from Neil Danns, and Madine’s glancing header cancelled out first-half efforts from Dale Stephens and Jamie Murphy, to earn a much needed point for Bolton.
At two down after such a short amount of time, many fans may have cast an eye on the 4-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town a week ago, and had a worry that history would have repeated itself, fortunately, it didn’t, and an inspired comeback would play out in the dramatic closing stages, leaving the hosts jubilant.
Despite hovering a place above the final relegation spot, the manner of the comeback on Saturday proves that there is still a light at the end of the tunnel.
I for one am pleased for the Madine, who has done everything but find the back of the net in his last eight games, can Bolton finally bring the best out of the Gateshead-native?
The former Sheffield Wednesday man had a goal controversial ruled out prior to his equaliser, before getting the goal he eventually netted – so let’s hope that this will be a sign of things to come from an individual who had took his fair share of stick from the Bolton faithful.
With a deal for Swansea City frontman Marvin Emnes failing to materialise in the last week, supporters had feared for the club’s attacking options, given the respective injuries to Emile Heskey and Zach Clough.
However, Madine’s physical presence up-front, which have been aided by the re-emergence of Max Clayton from his injury, and Stephen Dobbie’s experienced head, somewhat softens the blow of the blow.
He struggled to form a fruitful partnership with Clough, but in the game against Brighton, he worked well alongside Max Clayton.
Wanderers needed a response following the hammering they took the week before, and the comeback against the current table-toppers, which showed that the desire and passion appears to be coming back to the men from the Macron Stadium, after a poor start to their fourth season in the second-tier of relegation.
Should Bolton have lost that game, Wanderers would have looked into what will be a tough October with even more dread, but more gritty performances like that will make us hard to beat, reverting back to the similar standards when Lennon took over last October.
League encounters against Queens Park Rangers, Burnley, Birmingham City, Leeds and Preston follow in the next month, as Lennon’s men will attempt to climb up the table in the coming weeks.
There is obviously still fair work to be done to resolve Bolton’s current situation, but the Trotters Northern Irish manager has installed some spirit back within the squad, and amongst the supporters.
Further back the field, Bolton’s midfielders played a pivotal role in earning a point, with the likes of Liam Feeney, Neil Danns and late substitute Jay Spearing all providing an impact.
In particular, Danns has impressed me recently – and capped off a fine personal performance with a daisy-cutter effort towards half-time, which started the revival going into the second-half, him and the rejuvenated Mark Davies have both linked up well together.
Lennon will also have a dilemma following Jay Spearing’s cameo, having been frozen out and farmed out on-loan to local rivals Blackburn Rovers, the tentative Liverpudlian has surely forced himself back into the plans of the manager.
Hopefully, the positive result against a team who deservedly sit at the summit of the Championship can provide as a stepping stone for future matches, in what will be a long season.