PRESTON 0 : 0 BWFC
All roads led to Deepdale on a cold Friday night, courtesy of Sky TV, for our only Lancashire derby match this season, thanks to the lamentable efforts of Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic last season. Pre-match I endured the blandest chilli and chips ever in Finney’s bar. The chef should have gone to Specsavers as he had obviously missed with the chilli. Perhaps I should have gone to Specsavers as well as evidently Finney’s is reserved for home fans, something I didn’t see until I was on the way out.
Confidence was high amongst my fellow Bolton fans after the recent encouraging run of results. There was a little apprehension on the grounds that all good runs come to an end sometime and derby matches are notorious banana skins to teams in form. We had an unexpected boost as the nearest steward informed us that he had covered five North-west teams this year and had yet to see the home team win. We immediately banned him from the Macron and hoped his run would continue.
There was a five-minute delay as they sorted out a floodlight failure before Phil Parkinson was able to start with the same team as last time in front of the massed Wanderers fans. We were slow out of the blocks again as a pacey Preston team threatened to overrun us in the first half. We survived several near misses and were happy to go in at half-time still level. In the second half, we got our act together and battled our way back into the match and we got better as the match wore on, finishing the stronger and the team most likely to score.
No goals but another match, another hard-earned point. We weren’t at our best, but it is encouraging that we are coming away from these sorts of matches with something. We’re off the bottom, although that could change on Saturday, and we’re starting to catch the pack. There is still lots of room for improvement, but we are getting players back from injury and they are getting better as they try to regain their match fitness. The subs bench is now having players who can change a game. The next few home matches provide a real chance to close the points gap on the pack and I’m checking to see if that steward is available for duty at Molyneux next week.