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City 0 Bolton 1.

Mugged. That was the word I thought of when trying to describe the result from the game. Funnily enough. that was how both Stuart Pearce and Sam Allardyce viewed the game as well.
So, the unbeaten run goes and it is extremely galling to lose a game like that (especially against Bolton) but I saw enough again to convince me that we will be there or thereabouts for a UEFA Cup place come the end of the season.
It was of course an unjust scoreline, we didn't murder them but I thought we were comfortably the more inventive, brighter and creative side and looked to win the game far more than Bolton did. We hit the woodwork five times and forced Jaaskalinen to make a couple of decent saves as well, whilst Bolton had a header (which he should have buried) and a wayward shot from Davies before getting the penalty in stoppage time.
A little bit has been said about Bolton and their direct approach, both on this site and a some of the message boards out there, but I didn't see much evidence of that as Bolton rarely attacked with any threat throughout the whole game anyway.
For all the negative words about their style of play, what you cannot discount from Bolton is their hard work, energy and the way they press their opponents. But to me, surprisingly that was missing from them today and was possibly a hangover from Thursday nights UEFA Cup game.
As for City, I thought we were fairly creative, impressed with how the team linked with one another (a credit to Pearce and the work done in training), but although we deserved to win the game I thought we lacked a killer instinct in front of goal. Sibierski played well in relief of Cole and linked well with Vassell, but he is never going to be an out and out 'finisher'. I was suprised that Fowler was not given a run out at least for the last ten minutes. In the first half I thought Reyna and Barton bossed the midfield, and were both keen to retrieve the ball from deep positions (although a little too deep at times) and brought Mills, Musampa and Sun Jihai (when he came on) into the game well.
Second half, I thought we lost a little focus and didn't boss the game as much as in the first half but we still created enough chances to put one away and take the game away from Bolton.
Hopefully, Sinclair's injury may not be as bad as I first feared, but a plus was the bright little cameo from Stephen Ireland who looked like he offers a bit more of an attacking option than some of the other midfielders on the books.
Pearce thinks that this defeat should galvanise the side and that somewhere down the line a team is going to pay for the result today. Well, we should rebound away at Doncaster on Wednesday in the Carling Cup before we head up to the North-East to take on Newcastle, who may think their season starts now after beating Blackburn 3-0 today with Michael Owen getting his first goal.