A double from Nicolas Anelka (inevitably) condemned us to a second successive home defeat and is making the supposed superb home form a distant memory, and in doing so provided a reminder of the quality that he has and how much his goals have been missed since his departure.
It is true that we didn't have a great deal of help from Mike Riley, as he turned down two good penalty appeals and ruled against us in Dickov's claim that his header had crossed the line but it is difficult to win games against a side like Bolton without gift-wrapping both goals to them.
Once the second goal went in, I doubt that there was anyone in the ground who believed that we could conceivably haul ourselves back into the game - and so it proved. You cannot fault the effort of the players out there, but they look woefully short on confidence and ideas to get out of the predicament they are in.
Save for Joey Barton (yet again), there didn't seem anyone willing to put their foot on the ball and actually create something and the 'tactic' of hitting long balls to two small front men beggars belief. Barton's dismissal of course rules him out of the next three games (subject to appeal) and is difficult to see us getting something in either of the two upcoming games. The danger will be if we slip into the bottom three as psychologically it becomes difficult to get out and you are constantly playing catch-up.
There are more calls for Pearce to go, at the very least to inject a change into the club and it will now be a test of his abilities to turn things around, but as it stands there don't appear he is able to provide too many answers. A lack of a viable alternative could be a problem for the board though if they are seriously considering a change.
The transfer window is upon us and it maybe that the club has to take a short term approach with it to guarantee Premiership survival which is so crucial this season more than any other. Pearce may not have much room to manoevere though, and his record in the transfer market is appearing poorer as time goes on. There are more rumours of a SWP for Richards swap today and it maybe that Pearce decides to roll the dice on such a move to try and spark something in the side.
If he can't spark something soon, then time could well be running out for him.
"We have a scrap on our hands...what we cannot afford
to do is feel sorry for ourselves. We have had what we thought was a goal
disallowed and a player, we feel, wrongly sent off. But they are just excuses.
"We must roll our sleeves up and respond in the right
manner." - Stuart Pearce