Date: 13th August 2007 at 7:35am
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It was interesting to see that in the tediously overhyped build up to the match against ‘The Wanderers` this weekend Kevin Nolan admitted that the departure of Big Sam had driven him to drink. If that`s the case then God knows what he`ll be doing following the shambles that Sammy Lee served up on Saturday. Speedballing by September like River Phoenix probably.

Without wanting to gloat too much, given the fact Bolton are pretty much a non-entity as far as we`re concerned, it was heartwarming to see Big Sam use the proverbial Hulk Hebburn leg-drop on his former side. “The Gimp” Gartside, Nolan and Lee all got some semblance of just desserts following some pretty petty sniping over the last few weeks. Watching MOTD with one eye open was satisfaction guaranteed as Gartside sat squirming and wiping egg off his face. Needless to say it was he who looked the prick, especially after he had barred three of Sam`s guests from the Directors` Box.

On the pitch the 4-3-3 formation worked an absolute treat. Smithy, Geremi and Butt all bossed the midfield leaving the tireless Milner, Oba and the Duke to terrorise the new boy Cid and the pretty decent Faye (obviously not a relative of Wor Amady). At the back Rozenhal and Stevie T seem to have struck up an early understanding and it`ll be worth a watch seeing how they progress together.

More surprising though was the Zog at left back, who did a good job, and Steven Carr having a decent game for a change. Harps also managed to pull a couple of reasonable stops out the bag, despite looking more burnt than that Glaswegian bomber at the airport the other week.

For the goals – great delivery by the Zog for the first goal. As Andy Gray so often comments, he put it into the ‘corridor of indecision` and punished Bolton`s lack of assertiveness at the back. The second was a pearler. Milner, never giving up the ball, tackling in and then delivering an inch perfect ball for Oba to do his best Airwolf impersonation. The third was pretty fluky mind. Bolton`s goal was probably the pick of the game from a footballing perspective, although I was pretty surprised that Gezza didn`t body check McCann before he could get into his stride.

Overall then a pretty impressive performance for Big Sam`s first game. Villa on Saturday is already looking like a test of whether we`re going to be falling into the time old tactic of one step forward, one step back. Lets hope for a flying start and some consistency. Howay the Lads.