Medo commitment is wasted by Bolton Wanderers
1:40pm Monday 19th August 2013 in Sport
The Bolton News sports writer Robert Kelly gives his view on Saturday's performance.
WILL he or won’t he?
Most of the talk in the days leading up to the crunch clash with Nottingham Forest was whether Dougie Freedman would take a chance on star midfielder Chris Eagles.
We were told the protective boot he had worn had been removed and he was hoping for a quick return.
But as supporters saw the teamsheet at 2.45pm they knew the manager was looking at other options to pull the strings in attack.
The previous week, Freedman opted to go for two men up front with David Ngog and Craig Davies leading the line but with the French striker being ill in midweek he was forced into a change.
This time round he brought in Rob Hall while Darren Pratley was expected to be the link man between the midfielders and attacks.
Freedman decided to play 4-5-1 with Chung-Yong Lee, Pratley, Jay Spearing, Medo Kamara and Hall in midfield.
There is no denying Wanderers got off to the worst possible start after conceding a goal after a minute.
The hosts started brightly and dominated the early exchanges with Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid dictating play along with Adlene Guerdioura.
However, after the opening 15 minutes, Freedman’s side started to stifle the Forest threat.
It was largely the impressive work of Medo Kamara that sparked the turnaround. He was keen to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
On 25 minutes, he won a free kick on halfway and was keen to get the team going by playing the ball quickly.
He also passed the ball well and urged the players around him to provide movement.
But the positive, bossy, dictating display by the Sierra Leone midfielder did have its downside as he was almost sent off for a challenge on Andy Reid midway through the first half. As the game progressed, Hall dropped deeper into midfield and posed a threat running with the ball at defenders.
For a 25-minute spell at the end of the first half, Bolton were dominating play and looked like grabbing an equaliser.
Hall provided a new dimension to their attacking play and his dribbling skills down the touchline on the half-hour mark were a cause for concern for Forest.
He tried to link up with Pratley but the ex-Swansea man was closely shepherded by the home defence.
Meanwhile, it was a quiet day at the office for Spearing and despite all his endeavour chasing the ball down he sat too deep at times and could not provide the spark.
While most of the attacking focus came from midfield, Freedman had other outlets, including impressive full-back Marc Tierney getting forward while on other flank Alex Baptiste got forward and almost scored.
Spearing did show his class from set-pieces when his free kick picked out David Wheater whose header rebounded off the crossbar and bounced on the line.
Pratley sparkled at times, setting up Hall for a cross-cum-shot but the final touch was missing.
Chung-Yong Lee showed a few good touches but it was not until Pratley was given his marching orders that he played a bigger role in the game.
Inevitably, when they were reduced to 10 men, Wanderers were chasing the game and it was left to Medo to try to lead a spirited fightback, but it was too little too late.
Freedman brought on some fresh legs with Samni Odelusi replacing the impressive Hall while Jermaine Beckford came on for Craig Davies.
Odelusi was expected to be the foil down the left side for ex-Leeds man Beckford.
But at 3-0 Wanderers were looking merely for a consolation goal that would keep up their record of scoring in their last 13 visits to the City Ground.
Overall, with Andre Moritz some way off full fitness and Pratley suspended for the visit of QPR to the Reebok, it means that the return of Eagles on Saturday could be vital to get Wanderers back on track.