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Marc Iles's big match verdict - Forest 1-0 Bolton

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NOT a single tear was shed in the among travelling fans for the end of a sorrowful season at Bolton Wanderers.
Whether the same can be said over the coming days, when the club’s very existence will again be at the mercy of solicitors and barristers, only time will tell.
A record 30th defeat of the campaign barely registers on the shame scale. This is, after all, a club which has seen its good name dragged through the mud with such depressing regularity of late it has numbed the senses.

Very little is certain at Bolton right now, save for the devoted support of their fans.
It is to their eternal credit that, with everything they have had to put up with in the last few months, they continue to turn up in force. And they were determined to enjoy the last day in the Championship too. Inflatables were batted around in fun, singing continued to spill from the Bridgford Stand to mask a forgettable game.
But there was also a darker side to the gallows humour on show. A banner unfurled at one stage, read: “Anderson club killer”.
The anger directed towards a man who – at least according to Companies House – is still in control of Wanderers, is undeniable and completely understandable.
Even Phil Parkinson, who has kept his own counsel throughout this sorry ordeal, conceded after the final whistle that had Anderson lived up to his pledge to unlock accounts with a court order and pay players in the build-up to the Ipswich game last month, that Championship status could still have been saved.

Whatever your opinion of his tactics or his selection policy, or whether it should have been better in the circumstances, it is impossible not to feel some sympathy for the hand dealt to the Bolton boss.
Even in the build-up to what could be his final game in charge of the club Parkinson suffered the indignity of being told by some players that they did not want to be selected.
The team which drove through the red gates of the City Ground in the team bus was unrecognisable from the one which left the Hawthorns on the opening day with three points under their belt and a shining sense of optimism for the season ahead.

According to EFL regulations, Parkinson had to name 10 of the 18 names on the team-sheet that appeared at Blackburn Rovers in their last match. Anxious to avoid more punishment from the league he just about managed, but one wonders with how much cajoling?
All bets are off at Bolton right now. Normal rules do not apply. Games can be cancelled and control of the club can be claimed on a whim. Even before kick-off security at Nottingham Forest admitted they had been told by the club not to allow Laurence Bassini – the man who claims to be Wanderers’ next owner – into the building. Utter lunacy.
The outcome of the game was completely immaterial. But to give credit to those who agreed to play, the performance was better than most which preceded it in the last few months.

Jack Hobbs, the former Forest centre-back, was solid as a rock at the back, as was Jonathan Grounds – which is not a sentence uttered on many occasions since he joined on loan from Birmingham City last August.
It was also encouraging to see Ronan Darcy given a professional debut from the bench, given his progression in the Under-18s and 23s this season, plus a first league start for Jack Earing, who has worked diligently under David Lee after a few cup games for the senior side.
Given better finishing, Wanderers may have busted some coupons. Josh Magennis had a decent chance in either half to get Wanderers on the scoresheet, something which has now not happened in nine hours of football if you count the 1-0 walkover against Brentford.

Equally, had Forest really pushed harder after opening the scoring through Joe Lolley on 28 minutes they could have run up a much more convincing scoreline.
Remi Matthews was never seriously tested after Lolley took advantage of Andy Taylor’s inability to clear a cross to bury his 12th of the season into the bottom corner.
Joao Coutinho, Forest's £13million record signing, flitted around the penalty box looking to cause trouble for a brief spell but Martin O'Neill's side declared at one in a way they could have appreciated over the road at Trent Bridge.
Forest’s home fans were in forgiving mood, preoccupied with the possibility that rivals Derby County’s play-off chances were faltering at one stage in the afternoon. By the end, everyone was just happy to get on with their Bank Holiday.
There are much more important times ahead for Bolton. In the next few days they could enter administration, rubber-stamp a new owner, or even go out of business altogether.

It seems pointless pontificating on whether the players who walked off the pitch will pull on a white shirt again but the reality is that we witness the end of a chapter in Nottingham that began in League One and will end there too.
The protagonists in all this are unimportant. It is the club which must survive for those devoted supporters to cheer again.

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