Losing their grip

Wanderers won't fancy trip to Stoke, says Merse

Last Updated: 07/05/12 9:03am

Bolton 2-2 West Brom
Soccer Special analysis

"It's a nightmare result. You can tell from the fans - they looked like they'd been relegated."

Paul Merson

Quotes of the week

Bolton are in major trouble at the foot of the table, according to Paul Merson, after blowing a 2-0 lead to draw against West Brom.

Owen Coyle's side appeared to be taking a giant stride towards Premier League survival thanks to a Martin Petrov spot-kick and an own goal by the Baggies' Billy Jones, only for Chris Brunt and a last-minute James Morrison goal to split the spoils.

Read our match report here.

The result leaves Bolton in the bottom three ahead of their trip to Stoke on the final day of the season - and Merson told Soccer Saturday that they will only have themselves to blame if they do end up relegated.

"It was too open. In the first half there were 21 efforts from either side. You don't want to be playing like that end-to-end," said Merse.

"They got the penalty and then they went 2-0 up with the most bizarre own goal ever. The ball came across, Liam Ridgewell came to clear it, smashed it against Jones, it's off his chest into the net. You think that's it then. Everybody's partying and all the fans are singing.

"Within three minutes it was 2-1 and then after that the nervousness around the place - they couldn't keep the ball, they were sitting back, they were just booting the ball up front.

"They are up virtually: QPR are drawing, they're winning. Even if they win 2-1 they would still have dropped into the bottom three but they would have gone to Stoke needing a draw, probably.

"But now they've got to go to Stoke and win. That's a lot, lot different from going to Stoke and having to draw to stay up and I think now they are in major trouble."


Merse felt the Baggies put in a decent shift and fully deserved their point ahead of next week's clash against Arsenal.

The Gunners slipped up on Saturday, drawing with Norwich, but still have a Champions League place within their grasp.

However, Merse warned Arsene Wenger's men not to take West Brom lightly.

"Fair play to West Brom. They had an absolute right go. I thought they were very good and looking at it from an Arsenal point of view, West Brom will give them a game next week - there's no question about that. I was very, very impressed with them especially the lad Long, who I thought was outstanding.

"Bolton had a lot of chances but so did West Brom. It was end-to-end stuff. Foster makes an absolute worldly from Kevin Davies' header. It's an unbelievable save. If that goes they probably go on and win the game easily but fair play to West Brom.

"It's a nightmare result. You can tell from the fans - they looked like they'd been relegated. People were walking to the turnstiles early. They've probably seen so many times this season. They had five minutes of injury time."