What a disappointing result (pretty much ruined my weekend, and I'm still thoroughly annoyed with how things played out). I'm told by a couple of reliable sources that went to the game that we were much the better side on paper, played OK first half, but switched off and invited pressure in the second, effectively trying to play for a replay for the last 15... That said, that's cup football - teams in lower leagues can and will raise their games and come into fixtures like this treating it as their 'cup final' - we did exactly the same to Braintree, and it's really frustrating that our players didn't seem to have the same mindset that they’ve shown over the previous games that's seen us win two really difficult cup ties and climb up the league table. 12 months ago, I'd possibly be questioning Blackman if he'd had a bad game, but given the fantastic performances he's put in over the previous few games, I've got no issue whatsoever - the dive, mobility, commitment and attitude he shows more than makes up for any shortcomings in my opinion - at this level, playing like he has been, he's a very good player that I’m proud to see wearing a Town shirt.
For me, it's how we respond to this that's key - bounce back against Cray with the same attitude, organisation and commitment that we've shown over the last month and we'll be fine, let this setback affect us and it will be doubly disappointing. It's up to the management to get our players mindsets back in the right place, but more so up to the players to have a long hard look at themselves and know that Saturday wasn't nearly good enough and it absolutely can't happen again regularly if we are going to progress.
Regarding player recruitment, I don't think there will be many Town fans that will a) begrudge Mo a move up the leagues (as shaky as Bolton are financially) or b) be unhappy that we signed him in the first place, given that he's contributed considerably in his time at the club. He's a player that can play higher in my view, so good luck to him. Ultimately if he didn't want to sign a contract with us, then what can we do - bottom line, doing so would severely hamper his chances of progressing, and from what Andy has said, it was always clear that he was looking to get into the professional game at some point. Signing Read to me looks like pretty shrewd business, with Bricknell injured (any update?), and now Mo departing. It's very easy to say that we should have signed him way back when, but if another club offered him better terms, what can we do?
Lastly a shout out to Littlehampton, who's 'euphoric' comments upthread were for me all about drumming up support, interest and enthusiasm for a really important cup tie for the club - if doing so encouraged just one extra fan to make the trip down south, or the ultras to sing just a tiny bit louder, then his efforts were more than worthwhile. Most fans are excited, positive and encouraging about the club, win or lose (and clearly we will lose games along the way - we're not Liverpool), but I do wonder whether some are more content with us playing badly as it justifies their preconceptions about the management, style of play and direction that the club is going. Food for thought…