'We are really coming along" - Trafford on Vale draw and improved away form

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'We are really coming along" - Trafford on Vale draw and improved away form
'We are really coming along" - Trafford on Vale draw and improved away form

JAMES Trafford believes Saturday’s hard-fought point at Port Vale shows Wanderers are getting it right on the road.

Ian Evatt had voiced his concern this week that performances away from the University of Bolton Stadium had not necessarily hit the same high standards as those at home.

But the Bolton boss got the response he wanted with a plucky second-half display at Vale Park, as Wanderers not only held on with 10 men in the 34 deg C heat, they almost won the game outright.

Trafford, who has been on the losing side just three times since arriving at the club on loan in January, feels defensive organisation has improved.

“The home games take care of themselves to a certain extent,” he said. “Away from home I think we have been good, especially with the support we get – to see them today packing out the away end, they were so loud and it was all you could hear, even second half when I was down the other end.

“To be fair we were quite pleased with the result because we have played pretty much 60 minutes with 10 men on a really hot day, on a really big pitch, like nobody has ever said.

“We battled well and we were upbeat. We thought we should have been ahead – the ball went in but we don’t know why they didn’t give a goal.

“It is a point but we should have got three. But I think we are really coming along.”

Trafford was also happy to see the half-time gameplan executed perfectly by the defenders in front of him.

“We are a great in-possession team but I think we can be really good when we sit in too,” he said. “We didn’t want loads of crosses going into the box because that’s what this lot play for. We just played a mid-to-low block, showed them out wide, and Jack and Geth, Connor and Demps defended because they are good at doing that.”

“We just got told to narrow up a bit, play one up top, try to defend and create some chances either with a set piece or through transition, and we did.

“The gaffer put good messages into us at half time, the rest of the staff did too, like Gillo, and we followed them well.”

The talking point of the day was the red card handed to Ricardo Santos.

Ref Ross Joyce dished out a second yellow to the defender after he was adjudged to have fouled Ellis Harrison, after which the last hour of the game became a very different prospect for the Whites. “In my opinion it isn’t a sending off but I am not a ref, maybe they know more?” Trafford shrugged. “The ref has a decision to make and we needed to get on with it, which we did.

“When we got the sending off it was a bit of a shock. They had some glimpses in the game but it wasn’t anything too much. Once the skip got sent off it was just about getting to half time at 0-0 and then reorganising and going again.

“We brought Slim (Will Aimson) on and we were quite organised in that second half. I thought we defended well.”

Trafford played his part with a few good saves – the best of which denied Harrison from point blank range as he got on the end of Funso Ojo’s right-wing cross.

“It was never goal-bound,” said the Manchester City keeper, ramping up the modesty. “The ball was just there and I touched it around the post.”