Bolton Wanderers Man of the Match v. Crystal Palace: Stephen Warnock

Richard Heathcote - Getty Images

Bolton's best player today was one who hadn't played a competitive match in months. That says quite a bit. Well done to Stephen Warnock on his Trotters debut though.

It's a little disheartening when the two players that really seemed to care today about Bolton Wanderers were the ones not permanently on the books. Seems like it is getting to a point where the regulars just aren't putting it all on the field. Bolton Wanderers only had one real standout performer in the 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace and that man was making his debut.

It really could have been so different. What if David Ngog had shot somewhere other than low earth orbit or right at Julian Speroni? What if Bolton were handed a penalty for the ball that hit Mile Jedinak's hand? What if just one thing went right for Bolton Wanderers in the final third of the field? Well, it didn't.

Stephen Warnock was arguably Bolton's best player on the night, having just been handed his debut for the match. The man on loan from Aston Villa also had arguably the toughest assignment on the field, as it was really his job to keep Wilfred Zaha at bay. Sure, Zaha got the better of Warnock early on is his pace and skill on the ball would have been difficult for a lot of defenders to deal with. Warnock picked it up though, and Zaha soon had to find another route to goal. Warnock's play on the day had a no-nonsense and no-frills attitude, and that's really what Bolton Wanderers needed.

Zat Knight was within shout of being the best Bolton player too, cleaning up a lot on defense. There were a number of occasions that Crystal Palace men broke through the defense and it was Knight's body that got in the way of their shots. Unfortunately, it was his challenge, soft or not, that brought down Wilfred Zaha and led to Bolton's first loss at home of the season.

The Chris Eagles that had been bossing the Championship thus far had not shown up to the match and neither had the Kevin Davies that could win a ball in the air. Jay Spearing did his duties and did them well while Mark Davies was, for the most part, anonymous again. Matt Mills was also pretty quiet but you want quiet from a central defender and Tyrone Mears helped provide width on the attack while helping out the defense most times. Adam Bogdan did well for the most part, making three or four crucial stops on Wilfred Zaha shots.

All in all, it was a disappointing performance for the men in white but Stephen Warnock acquitted himself well in his debut as a Bolton Wanderer.

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