MOTM: Bolton v Boro

Hard work saves the day - Ben Hoskins

Bolton came into the match vs Middlesbrough after a disappointing away defeat at Leicester, the result was particulary displeasing due to the nature of the goals conceded and our defensive frailties seemed to rear their head again. Let us now evaluate some of the key performances of Wanderers players in this fixture.

A performance that was certainly ‘key’ to the outcome of the game was that of the blundering Zat Knight, who was at clear fault for both the goals conceded by Bolton.

Zat Knight’s first error saw him failing to clear the ball and allowing himself to be easily disposed by Mustapha Carayol who was left with the easy task of simply rolling the ball past the outstretched Andy Lonergan.

Knight’s horror show was not over and on the 20th minute in complete control of the ball, he over complicated the matter with Lonergan and knocked the ball past the goalkeeper whilst inexplicably pointing the other way.

Lonergan must take some responsibility for the error but the majority of the blame must be with Knight who needlessly over complicated a very simple situation which ultimately cost Bolton Wanderers a much needed victory.

Despite or as a result of a vindictive reaction from White’s fans, Knight’s performance did improve and the defender did show character to respond, however, the considerable damage had already been done. There were a few positive performances from Wanderers players including that of Chris Eagles.

The former Burnley midfielder has found first team chances restricted as of late and when implemented out wide reminded us all how destructive he can be with his pace and close control. Eagles out wide gave Bolton the variety of play they expect from the failing Chung-Yong Lee as Eagles would mix getting to the by-line with coming inside and looking for the pass or the shot.

Bolton are reeling from the departure of Neil Danns and should nothing be agreed between Leicester and the Wanderers suits then we could be seeing Eagles being used in this manner a lot more frequently.

It is also worth pointing out the improvement of Alex Baptiste who has come under fire in recent weeks after a string of poor performances. Baptiste did well on Saturday but was perhaps not as tested as he has been in recent weeks with the pace of Lloyd Dyer or Callum McManaman.

Alex Baptiste was aided by Chung-Yong Lee who was full of running on Saturday but perhaps did not have as much impact on the ball as he would have liked.

Saturdays Man of the Match is Darren Pratley who was the real driving force in getting Bolton back into the game in the heart of midfield.

Whilst Jay Spearing was busy pointing at people, Pratley was battling away and his tackling and running was what turned the game back into Bolton’s favour as well as ensuring the game was not lost within the first half an hour.

Many have questioned the former Swansea midfielder’s ability to play in a deeper role alongside Spearing but with work levels such as that there will be no issue with him enjoying an extended run in the first team from that position.

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