Bolton Wanderers came away from derby day at the Dave Whelan Stadium empty handed as Callum McManaman's late strike claimed all three points from Wigan Athletic. Wanderers had bravely fought back from two behind in a rejuvenated second half performance and we will look at some of the individual stand-outs.
A ‘stand-out' in a bad way was Alex Baptiste, who was absolutely ripped apart by winger McManaman. This was evident from the off as McManaman's pace and agility were far too much for Baptiste to handle and the Bolton defender continued to be sucked in and allow countless crossing opportunities throughout the match.
Baptiste was not helped by Tim Ream who, despite being available (Matt Mills was grappling with Wigan's lone striker, Grant Holt), chose not to support out wide. Why Baptiste continued to dive in only he will know, and his body language just before half-time told you everything you need to know about his performance.
There were many positive performances for Bolton and they were predominantly found in the second half. Andre Moritz was first rate and the Brazilian was at the heart of everything Wanderers did well. His assist for Neil Danns moments after testing Wigan Goalkeeper Scott Carson was what got the Wanderers back in the game. His ball retention skills are also clear, this has been significantly aided by the arrival of Joe Mason, who was very good this afternoon. Mason acted as a target man, frequently making himself available to receive the ball at his feet before off-loading out wide.
Sunday's Man of the Match was Neil Danns. The energetic midfielder's forward bursts were the key source of Bolton Wanderers' attacks. He never stopped running and, by using fellow loan signing Joe Mason as his pivot, was able to get beyond the Wigan defence on numerous occasions.
I am a believer that the running of Danns, accompanied by that of Darren Pratley, is a key source of our much improved possessions stats. Both players are keen to find space to receive the ball, unlike Jay Spearing or Medo Kamara. Danns was our man-of-the-match but it really could have been either him or the equally impressive Moritz.
Please let us know who yours was in the comments below!