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Five Things We Learned: Bolton Wanderers v Doncaster Rovers

Well that was nice, wasn't it!

Tony Marshall

Afternoon campers!

You'll no doubt be delighted to learn that today's version of Five Things is going to be brief. No essays, no ruminations, no tangents and no flim-flam. All hallmarks of my writing, gone. This is partially to do with my own lack of time today but also because I am working with the world's slowest PC, but here goes nowt:

1) Chuck enough shit, some'll stick

The fun police had a bit of a pop last week at my use of expletives, so I'll keep this short - Saturday's formation WORKED. It worked because Dougie happened upon a 'new' midfield combination of Jay Spearing and Darren Pratley. I term this the 'chuck enough shit' approach where you chop and change until you find a pairing that works.

Pratley will never be as technically gifted as his midfield counterparts (except perhaps Fabrice Muamba), but his energy and athleticism broke the stranglehold that Spearing and Medo have had over the centre of the pitch as both men try to do the same job.

Pratley was able to force his way out of position and support Chris Eagles, Andre Moritz and Joe Mason.

He probably should have scored, too.

2) Pratley's suspension

The usual moans about Championship referees was borne out again in the performance of the man in the middle. Overly fussy and prone to breaking up play as a result of perceived fouls - he was hopeless. He booked our man Darren in the second half and this card will lead to his suspension.

Now the natural inclination of Dougie Freedman might be to re-introduce Medo into the side, but personally I would be a little more adventurous and give Mark Davies a game. I know he hasn't played for nearly 10 months, but the spark he could bring would be far more advantageous than a return to cautiousness. I'm sure Dougie will go with Medo, but I'd like him to be a bit more daring.

3) Matt Mills

I had a chat with my brother during the game and we pondered who would win the prestigious "Manning Half Season Player of the Half Year" award (previous winners include Michael Ricketts, Ivan Campo & Jay Spearing). We thought about Jermaine Beckford but dismissed him from contention due to his poor start to the season.

Then we wondered about Tim Ream whose performances in midfield and defence have been a great improvement on those from previous years.

However, it was instead following the Doncaster win that we settled on Matt Mills. Mills has had a tough time settling into Bolton Wanderers but he has this season emerged as one of our most important players.

Strong in the air and improving at his Hollywood passes, he must be the first name on the teamsheet at present.

So congratulations Matt, your prize for winning the Manning Half Season Player of the Half Year award is a gift voucher for LoveFilm which came through the post last week.

4) Andre Moritz

So that's what Dougie meant by 'a present to the fans'! Moritz was excellent (as was Chris Eagles) in an attacking role with greater freedom than afforded to him in the last game against Huddersfield. We can only be grateful that Doncaster manager Paul Dickov didn't take any notice of the tactics employed by Huddersfield the previous Tuesday.

That night Moritz was closed down at every opportunity and given little or no room to work his magic. Doncaster's more 'laid back' approach to things like marking or pressing left the space that our mate Andre required.

I would also like to take personal credit for his goal - just a moment before I said to the chap next to me "That Moritz, he's perhaps the most un-Brazilian Brazilian footballer I've ever seen".

You're welcome, Andre.

5) Joe Mason

Since Saturday I've read a few forums and that, and was a bit taken by surprise at the praise given to Joe Mason. I thought that he led the line reasonably, and looked eager, but also that he was wasteful on the ball - both in-play and in terms of his finishing.

I know it's early days and I'm not writing him off, just saying that maybe as fans we need to lay off the hyperbole (and Red Bull) lest we suffer another Liam Feeney-syndrome attack with a half-promising loan player.

I bet he doesn't start against Wigan.