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MOTM v Barnsley: Jay Spearing

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Bolton won their third in a row Saturday at Barnsley, and despite a near meltdown just after halftime, several of the competitors for Man of the Match were on the defensive side of the ball.

We usually don't think of Jay Spearing as having golden boots...
We usually don't think of Jay Spearing as having golden boots...
Laurence Griffiths

This win was not as decisive as the previous two, so this week's MOTM is awarded a bit less joyfully. Bolton wilted a bit in the second half, surrendered a two goal lead, and needed a late finish (and some late defending) from West Brom loanee Craig Dawson to hang on for victory.

Wanderers have not lost in their last six, and several players have contributed to that. For most of the run, Chris Eagles has not been on that list. He was easily Bolton's player of the season in the first few months of the campaign, but the goals dried up relatively early on. Then he stopped creating for his teammates. Then the rest of his game slowly crumbled away, to the point where he was a blatant liability on the pitch and being booed by supporters at the Reebok. Dougie Freedman finally dropped him to the sub's bench, and then from the squad entirely. He was given a lifeline, albeit an unfortunate one, in the injury to Mark Davies. Eagles returned to the starting XI, and showed that the rest had done him good. He created the first goal, finding David Ngog in the box after a long run, and played several other nice passes into the danger area.

Adam Bogdan made some nice saves, but it was his error that conceded the second goal, so although we appreciate the effort, we can't give him the champagne. Bogdan has been carrying a slight groin injury which he aggravated late in the match as well. He may give way to Andy Lonergan tomorrow night.

Chung-Yong Lee was lively in the first half, although he faded a bit late on. Regardless, he did enough to trouble Barnsley's fullbacks, and get a call-up to the South Korean team for World Cup Qualifying. He looks to be almost all the way back from his horrific long term leg injury, and we can only hope that continues, as he will need to pick up some of the slack left by Mark Davies' leg injury, at least until Stu Holden fully returns from his own leg injury. Anybody noticing a theme here?

Craig Dawson continued his fine form since forcing his way into the Trotter's starting XI. He is a threat in both boxes and once again got the winner, his fourth goal since joining Bolton. In another note, he seems to partner very well with Zat Knight, who has come into one of his intermittent runs of form. You never know how long those will last with Mr. Knight, but at least we have David Wheater at the ready now if the big man falters.

Jay Spearing has spent most of the season in the somewhat thankless holding midfield role, although he has received some plaudits for it. Saturday was no different. He ran to the ball, and kept running to the ball, for 90 solid minutes. Some good defending, coupled with a hard, albeit deflected finish, has earned him the Lion of Vienna Suite Man of the Match award. This should give him some street cred back in Liverpool.

Vote for your Man of the Match below, and let us know more in the comments!