With Bolton set to face the toughest opponents of Lennon's reign to date, the on form and extremely organised Ipswich Town, I was fairly certain that it would be the first defeat at home for Lennon and his men. So I was quite happy when we managed to come away with a hard earned point, and yet another clean sheet. Obviously I'm a little disappointed we didn't manage a single shot on target, and we really need to improve in the final third, but baby steps, eh?
Heres how the players rated, in my humble, and probably worthless, opinion.
Andy Lonergan - 9
Yet another MOTM performance from our in-form goalkeeper, who pulled off a string of fine saves, including one unbelievable stop from Jay Tabb, with a goal looking like a certainty, that kept Bolton in the game and earned a hard fought point.
Dorian Dervite - 7
Moved out to right back to accommodate the returning David Wheater and cover for the slightly unfit Josh Vela, Dervite adapted quite well to a position rather alien to him. He made some vital interceptions and clearances and his added height on the right helped combat the ariel threat of Tyrone Mings, but, unsurprisingly, lacks the pace and real attacking nous to be a permanent fixture in that position.
Matt Mills - 6
We saw the Matt Mills of old creep in slightly at the beginning of the game, as the bearded centre-half decided to give his aimless long ball tactic another go. It of course resulted in the ball sailing out for a throw in on several occasions and a red faced Lennon bellowing at him from the sidelines. The classy McGoldrick also gave him the run around on more than one occasion, but he steadily grew as the game went on.
David Wheater - 7
On his long awaited return from injury, Wheater did quite well, especially considering he'd been out of action for so long.
Ipswhich's Mick McCarthy's direct long ball game suited his attributes very well and he was dominant in the air, he also made a couple of crucial sliding interceptions. It's good to know we have a decent amount of cover in the centre back department.
Tim Ream - -3
Picture the scene. It's your birthday weekend. You've finally reached the holy land of being 18 years of age. You're finally legally allowed to gamble. You decide to put blind faith in your favourite player to score first, even though you know it's foolish, you do it anyway. Then the ball drops PERFECTLY for said player to smash the ball home into the bottom corner. But instead he plays a wayward pass and when the ball comes back to him he smashes the ball over with his right foot. Imagine. THAT'S WHY REAM HAS GOT -3 AND THAT'S FINAL. He did play alright though to be fair.
Neil Danns - 5
Danns started the game in the same way he started every other game under Lennon, very well, sitting deep in the midfield. But with Clayton's injury Danns was moved further forward to make way for Spearing, in which I believe was a bad call. We've all seen how well Danns plays in the sitting role, allowing him to influence the game from deep, but when he was moved further forward he no longer saw much of the ball and looked a little lost in the more attacking position.
Darren Pratey - 6
As I say every week about Pratley, he plays well without actually imposing himself upon or really influencing the game, He worked hard in the middle, trying to compensate for Spearing's nearly constant ineptitude, but struggled to really get involved in the match.
Liam Feeney - 5
Feeney is another player who worked hard, but just lacked that piece of quality. He ran the flanks all game, and he showed promise in the first half, leaving the, apparently extremely highly rated, Mings in the dust on a couple of occasions, but when it came down to it his final ball was always off, either not getting past the first man or being massively over hit. I think he may get away with it slightly because he wins a fair few corners by always hitting the first man. Feeney really needs to up the quality and consistency with his crossing, or he may find him self replaced in January.
Chung-yong Lee - 6
In a simular fashion to Danns, Lee started the game very well, but when Clayton left the field Chungy was moved from the middle of the park and out onto the left wing, where he simply didn't find as much of the ball. However. when ever he did have it at his feet, he further showed what a massive miss he will be in January.
Max Clayton - 6
Bolton actually started the game against Ipswich pretty well, in contrast to how most other games tend to start, and that was mainly due to Clayton, whose pace and directness made the Whites look quite dangerous. He crafted out a chance for himself with some good, quick feet, which he admittedly should have taken earlier, but it does show the steady improvement he's been making. Which is why it is such a shame he left the field on a stretcher, and even with my complete lack of medical knowledge, I could tell immediately that he'd probably done in his ligaments. All we can do now is hope he isn't out for too long.
Conor Wilkinson - 5
It was quite a baptism of fire for young Wilkinson, who had to make his first league start for Bolton against two of the toughest centre backs going, in Berra and Smith. He applied himself well, especially in the first half, where he showed some nice touches and tried to make things happen. But, as mentioned, it was an extremely difficult game for such a young, inexperienced striker and he found it tough, letting his head drop on more than one occasion. His biggest problem, game wise, is that he continued to keep hold of the ball for far too long, which lead to him being shoved off it fairly easily. If he released it earlier to the on running players I don't think he'd have earned as much flack as he has.
And on the subject of flack, give the kid a break!!! It's his first fucking start for the team, against one of the strongest and most organised sides in the division, he was always going to struggle. We've been calling for the youngsters to get a chance for years, and now they finally are people are ravaging them. STOP IT! Because with the way these injuries are piling up, we well may be relying on them for the foreseeable future.
Jay Spearing - 4
I think it's fairly safe to say that Spearing's days at Bolton are numbered. He's completely regressed as a player and seems to have very little confidence, and I'm genuinely gutted he's no longer the player that we had on loan. When he was introduced we looked worse and no longer had any attacking impetus, his passing was either the tried and trusted five yard sideways pass, or hit with such vigorous force that it nearly took off the foot of the receiver. To his credit, he did make a couple of good challenges, but they were easily outnumbered by the amount of times he surrendered possession or let a player skip past him.
Eidur Gudjohnsen - 6
The Iceman cometh the bench to the sound of roaring cheers and the rare, distinct sound of actual football chants coming from all around the stadium. His mere presence lifted the crowd, and when he then started to beat players with his still immaculate touch, well, if I had ovaries they would have burst. His first action on the pitch, however, nearly led to an Ipswich goal as he missed the ball from a corner, oh how funny that would have been. After that though, he proved with in minutes that he still indeed does 'have it' and I'm giddy with excitement to see him in action again. He isn't one for moving though!
Josh Vela - 6
Came on for the final twenty minutes and Bolton's defence immediately looked more balanced with him back at right back, of course I'd rather have seen him come on earlier instead of Spearing, but it looks like he well may be a fullback for now. He made one important, sliding interception on the edge of the box, and looked quite dangerous down the right hand side.