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MOTM: Bolton Wanderers v Middlesbrough

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After a positive performance against Forest on Saturday, I was hoping that the Middlesbrough match would be one to take advantage of and get that lucrative first win under our belts. It didn't quite pan out that way. But still, it wasn't all doom and gloom, and there were a couple of players who stood head and shoulders above the rest...

Davies was the standout
Davies was the standout
Jan Kruger

I'm going to get straight to the point. Craig Davies was by far our best player.

The big centre forward was everywhere. It's clear he is fighting for his place and I think he's doing a great job.  I can't remember a time he provided a bad pass. He held the ball up well and jostled off opposing defenders with ease. If Joe Mason wasn't providing such poor support we would have been much more dangerous.

Davies made some fantastic runs through the middle, looking like he would score until he was brought down by the Boro defender (who should have seen a straight red, but the ref bottled it). He was rewarded for his efforts. It was a calm and composed penalty that he smashed straight into the net.

I noticed on several occasions that he was had some great link-up play with Chung-Yong Lee.  There Korean winger provided Davies with a a couple of pinpoint passes which he was unfortunate not to convert. Chungy has looked a better player in the past two games. He's been putting himself about a bit which is promising. If only he would go on a bloody run down the wing like he used to, forever cutting inside.

Craig Davies often gets referred to as a 'trier,' I believe you need that in a team that seems to lack such confidence. 
We look tired already, and we have only played three league games.  He looked up for the fight, he ran his socks off and won the ball. He got himself into space and provided solid passes to his team mates. At times it almost looked as if he was dropping into midfield to clean up the mess made by Jay Spearing and Liam Trotter, who were exceptionally poor.

I was baffled when Davies was taken off. Unless he was injured I just don't see any reason whatsoever. Mason was non-existent and should have been the one to be replaced. Either way the guy must be thinking 'What do I have to do?' 

Which brings me slightly off topic onto Dougie Freedman...

I'm beginning to struggle to defend him. 
I believe he lost us the game. 
I felt we played well for the first 65 minutes, and every man and his dog could clearly see that if we were to go on and win this game, we needed to be slightly more creative going forward, as it wasn't working. So this should have been the point Dougie took off Trotter and replaced him with Neil Danns.
If Spearing wasn't captain, he would have been removed because tonight was another woeful performance from him. He looked lost, uncomfortable and failed to lead the team. He couldn't pass or defend either. Worst player on the pitch. He doesn't look like the bulldog we were so eager to purchase after his loan spell.

I'm sorry Dougie, but if you are at home I don't care who it's against, you play to win. You don't wait until the opposition score to realise that you have to change things.
And by the way, putting Wheater up front isn't the answer. It looks weak and desperate. 
If it wasn't for his poor tactics, negative approach and poor subbing (both timing and personnel) we could have gone on to win it. It's becoming slightly worrying.

It was a shame about Jermaine Beckford's disallowed goal though, which would have brought us level. The referee had a nightmare. Plonker.

So for me, it's big Craig Davies who was the standout player for me. Let's hope he can continue his great form. I can't imagine anybody would pick anybody different for Man of the Match, but please share your views!