1) Zach Clough (who else?)
While making my way to the Macron this weekend, I found myself feeling ridiculously optimistic.
The excitement built the closer I got to the stadium. Sure, I always look forward to games, but this was different. Ever since I'd heard the wild reports of a new-found prodigy in the aftermath of the Wigan match I'd been desperate to see for myself, to see if this near-mythic talent really existed (or was merely a figment of my dad's imagination). I wasn't to be disappointed.
An exquisite first touch, pace, poise, balance, confidence, desire (at risk of sounding like Alan Hanson) - he had it all. Involved in the game from the start, given the freedom to roam the final third looking for space, he threaded some dangerous through balls early in the game. A taste of what was to come. If not for an injudicious linesman's flag, he would have set Le Fondre away clean through on goal.
Then came the first goal. A free kick won at a tight angle. There was never any doubt over who would be taking it. He looked so confident, dismissing Le Fondre and Ream, to smash an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Then again, following fantastic work from Ream down the left, our hero found himself in possession of the ball in the heart of the meanest defence in the league. Undeterred, he calmly shifted the ball one way then the other, completely in control as he fired in goal number 2. The stadium erupted. A new star was born.
This may all seem like ridiculous hyperbole, but the truth is that Clough stood out so obviously on Saturday - his talent there for all to see. A local lad from the youth team with such obvious, glittering talent is not something you see every day; and it is moments like this in football that are to be savoured, that remind us why we love the game.
2) Darren Pratley
From one Hollywood cliché to another.
From the local boy done good to the old pro, seemingly washed up and past his best, given another chance and seizing it with both hands. Pratley's story under Neil Lennon has been Rocky-esque. In fact, looking over the last few "five things" articles, each one has mentioned Dazza Prazza and his remarkable renaissance.
He has become a key player for this team, his work rate and stamina integral to Neil Lennon's pressing style of football, and to see him limp off early in the second half injured was a major blow to the team. As the boss himself reckoned after the game, if Pratley had stayed on, we would have won.
There wouldn't have been the space for James Henry to fire in the dramatic equaliser, Pratley would have closed the ball down before then. Here's hoping he'll be back soon.
3) Central Defence
This match will have thrown up an unexpected dilemma to Neil Lennon - does he now give Dorian Dervite a rest and play Mills and Wheater together for the next few games? Dervite has proven to be an excellent acquisition since arriving on a free transfer, and has struck up a solid central defensive partnership with Matt Mills under Lennon's management.
This weekend, however, Dervite looked shaky throughout the match, clearly at fault for the first goal as he was caught out by Nouha Dicko's pace, and again he gave the ball away and looked stranded in no man's land as Henry fired in their equaliser - maybe he's in need of a rest.
Wheater, on the other hand, was outstanding - time after time he read the game perfectly and he was dominant in the air. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mills and Wheater start the next few games together at centre back.
Saturday's match provided a reminder as to where the weakest area of our squad is - out wide.
To my mind, we have 2 good keepers, a solid defence, plenty of options in central midfield (especially with our deadline day signings), and even a number of options up front now - Davies, Clough, Le Fondre, Eidur, Heskey. Out wide, however, we lack quality. Max Clayton seemed to provide this, cutting in from the left, until his unfortunate injury, but the two wingers nearest the first team now just aren't good enough. This was neatly summed up by their combined failure to keep the ball in the corner and play out time prior to Wolves' equaliser, instead inexpicably knocking it out for a goal kick, to our manager's obvious displeasure.
I can appreciate Liam Feeney's value, to an extent, with his pace and work rate helping to press the opponents. He did this well enough against Wolves, but yet again the quality of his final ball was abysmal. He's League One standard at best. Still, I'd rather have him near the first team than Hall.
Hyped as a talented signing from West Ham, cost us a decent amount of money, no doubt on decent wages for a bit-part player.
Shown flashes of his talent at times, clearly has some ability on the ball - but that is what makes his failure to perform for the team all the more frustrating. As Chris pointed out after the Bury match, his lack of effort and his inability to take the first-team chances that are thrown his way are inexcusable.
He needs to wake up and take some of these chances soon, or he'll find himself out on loan in League Two, wondering where his career has gone.
The contrast between Hall's performance, and that of the player he replaced (Clough) could not be greater. The biggest difference didn't seem to be ability, however, merely desire.
5) Adam Le Fondre
I have to confess, the prospect of seeing the lad Clough in action wasn't the only thing that had me salivating on Saturday afternoon (although it could have been the pint of Copper Dragon in Barnstormers).
I've long admired ALF, always thought of him as a Robbie Blake type figure, capable of sublime finishes and guaranteed to add some excitement to any game.
Watching him on Saturday was like watching a Championship Pippo Inzaghi - the close offside calls, the couple of chances carved seemingly from nothing, the winding up of defenders, the ease with which he went to ground... football as pantomime at it's best.
You could tell the Wolves defenders found him a real handful to deal with all match, he seemed surprisingly strong (when he wanted to be) and looked to link up well with the main man Zach.
An encouraging performance, with signs of a fledgling partnership which could cause problems for any defence in our division - as they did for the best defence in the Championship on Saturday.