I was quite surprised to find, once I was able to get on Twitter after yesterday's game, that the general consensus amongst Bolton Wanderers supporters was that the performance against Queens Park Rangers was an atrocious one. Even Mr Manning laid into the majority of the starting XI in his player ratings.
Although I did agree on some of Chris' analysis, especially on Ben Amos, Josh Vela and Dean Moxey, I couldn't have disagreed further with the appraisal he gave some other players and on a whole I actually thought our performance yesterday wasn't *that* bad. Now, it wasn't amazing, exquisite, vintage Wanderers, it was hardly even good, but I don't think it was bad by any stretch.
We were up against a pretty abject QPR side, one which lacked direction, identity and anything looking like quality despite a number of recognisable names. They were poor, but we were making them poor. Constant pressure and harrying of those on the ball never allowed them to settle. I thought, while it was lacking in quality, the performance from the men in white was brimming with fight, grit and effort (well, until the last minute), and isn't that all we've been asking for from these players over the last few months? To prove that they care?
One player, just about, epitomised that fighting spirit more than anyone else on the pitch yesterday, and that's why Darren Pratley is my Man of the Match. No doubt many of you just rolled your eyes or recoiled in horror, but ah well.
Dazza Prazza, just beats out the equally combative Jay Spearing and the once again dominant Rob Holding for the award, as I thought he put in his best "captain's performance" ever since he donned the armband.
From the first blow of the whistle to the last he was absolutely everywhere on the pitch: flying into challenges, winning back the ball, putting his body on the line and running himself into the ground. He even sent Karl Henry flying with a shoulder barge, which was fucking hilarious.
I know the things I listed above is, like, the bare minimum of what we should expect from all the players all the time, and they don't exactly connote quality, but we're shit and we have to make do.
He was also a good outlet for getting the ball up the pitch a bit, as he seemed to be in the mood for carrying it a fair distance. The only thing that let his performance down was his wastefulness with his forward passing, on a few occasions he had the ball in a good position and over hit his threw-ball.
But alas I still, even though I will get called for it, think it was a decent showing from Pratley - his energy and determination was an example for those around him and others seemed to take his lead. I've been a big critic of the skipper this season, but if he can play at that level of intensity and commitment every week then...
errr nothing really, we're still doomed, aren't we?