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Player Ratings: Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Fleetwood Town

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The Cod Army got battered at the Reebok yesterday

It's a mighty fine time to be a Bolton Wanderers fan. Equalling an 80-odd year record, we racked up our fourth win on the trot (was going to throw in a Spin and Win reference there, but I'm not that lame), against determined opposition.

Manager Phil Parkinson gambled with attacking substitutions. You could say that he spun, and won. But I won't say that.

Shit puns aside, here are my ratings:

Mark Howard -7

No blame attached for the goal (hello Dean Moxey), and saved our bacon twice in the second half. Almost made a horrific mistake deep into injury time, but it didn't go in so I don't really mind that much.

I had read beforehand that his kicking was suspect - seemed fine to me.

Lewis Buxton - first half 4, second half 6

Had a curious game. In the first half he was more Danny Butterfield than Dani Alves, as I don't think he made a single forward movement or pass in the entire 45. Not wholly his fault, as it is hard to pass when there is nobody in front of you.

In the second half he threw in some superb crosses, even though he looked about as comfortable as a wing back as I did when forced to play centre half against Glossop United for Westbury in 1998 (we lost 0-4).

Mark Beevers - 8

I was looking forward to seeing whether the new fan favourite was really all that - and happily he seems to be. Barely put a foot wrong and seems to have already developed a fine partnership with Wheater. Very impressive.

David Wheater - 8

I don't mind admitting that my previous fears about re-signing Wheater appear well wide of the mark. Against Fleetwood he was an absolute monster and I hope he wins the MOTM award when that article is published at a later date.

I wouldn't mind him being a bit more influential at opposition set pieces, but that's just me.

Dean Moxey - 5

Plenty of graft, but this was the Dean Moxey of 2014/15. Uncertain on the ball and very sloppy in terms of his positioning. Cost us a goal with a massive slice of complacency. Plus I'm not keen on full backs wearing colourful boots.

Improved a bit in the second half going forward but I wouldn't be surprised to see Andrew Taylor given a try.

Josh Vela - 7.5

Anonymous in the first half, and again proved deceptively slow at times, but he was tidy on the ball and snapped into a few second half challenges with real purpose.

I like this new attacking element to his game and he took his goal really well.

Jay Spearing - 8

A superb performance. Echoes of his first season with us when on loan from Liverpool. Spearing was everywhere. His set pieces were lethal and I don't think he missed a single tackle all afternoon - even the one where he drew a booking was a recovery over a short distance at great pace.

I just hope he stays.

Mark Davies - 6

Would have been a higher mark had he not a) missed the easiest chance ever and b) been guilty of the most appalling dive I've seen since the last time he did it.

Those criticisms aside, he put in the usual Davies performance. Moments of magic followed by 89 minutes of relative indifference. There is little doubt that he has talent but after seven years at the club we should perhaps no longer be surprised that the end result was lacking.

Liam Trotter - 6

The most frustrating football ever? Should be a tank, instead he plays like he is pulling a tank behind him. Wasn't a disaster by any means, but I just know that there is more to come from him. Parkinson clearly rates him and so I hope that he can drag some performances out of him - if only to shut up that knobhead who sits behind me.

Zach Clough - n/a

Started brightly but again injuries struck. It's becoming a worrying trend.

Gary Madine - 7

Surprisingly poor afternoon when it came to aerial tussles, but showed a poacher's instinct with his goal.

The work experience lad who masqueraded as the referee yesterday gave him absolutely nothing either. I still think that part of the reason why he has looked so poor for the majority of his time at Bolton is because we haven't ever paired him with the 'right' sort of strike partner, but more of that in another piece.

I'm concerned by how much he looks like Bear from CBB as well. I don't watch it. The wife does - but isn't he a massive massive shit?!!


Kaiyne Woolery - 7

I really like him, but I'm not sure why. Appears to be unsure as to what to do when he has the ball but always looks dangerous when running at pace.

Should have scored in the first half, but caused enough of a nuisance to be there for both Madine and Vela's goals in the second 45. Another encouraging performance.

Conor Wilkinson - 6.5

A lovely knock-down for Vela - and didn't really have much chance to impress with the ball at his feet. Interesting that Parkinson has given him minutes in consecutive games but you have to think that another senior striker will be arriving in the next week or so.


Phil Parkinson - 8

It's so refreshing to find a manager who can actually affect games from the sidelines. It seems that whatever beef Dean Holdsworth and Ken Anderson have with one another, they chose a superb manager for this level. I am very happy with him and I think you'd have to go a long way to find a Bolton fan who wouldn't share that opinion.

Sent them out for the second half having clearly delivered a rocket up one or two arses - that's the sort of thing I love to see. Not rockets up arses, but actual in-game change delivered from the bench.

Remember Dougie Freedman's team talks? Sheesh.


First Half - 1, Second Half 10

What a bunch of clowns we are at times.

Three wins from three, and dominating play at home against a defensive side. So what do we do? Boo the team off. It was ridiculous.

The second half was more like it as the fans responded to some aggressive challenges and aggressive attacking play. I really enjoyed the game, it was tense and exciting and we won. More of the same, please.