Bolton lost their unbeaten record with a performance that was overshadowed, yet again, by a poor refereeing display. However, there were some worrying performances in there and the fact we couldn’t put away a team who played with 10 men for 75 minutes is frustrating despite any positive aspects. Here’s how the boys got on:
Mark Howard 6
This is probably generous to last week’s hero given the only thing he really had to do he messed up. However he made a mistake, like all goalkeepers do, and remained solid throughout the game. I also liked the fact he tried to get the crowd going throughout.
Lewis Buxton 6
He had a mare last week and while he was better against Walsall his withdrawal at half-time allowed the right hand side to be a source attacking influence for the Whites with Vela and Henry linking up well in a much more mobile partnership. His absence was felt defensively though and I think he remains the best option at right-back in terms of his ability as a defender. He was also hugely unfortunate to not score in the first-half.
David Wheater 7.5
He might not like criticism but it certainly seemed to spur him on as he was dominant in the air at both ends and, also, very unlucky not to score. More of this David Wheater is what is required and I hope his injury isn’t serious as we can ill-afford to lose him.
Mark Beevers 7
Beevers had a similar outing without ever troubling the Walsall goal like his partner in crime. He is a great defender at this level and he continues to prove his worth. It should be noted, however, that the tricky Otzumer managed to get the better of him a few times while Wheater dealt with him very well, hence the difference in grade.
Andrew Taylor 6.5
I get the feeling Taylor and Moxey will chop and change between who starts at left-back this season as they are both good at what they do well yet similarly poor in other aspects. Moxey is streets ahead of him attacking-wise while I am much more confident in Taylor defensively. I like him though and while we definitely lose something going forward with him on the pitch I would continue to start him over Moxey.
Josh Vela 6
Vela wasn’t great in the first half in centre midfield and while he livened up once he started playing as a right wing-back I still felt he wasn’t playing with the similar conviction he has when Spearing is around. Too often he would look backward rather than forwards and maybe without Spearing as his safety net he didn’t feel as confident going forward.
Liam Trotter 7
I was shocked when a chant started up saying ‘Take Trotter off’ as I though he was doing well considering, like Vela, he had to do more defending than usual. He tackled well, made good decisions and his link up play was very good. True, his ponderous running and near-immobility is frustrating but he has qualities other players don’t and I think people don’t notice them as much as they should.
James Henry 8
My Man of the Match by a mile as he continues to look a cut above this division. He takes on players very well and his link up play is superb but made him stand out against Walsall was his consistently excellent corners. He was basically standing in amongst the fans for most of them and 90% brought a chance. If we keep him beyond January I will be over the moon.
Sammy Ameobi 6
He is by far the most frustrating player I have ever seen. He has great feet, good pace and is good in the air yet you see these skills half the time at best. Sometimes he looks the part and others it looks as though he no control of his body. I am sure he will put in some great performances this year but I wouldn’t start him. The inconsistency boggles the mind.
Chris Taylor 5.5
One decent shot aside it was a nothing performance from Taylor. Nothing I have seen so far shows me that he merits a run in the team because he isn’t fast, direct or skilful. His crossing is decent but with Henry, Ameobi and eventually Clayton vying for that position his wouldn’t be my first choice.
Jamie Proctor 7
My Dad put it best: "We have replaced Craig Davies with Craig Davies". Proctor works tirelessly and was in some great positions today to score yet he found bar, bodies and keeper in his way every time just as Cravies seemed to. I hope his bad luck doesn’t continue because he’s certainly useful but once Madine (a man with the luck at the moment) is back I think he’ll lose his place.
Zach Clough 7
Not quite as sharp as he is normally but he is easily the best player we have and it’s clear to see when he beats people for fun and is always the out-ball people look for. I would start him against Bradford because an all guns blazing Clough would tear them apart (there’s a chant in there somewhere).
Keshi Anderson 6
Sent off in ludicrous fashion but, in truth, he didn’t really change the game and I would still start Clough over him if he is fit.