My top tier front row seat on Saturday gave a panoramic view of two Wanderers teams going in very different directions.
The fact that the Bolton players kept their heads up, didn’t hide from the ball and sulk, as they did under Lennon two seasons ago, stops these ratings carrying an 18 certificate. The bad news is that Bolton got comprehensively ripped apart and totally outplayed by a very impressive Wolves side. Yes, Wolves have spent a shit load of money, but, unlike a number of teams in the Championship, they’ve spent it well. So long as they have luck with injuries and keep their loanees past the January transfer window, Wolves will be playing Prem football next season.
Back to us and whilst we didn’t expect to take anything from this game, whatever lack of money spin you put on the excuses, we should be able to put up a better fight than this. To make matters worse, other results have turned up the heat by about twenty notches for our next must win game against Barnsley. Going into that match, this one will have done the players confidence no good whatsoever and that’s a worry. So, to the ratings.
Ben Alnwick 4.5: Hopefully it was just a bad day at the office, as he is still our best goalie. However, he will have nightmares over this performance. A couple of good saves in the second half aside, his distribution was awful, he didn’t look confident on crosses and his decision making was, well, for example; a charge out the box to try and make amends for a poor clearance helped gift Wolves their second. An absolutely shocking clearance gifted Wolves their fourth as well.
Mark Little 4.5: Totally overwhelmed, particularly as the usually reliable Ameobi was unable to help Little defend the right side. Our best right back but just wasn’t close to being good enough for this game.
David Wheater 5.0: Lost his marker for the first goal when he ran into Beevers, which was a tad unlucky. An AWOL defensive midfield meant that Wolves were running at our centre backs with ease and exposing Wheats lack of pace. His frustration soon led to a clumsy challenge and a yellow card. Got his head together after that but very much in the King Canute holding back the tide mode. Google it.
Mark Beevers 4.0: Finally back to last seasons form, until this game that is. Had a total shocker. Simple as that. After a shaky start, Beevers lost his marker for the second goal and it went downhill from there. It got to the stage that he just couldn’t mark anybody. His place is under serious pressure from Burke now.
Antonee Robinson 6.5: Our only player who looked like he deserved to be on the same pitch as Wolves. I’ve criticised him in past games for being poor defensively but he did the business at Molineux. Gave away the penalty, but I put that down to both inexperience and the fact that the Wolves player was put through easily anyway, thanks to nobody bothering to mark their midfielders. Antonee was the only one of our back six players who could keep up with the Wolves attacks and actually put in a decent tackle.
Karl Henry 4.5: Looked every day of his 35 years against his boyhood club. Completely bypassed throughout the game and just could not get close enough to even foul the Wolves players. Hopefully my player of the season gets his mojo back for Barnsley because he was dire in this game.
Darren Pratley 5.5: Our best midfielder. Which isn’t really a compliment. Unlucky to be subbed off for ALF though. It should’ve been Henry. Well timed tackle to set up our goal, a Brucie bonus for that.
Sammy Ameobi 4.5: Spent the game sitting in either Bolys’ or Douglas’s pocket. Simply could not get past them. Eventually seemed to run out of ideas and became completely anonymous.
Josh Vela 5.0: Tried hard and kept at it. Fair to say that he was a victim of the formation and was at various times up against three Wolves midfielders. Took some nice corners early on. However, if he wants to make a name for himself and follow Holding to the Prem, then this is the type of game Josh needs to make an impact. Like Robinson did.
Adam Armstrong 4.0: Totally outclassed and out played on the wing. Lost the ball pretty much every time he got it, which wasn’t often. Being played out of position prevents a lower mark.
Gary Madine 5.0: Seemed subdued and was a forlorn figure up front, even when ALF came on. That he didn’t have a great game is putting it mildly. Nice through ball for Buckley’s goal though.
Will Buckley (63 min for Armstrong) 6.0: made an immediate difference on the left wing when he replaced the outclassed Armstrong. Took his goal well after a nice through ball from Madine, in turn set up by Prats taking advantage of a sloppy Wolves play. Needs to start against Barnsley.
Craig Noone (63 min for Ameobi) 5.0: Played better than Ameobi but not by much. Poor corners that would’ve been better left to Vela. Good free kick aside I struggle to remember what he added.
Adam Le Fondre (78 min for Pratley) 5.0: Came on to take advantage of the change to a 442 formation after our goal got us back to 1-3. 10 minutes later it was 1-5. To be fair to ALF he was on a lost cause as the lads were shot by this time.
So there you go. We can only hope that the boys bounce back at home against Barnsley, who, with all due respect, are no Wolves. Parky needs to get his thinking cap on though as we have to win some games. We are well past the draw is good enough stage, particularly at home. Fingers crossed for Saturday. COYWM.