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Ratings: Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

A mixed bag, but generally good

Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Here's how everyone got on in our Carabao Cup first round tie with Crewe on Wednesday night:

Ben Alnwick - 7

My preferred 'keeper of the two, despite conceding, there was very little he could do. Generally solid, better distribution than Howard and remained largely untroubled throughout the game other than flapping at a corner near the end. Solid 7.

Mark Little - 6

Having had limited game time in pre-season, Little's performance perhaps wasn't as it usually would be mid-way through the season. Got forward well but looked a little off the pace, but maybe that's me being harsh. Has a challenge to retain the position but should get the nod ahead of Darby and if Morais is made an out and out winger, worth being given a chance to start at Millwall, until then, its a 6.

Stephen Darby - 5

Again, the ex-Bradford lad struggled on Tuesday. Obviously not helped by a tough start against Leeds and understandably has already lost lots of condfidence. To be fair to him, he's not a centre back, but also may now have lost his place at right back to Little but that remains to be seen. Perhaps a little unlucky not to have been played in his preferred position to build his confidence back up but needs to impress on the training ground to win his place back, 5.

Reece Burke - 9

My man of the match, really impressed by this lad, what a gem we've found in him. Really composed at the back, excellent leadership vocally when going up for headers and his assurance to be first to the ball every time. Not afraid to get forward or get stuck in at the back and could be a real asset this season, let's hope he become a regular fixture in defence, 9.

Derik - 8

A really good performance from the Spaniard, managed to bag himself the winner and looked like he'd never been out the team. Still better in midfield in my opinion, yet faultless at centre half on Tuesday, can see him making a return to the team on a regular basis very soon, 8.

Antonee Robinson - 7

This lad tried really hard to make a good impression on Wednesday and very nearly got too ahead of himself in his attempts to do so but kept his head and continued to work hard, clearly determined to make that left back spot his own. Despite playing a huge part in the first half, I can't see Andy Taylor losing his place to him just yet, perhaps needs a little more time before he becomes a first team regular. Well done to the lad though, 7.

Jack Earing - 7

This is the first time I've seen Jack Earing play so I have very little to compare his performance to, but for what I understand was his first team debut as a third year scholar, he did very well for such a young lad. Despite nearly getting caught in possession a few times and misreading the pace of play once or twice, thats simply down to inexperience. I can't recall him misplacing a pass or making any mistakes, but needed help from his older team-mates to allow him to perform the way he did. Another who's started well, but needs more time I think, 7.

Darren Pratley - 6

Darren Pratley was Darren Pratley, his usual headless-chicken-self gave the side some energy and eventually the momentum to go on and win the game. For me, he's not good enough to be starting week in, week out, we have better options in the same position and he's beginning to lose his right to a place in the starting eleven because of his captaincy which is encouraging. I've got nothing against Darren himself, but he's simply not good enough at Championship level. Substituted off on the hour mark, his illness, perhaps a factor, but perhaps also a hint that he may not be such a permanent fixture this season as previous ones, 6.

Will Buckley - 7

Another good performance from Will Buckley following on from an impressive appearance off the bench on Sunday despite struggling to get going properly in pre-season. Buckley has proved those wrong who initially doubted him, including myself, and I'm glad he has, playing in the number ten role gave him a free role effectively behind the two strikers from which he managed to grab an assist, but still probably doesn't do him the justice that a more natural wide role would. Again, worth a start on Saturday, perhaps out on the left wing though, 7.

Adam Armstrong - 7

Adam struggled a little to begin with but gradually grew in to the game. Despite the little and large combination up front, the chemistry didn't seem to flow between the two new lads which saw Armstrong struggle to get on the ball as much as needs to and/or would like to. Once Madine was brought on, his new confidence massively helped Armstrong and eventually lead to him getting his first goal in a Bolton shirt which, again, is important to get another striker off the mark. Would be a good partnership to start with on Saturday but can't see Parky dropping Le Fondre, definitely worth bringing on though with 20 mins/half an hour to go, 7.

Aaron Wilbraham - 6

Wilbraham was handed his full debut for Bolton as a direct swap for Madine in exactly the same role. He initially impressed with his ariel ability and being able to offer mobility off the ball too, looking perfect for the job. However, having struggled to link up with Armstrong, he was too often man-marked and dragged out of the game as a tactical move from Crewe who'd obviously done their homework on him, he struggled to properly get going. Perhaps would've helped if he was given the full game, but the introduction of Madine was much-needed when still one down in the second half. I hope he gets another crack soon and doesn't become the new Jamie Proctor, 6.


Gary Madine - 8

Fitted into the system effortlessly as a direct replacement for Wilbraham, linked up with Armstrong well and dragged the defenders out to allow Armstrong to agilely work his way in to grab his goal. Again, showed his newly-found confidence and was inevitably boosted by the relentless chanting of his name from the 1,000-strong travelling Wanderers fans. Undoubtedly will start again on Saturday, 8.

Jem Karacan - 8

Brought in to replace a tiring Pratley and immediately lit up the faces of those watching on in the away end and those in a white shirt. Effortlessly made us tick and showed his usual composure on the ball, despite Crewe being such a physical side in their pressure and tackling. Played a huge part in us turning it round in the last half an hour, great job, Jem! 8.

Filipe Morais - 7

Didn't see the ball as much as the other two replacements did, but when he did, he made sure it counted. Another exquisite cross right on the money with five remaining on the clock met the head of Derik who rose above everyone else to head home the winner. If fit, I presume Parky will put him in from the start on Saturday, great to have you back Postman! 7.

Let us know whether you agree/disagree with how I thought the lads went on at Gretsy Road in the comments below, what you'd change, and if so, why?

On to Saturday! COYWM!