Wanderers lost 2-0 to Brentford at Griffin Park on Saturday where it was clear to everyone present that the recent losses of Darren Pratley, Karl Henry, Josh Cullen and Reece Burke are going to be very difficult to recover from without action from Phil Parkinson and the powers that be. It was a performance that lacked bite and creativity in the midfield and the team could also have used extra mobility at the back, highlighting how much we will miss these players unless adequate reinforcements are brought in. Nonetheless, here’s how the boys fared:
Ben Alnwick 6
He had no chance with either goal and made a very good point-blank save to deny Florian Josefzoon early in the second half which would usually mean he deserved a rating of 7 at least. However, I feel his distribution was slow and often inaccurate which halted any counter attacks we tried to muster. Alnwick is the preferred option in goal, no doubt, but on days like this where we are likely to be under pressure for the majority of the match, it is very important that counters are executed well. Alnwick’s lack of urgency in this game hindered Bolton greatly going forward.
Mark Little 6
Little’s best attribute as a full-back is his ability when going forward so it has been a great shame that he has been nowhere near as confident in this area since his masterclass against Barnsley. In this match he was overwhelmed defensively, understandably so given the skills of Ollie Watkins and Romaine Sawyers, but didn’t counteract this with attacking intent. Sammy Ameobi cut an isolated and frustrated figure for most of the game as a result and Little will have to rediscover his “Cafu” instincts if we are to stay out of trouble.
David Wheater 6
Wheater is great at heading the ball away and making blocks. He is not great at dealing with fluid movement and pace. Brentford have the latter in abundance and he struggled as anticipated. He was by no means at fault for either goal, but one feels that Reece Burke would have been starting in his place had he been available.
Mark Beevers 6
Beevers has the exact same skill set as Wheater, thus he struggled with Brentford’s pace too. He would most likely have retained his place had Burke been starting but there is little to choose between him and Wheater, except for Beevers’ left-footedness. He will have better days, but we need to bring in another more mobile defender to replace him for these games.
Antonee Robinson 6.5
While his defensive showing was frighteningly similar to the one he produced in the reverse fixture, Robinson was at least positive going forward and created our best chance. Whereasat the Macron it was Josh Clarke who gave the loanee nightmares it was Josefzoon in this game and he struggled to keep up with him all match. His weak header out for the first goal cost us but the failure of anyone else in a Bolton shirt to tackle Lasse Vibe when it fell to him was more costly in my opinion.
Derik Osede 6
Derik’s positioning was fantastic in this game and he often made interceptions to break up the Bees’ fluid passing. The issue was that when he got the ball he almost always gave it away. One can put this down to a lack of match sharpness, but he will have to wake up if he is going to keep his place in the side.
Josh Vela 4
While Derik was average Vela was awful. Josh has never been able to play in a holding midfield role and though needs must at the moment it is like playing with 10 men with him in that position. Vela couldn’t pick a pass, he didn’t track any runners and watching him alongside Ryan Woods made me wonder why anyone would want to buy our ‘best midfielder’ when they could have Brentford’s. Woods is far and away the better player and proved it in this game.
Sammy Ameobi 6
Sammy is a frustrating player and he had one of his more innocuous games against Brentford. He received little to no help from Mark Little which made his job harder but after finding himself double marked in the first half he just didn’t look interested. I back him to make a comeback but surely someone should ask him why he doesn’t try his hardest every week.
Harry Charsley 5
Hear me out: I watched this kid and couldn’t help but think he was rubbish. Every report on this game (and most fans around me on the day) thought he was one of our most positive players on the day but I just thought he was bullied by Yennaris and Woods. Charsley has decent pedigree and maybe I missed what some people were seeing but frankly I’d have Josh Cullen over this lad any day. (taken words out)
Filipe Morais 5
Fil is a great crosser of the ball and without doubt a dead ball specialist but a Championship winger he is not. That he was being played on the left, ludicrously in my view, won’t have helped him but frankly he’s not good enough for this level and I fully expect to see either Will Buckley or Craig Noone on that wing against Ipswich.
Gary Madine 7
Our best player on the day by a country mile as a result of his work ethic, link-up play and sheer desire to get us back into the game. If Madine has had his head turned by recent speculation he didn’t show it, getting up for aerial duels against at least two defenders at a time and running himself ragged for the cause. He could (and probably should) have scored one of his three decent chances but given his recent form and the lacklustre displays of those behind him I’ll let him off.
Will Buckley 6
Unfortunately, he just couldn’t get into the game but did at least provide more of a threat than Morais down the left wing. Buckley is obviously the better player and should start in that role without doubt.
Adam Le Fondre 6
He tried to make something happen, almost squeezing a near post flick past Dan Bentley but he had to feed off scraps. Playing him up top instead of having a midfielder in behind Madine would be a better tactic in my opinion.
Aaron Wilbraham 10
He did absolutely nothing on the ball but did deck Chris Mepham (one of the weakest centre-halves I’ve seen) and then shout, “Get on the weights!”. That moment alone made his introduction worthwhile.