The Whites slumped to a bruising 3-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest in a game that demonstrates, quite clearly, Bolton Wanderers are very much in need of rehab. The emotions could not be more conflicting from the last time we played Nottingham Forest, as this time around, a chorus of boos and grumblings rang out from the half empty terraces at the full time whistle. A run of just one win in ten games has seen Bolton slide down the table, resting in 18th place and piling more pressure on manager Phil Parkinson.
So where did it all go wrong? Here are my players’ ratings:
Ben Alnwick 6.5
It says a lot when we lose 3-0 at home and the player with the highest rating is our ‘keeper. Had no chance with the first one after a great finish into the top corner by Joe Lolley, but later denied the winger before the break with a smart save. Got down well to his left to save a Lewis Grabban penalty early in the second half to temporarily keep us in the game.
Helpless with the second goal, after a neat dinked finish by Grabban into the far corner and the third was a penalty after another theatrical dive by Grabban. May have gathered the initial shot leading up to the second penalty, but likewise you have to ask why it was Grabban who was first to follow up.
Made some other decent saves, and always our most consistent player. Limited protection from his team mates as the game progressed and must be wondering when he will get some respite. Not any time soon if this dreadful performance was anything to go by. Busy evening for Ben, probably best of a bad bunch.
Mark Little 4.5
Pawel’s sick bug gave Litts a rare start and to be fair it was a tough evening from the off. Struggled with the quality of Joe Lolley and was left isolated, lacked support and out of position at times. Had a better first half than his second and looked fatigued towards the end, which is understandable seeing this was his first start since February. Potentially had a better game going forward than defending, unfortunately first and foremost he’s a defender. Seemed to be doing Craig Noone’s job too for the most part. That said, he needs more game time to get back up to speed and a tough ask on your first game back.
David Wheater 6
Another decent game and swept up with a few last ditch tackles when others were caught out of position. Made some crucial blocks on the edge of the area and will always put his body on the line. Uncomfortable with the pace of the Forest attack and with Joao Carvalho sliding passes in between the lines, big Wheats was always fighting a losing battle despite his best efforts. Let down by others.
Jack Hobbs 6
An unhappy evening for the former Forest man but he does seem to be forging a decent partnership with Wheats. Was always going to struggle with the pace of Grabban but can never be faulted on effort. A steady player, who at least had the desire to stick to his job and also get into the opposition’s box looking for a goal. Turned inside out for the third as the ball was slid through but to be fair, Wanderers were already chasing the game. Nonetheless, an impressive start to his Bolton career so far and I can imagine he’ll be mightily pissed off in that dressing room. Not disgraced by any means.
Andrew Taylor 4.5
First return after picking up a hamstring injury at Preston last month, a definite improvement from the recent performances of Jonathon Grounds at left back. Bastiao Dias put him under constant pressure and was exposed more than most with little support from Yanic Wildschut in front of him. Gulf in class and may take time to get up to match fitness. Like Mark Little, it’s a bit harsh to judge after a lengthy absence but well off the pace. Both will improve .......hopefully.
Joe Williams 5
Another with plenty of running early on but failed to influence the game. The player we saw at Preston, on his debut, has not been seen since. Effort and desire was on show but outnumbered in the middle too many times and pushed deeper and deeper. Under constant pressure from Forest’s midfield and somewhat wasteful in possession not for the first time. Would like to see him get further forward in support of the front man, dropping Josh Vela further back. This worked at Preston with Gaz O’Neil and Lowe sitting deeper allowing him a bit more freedom to make his mark. He’s a young lad who needs more support from those around him. A baptism of fire is what he has got. Undoubtedly will improve and should not be the one relied upon to drag us out of this poor run. Yet to see the best of him.
Jason Lowe 4.5
Forest’s pace and his lack of it made it difficult for Lowey to get a foothold in the game. Ran and tracked the opposition for the most part but sharp passing from the opposition left him chasing shadows at times. An early booking on 16 minutes certainly didn’t help his cause and limited his aggression in midfield. Substituted before the end and will miss the Hull game through suspension. Not at his best today, not allowed to be in fairness.
Craig Noone 3.5
Did not provide any threat of note down the flank and failed to provide any defensive cover for Mark Little, as Bolton were tore apart down the right. Dreadful start, giving the ball away for the first goal and failing to track back. His ball control was the second worst on the park. So painfully inconsistent. On his day has the beating of his man and a real offensive threat, when he’s not at the races he looks ordinary and out of his depth at this level. Heck of a lot of improvement needed and Ameobi’s absence a big loss on nights like these.
Josh Vela 5
Asked to cover a lot of ground behind Josh Magennis and to be fair continued to chase down and tried to get on the ball as much as he could. Needs more touches, rather than be seen as someone with a decent engine used to rush the opposition. Can’t help but think he is unhappy in his current position and maybe needs to sit a bit deeper to help to influence the game. Has more to offer and up to him to show it and for Parky to find it. A decent run of games will also help, but not likely with so many changes from week to week.
Yanic Wildschut 2.5
Good grief. He found a bit of space, had a shot over the bar and had a couple of runs that came to nothing early on and that was about as good as it got. His touch was awful and the only time he did control it he managed to fall over and gift the possession back to Forest. He lacked any sort of positional sense when out of possession and again offered absolutely no support to Andrew Taylor behind him. He pulled out of two 50/50 challenges and managed to get Jason Lowe booked after giving the ball away cheaply thanks to a wayward pass just like he did for the goal at Preston. Made poor decisions and failed to make amends. These are basic things, nothing a manager can do when a player comes up with such a weak display. Had a dabble on the right for a minute or so but soon resorted back to the left. Whether it is due to a lack of confidence or lack of concentration, the Bolton faithful will soon let their thoughts be known. A night to forget for the Dutchman and quickly. Substituted at half time, about 15 minutes too late.
Josh Magennis 5.5
Looks a little off the pace at the minute. Whether it’s the over reliance on him to lead the line in such confinement or just the amount of minutes on the pitch I’m not sure. The international call up meant he has had little rest and maybe it’s time to afford him that for his own benefit. It must be so frustrating at the moment for him with the lack of quality service and goal scoring opportunities. The majority of his energy was spent chasing lost causes or closing down the opposition. Can never fault his commitment to the cause and always gives 100%. Had our only attempt on target but rarely troubled the Forest backline.
Donaldson 6, 46 (for Wildschut)
Unlucky not to retain his place after a man of match performance at Rotherham last time out. Parky may have felt playing two full 90 minutes in 4 days was too much of an ask but Clayton came on at half time, in place of Wildschut, and immediately got up to speed with the game. He tracked back, won headers and put himself about. He had good energy and seemed to give us a bit more impetus further up the pitch. I would love to see him play from the start, in his more natural position of centre forward, against Hull on Saturday.
Oztumer 5, 69 (for Lowe)
Poor Ozzie. Limited opportunity to influence the game, when given so little time. He freshened up the midfield and did try one or two incisive passes but they never really came off. He found it hard to make an impact and surely needs more minutes on the pitch to be beneficial for him and the team. On a hiding to nothing really against a classy Forest outfit. Must have a better opportunity of getting a start against Hull.
Doidge 5 75 (for Taylor)
The game had long since gone by the time Doidgey entered the fray and the Welshman had little opportunity to add to his goal at the weekend. Another who needs more minutes on the pitch and better service.
Not used: Matthews, Wilson, Dyer.
Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire) 4/10 – another shite referee, we’ve had shiter, mind. Two penalty calls made, two wrong, but at least he’s consistently shite I suppose. .
Attendance: 13,195 (1,001) at 80 minutes / 6,475 (1,001) at 90 minutes
So there we have it, what do you think? Would you score the players’ performances differently? And if so why. Perhaps more importantly, how can we change the losing formulae and turn these performances around, as I’m really struggling now.
Answers on a postcard please or just post them below
See you Saturday for another afternoon of frivolity.