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Player Ratings: Brentford 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

Another toothless performance in a match there for the taking

Birmingham City V Bristol City- Sky Bet Championship
Gary O’Neil was our best performer on the day against Brentford.
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Wanderers slipped to yet another defeat by a one goal margin at Griffin Park against a side in the midst of a run of 1 win in 16 thanks to a crisp finish from 14-goal striker Neal Maupay.

Though there can be a debate as to whether the Frenchman was offside, Wanderers simply didn’t do enough to merit getting anything more from the game. That their best chance came in the last minute and was a header by goalkeeper Ben Alnwick encapsulates their lack of invention going forward.

Something needs to change, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that if Ken Anderson could sack Phil Parkinson he would. For now, we are stuck with him and his attitude must change to see a difference in results.

Here are my player ratings:

Ben Alnwick 6.5

Other than his distribution still remaining a concern, he looked very comfortable with any shots and crosses he had to deal with. He probably should have scored when he went up for a corner in the final minute and if he were an outfield player would have noticed the space he was in and taken a touch before shooting. Regardless his header was a good effort and his teammates should be ashamed that their keeper was more enterprising in attack than them.

Pawel Olkowski 6

What has happened to him? Pawel is a shadow of the player he was in the opening months. No longer does he maraud the right flank with confidence and skill and even his defensive ability is suffering. I’m not sure dropping him would help him but Mark Little is a good option to have for the team and I wouldn’t be against using it. He had a good partnership with Sammy Ameobi last season and in a must win game like Rotherham this Boxing Day I think they could cause real damage.

David Wheater 6.5

Maupay is a very useful player who was neutered for the most part by Wheater. However, quality finishers only need one chance to score and a poor header away by our skipper granted Rico Henry the chance to find the Frenchman free in the box. I don’t think we should look at our defence as the true source of our woes, but we are culpable to lapses which more often than not are punished. Wheater’s focus must be on keeping these to a minimum as they spoil an otherwise good performance.

Jack Hobbs 6.5

I struggle to remember him doing anything wrong of note which is a big positive after being nutmegged for Leeds’ goal last week. However I can’t help but feel he could have covered Wheater better for the Brentford goal, although Maupay could well have been offside. I think this partnership has promise and this is evidenced by the fact we are losing game by one-goal margins. Perhaps both of the centre-halves could produce more going forward than they currently do?

Andrew Taylor 6.5

We dearly miss Antonee Robinson’s pace, but Taylor is performing well at the moment. He offered much more going forward than usual though he loses some credit as his crossing must improve. Defensively I think he is solid and dealt well with Ollie Watkins making the talented forwards contribution minimal at best.

Marc Wilson 6

Looked tidy on the ball but one has to wonder why he was included in the midfield against a side whose mobility in that area is their greatest asset. We needed some legs and instead got a centre-half who, while admittedly played OK, simply doesn’t have the ability to track players like Romaine Sawyers or Kamohelo Mokotjo.

Jason Lowe 5

He should never have been carded for a great tackle on Maupay early on and was unfortunate that this meant he had to be cautious for 85 minutes but his lack of ability on the ball is becoming infuriating. I think the fact he seems an automatic pick sums up how negative we are and I would drop him for Rotherham.

Gary O’Neil 7

Not bad for an old-timer. He showed more legs than either of his younger midfield counterparts and had a good shot blocked in the first half that I’m sure would have gone in. I’m not a huge fan of starting a 35 year old over the likes of Vela and Williams but he was definitely our best player on the day.

Will Buckley 4

Awful, just awful. He had a mini purple patch a couple of weeks ago but his last two offering in this game and against Leeds have been shocking. With Yanic Wildschut sat in the stands it is criminal Buckley starts over him. Must be dropped for Rotherham.

Sammy Ameobi 5

Couldn’t get into the game and though it is clear we rely on him and he has bucketloads of ability this game was one of those in which nothing he did came off. He has to stop giving away so many needles fouls too.

Christian Doidge 6

Never got a sniff of goal and I would blame that on service rather than himself. Held the ball up well-enough and won his fair share of headers. Needs a goal to get his confidence back.

Substitutes:

Craig Noone 6

Should have scored himself rather than cross when played in by Josh Magennis. Looked much livelier than Buckley had done all game.

Josh Magennis 5.5

Won some headers and set up Noone for a good chance. Still think Doidge should start ahead of him.

Clayton Donaldson N/A

Don’t remember him touching the ball.

Manager

Phil Parkinson 4

As previously stated, I think if we could afford to sack him we would have done by now. His fear of us being ripped apart and setting up to defend each week shows no confidence in his players. His comments in the media alienate key personnel. His tactics make it almost impossible for us to score goals. Something has to give but I feel as though if we are to beat Rotherham it will be despite the manager rather than because of him.