Bolton Wanderers secured a vital three points against Sunderland last night that could be huge come the end of the season. However, a footballing spectacle this was not.
Here are our player ratings for the Bolton Wanderers players.
GK - Ben Alnwick: 9
Yet another solid display from the Bolton stopper that sealed an invaluable clean sheet. As mentioned in my earlier Man of the Match piece, Alnwick thankfully wasn’t as busy as the previous game at Queens Park Rangers, but he came good when we needed him - which, worryingly, is far too often of late given the performances of our defenders.
RWB - Filipe Morais: 6
Provided an excellent delivery for the goal, and showed moments of quality throughout down the right wing. He’s also still the only player we have who can effectively cross the ball, which is a little worrying. However, I’m totally unconvinced he has the defensive nous to be used as a wing-back, especially when we come up against better teams that play with wingers. He conceded a needless silly free-kick late on, which was testament to this.
CB - Dorian Dervite: 7
If you were to tell me at the start of the season that Dervite might be our most dependable defender, well, I might have laughed in your face. The Frenchman has looked solid since he came back into the side and showed why his mysterious relegation to the substitutes bench at QPR may have been a mistake.
CB - David Wheater: 6
Did a decent enough job, but was rarely tested by a poor Sunderland attack.
CB - Mark Beevers: 5
I’m not sure what’s going on with Beevs at the moment, but his form has dipped. It may have been a massive offside, but he allowed Ashley Fletcher to saunter in on goal in the first half and force a good save from Alnwick, while Beevers was stood 20 yards behind him appealing to the linesman. However, his seemingly never-dying commitment to being the one-man advertisement for hoofball will make him the first name on the teamsheet for Parky.
LWB - Andrew Taylor: 6
I was surprised to see Taylor recalled given the form of Antonee Robinson, but Taylor performed well in a game where not a lot was really asked of him. A brave, but worthwhile move by Parky to give Robinson some vital recovery time.
CM - Karl Henry: 6
Much better than his performance at QPR which was, frankly, abysmal. But he wasn’t up against much in a really average Sunderland midfield in which the creative force was Lee Cattermole, which says it all.
CM - Jem Karacan: 8
I was really impressed with Karacan’s energy and eye for a pass at QPR, and the little midfielder continued that form last night. He started off a little shakily, seemingly temporarily taking on Cattermole’s nutcase role, but soon settled into the game. Had a great chance to make it 2-0 late on but fired against the bar when he probably should have scored.
RW - Sammy Ameobi: 5
Some people seem to think Ameobi can do no wrong, which I don’t really get. But, his one redeeming quality is that he is the only player we have that can and will do something out of absolutely nothing. Sammy had a bit of a nightmare last night, losing the ball at will and almost incapable of controlling the ball, but then out of nowhere he came close to doubling the lead with a curling left-footed shot. I want to see him be more consistent.
LW - Zach Clough: 5
He scored the only goal, yes. But he was barely in the game, and it was a massive handball. I’m not convinced wide left is the best position for Zach, nor am I really sure what is actual position is. However, he did show moments of what he can do when we got the ball down and got it into his feet. It’s a case of him getting match fit and adopting our style of play to give him a chance to influence the game.
ST - Aaron Wilbraham: 3
Is this too harsh? Yes, probably, but I just don’t think he’s up to it anymore. He’s 38, has no pace and couldn’t even hold the ball up against one of the weakest defences in The Championship. I’m sure his experience could be vital to the likes of Tyler Walker, Connor Hall and co’s development, but I’d much rather see his more youthful compatriots on the pitch. Just to remind you, Wilbraham has still yet to score for Bolton in 19 appearances. And yesterday’s should be his last.
Adam Le Fondre (replaced Wilbraham 59): 6
I can understand why Parky chose not to start Le Fondre. In fact, as I was walking home from work yesterday I was thinking to myself that Le Fondre may well be a better option from the bench than from the start of games. But, he is the most natural finisher we have, even if he doesn’t bring Parky’s preferred aerial prowess. That showed with the header that forced a great save out of Lee Camp. He got across his man well and did everything but score with a low header to the near post - it was a great save.
Derik Osede (replaced Clough 59): 6
A bit of a strange substitution, and probably a bit of a negative move to replace Clough, but he came on at a time when the midfield needed strengthening and, to that point, he did his job. I don’t think he’s a midfielder, and it shows when we play against better teams - or even not great ones like QPR.
Reece Burke (replaced Karacan 90): N/A
Came on deep into the bizarre six minutes of injury time to ensure Wanderers saw it through. Don’t expect him to play in midfield any time soon.