Wanderers slipped to a thoroughly disappointing and deserved defeat at the hands of Preston North End, conceding a first-half lead to eventually lose 1-3. Bolton failed to deal with Preston’s pace all game and having ridden their luck in the first-half it ran out in the second. There were few positive showings from the Whites and Parky will need to address this before tomorrow’s game against Reading, a match that must now be considered a Relegation Six-Pointer.
Here are my player ratings:
Ben Alnwick 6.5
Had pretty much no chance with any of Preston goals but pulled off an absolutely stunning save to deny Tom Barkhuizen in the first-half. His shot-stopping has never been questionable but again his distribution was poor. He either takes too long or is too inaccurate. As I have said before I believe it is for this reason that he plays for Bolton rather than a more successful team.
Dorian Dervite 4
My word this was a shambolic performance. Dorian has been great recently and I have been very impressed with the way he has dragged himself back into Parky’s plans but his lack of pace meant he was destroyed by the likes of Barkhuizen and Callum Robinson. All of Preston’s joy came down his wing and the way he allowed Barkhuizen to get past him for the equalising goal was very weak. Had he put a shoulder into the winger he may well have conceded a foul, but he wouldn’t have conceded a goal. As it happened the former Blackpool man was allowed all the time in the world to score and Bolton never recovered.
David Wheater 5
He wasn’t helped by Dervite’s ineptitude, but we know his strengths and weaknesses and Preston exploited the latter. Preston have quick players up front and Wheater didn’t deal with them well. I thought he was the best of the centre-halves, despite Mark Beevers scoring, but he is limited as we saw in this game.
Mark Beevers 4.5
Performance-wise he wasn’t great and we know he struggles with pacy attackers in the same way Wheater does. This begs the question why Reece Burke, if he was fit, wasn’t selected given Parky seems to rotate the West Ham man into the team to cope with pace. I am certain he would have helped us enormously. Beevers did score though and I am hopeful this can prove to be the watershed moment for him in front of goal as we need everyone to chip in to help us survive.
Filipe Morais 5
Defensively Morais simply isn’t good enough but I don’t think its his fault. Morais is a winger, an out-and-out winger being played in a position that doesn’t suit him and the team suffers for it. If Parky insists on playing this stupid formation, then at least Mark Little will be back for Reading. If he sees sense and changes it, I hope we see Jon Flanagan start as he would at least offer us some defensive stability.
Darren Pratley 6
I thought he was good, but I have only given him a 6 because anything good he did was off the ball. On the ball his passing wasn’t great and lacked any incision but that shouldn’t be his job. What he is good at is running around putting in a challenge, something he did well in this game, but it didn’t help us because his partner didn’t perform a different role. In holding midfield, you need to have a tackler and a passer and watching Jem Karacan and Pratley was reminiscent of Medo and Jay Spearing. One of them needs to be given licence to be the passer or we won’t be able to make any progress.
Jem Karacan 6
As previously mentioned, Jem performed the same role as Pratley and though I thought he did it well it held us back. Out of the two he is obviously the better passer, but he wasn’t confident enough to be incisive and take us forward. I almost wanted him to play in Josh Vela’s role to see if that granted him the extra freedom necessary to play killer passes but with Vela fit one doubts that will happen. I’m not advocating swapping the two of them; I think we must choose between them.
Antonee Robinson 5.5
He wasn’t confident enough to try and beat his man and I can’t remember him making a telling contribution defensively either. Robinson is allowed the occasional off-day because he has been brilliant for large parts of this season but recently he has been hit-and-miss. I want to see more from him because I know there is more to come.
Josh Vela 6
He was OK and showed a lot of desire and energy but it is his quality on the ball that one has to question, especially when watching other midfielders in the same mould take games by the scruff of the neck week in week out. Vela is constantly outshone by the likes of Ryan Woods, Alan Browne and Josh Scowen and I don’t know whether he is playing within himself or he just isn’t at that level. Regardless of what happens come the end of the season it has been a disappointing one for Vela.
Sammy Ameobi 5
He couldn’t get into the game and often looked like he wasn’t interested. This may down to a back injury that looks set to rule him out of the game against Reading and this may be a blessing in disguise. Ameobi hasn’t looked right in recent weeks and a couple of games out of the spotlight could well help him rediscover his form.
Tyler Walker 4
He was rubbish, frankly. He lacked energy, pace and couldn’t hold the ball up. I know this isn’t his preferred role but when he got chances to run in behind it looked like he was trawling through treacle. He needs to up his game.
Adam Le Fondre 6
He always works hard and did so again but got no chances of note. I reckon he’ll start at Reading and could really do with a goal.
Jan Kirchhoff 6
It was good to see him in a Wanderers shirt and for the first 10 minutes or so he looked a cut above but then proceeded to fade badly. He needs match fitness, but the early signs are promising that he can be the holding passer in our midfield.
Aaron Wilbraham N/A
He didn’t do anything bar lose the ball a few times. Zach Clough must be wondering why bothered switching teams to simply change which bench he sat on.