If any game could highlight the effect of no proper investment over three years plus a further summer, then this was it. Parky has performed miracles in putting a team together that has some chance of competing at this level. But despite all our blinkered fan denials, we have a team that is made up of players that have either survived a summer cull, are lower league prospects or those that other teams do not want. Some will turn out to be absolute bargains, others will fail again. Parky has to ensure we have more of the former than the latter. His ability to build a strong team spirit within a squad is proven. He knows how to set up a team that grinds out results and indeed can surprise on occasion. Our club is dependent on being better than teams that have a similar or smaller budget than us, just Rotherham this season, and those that are in FFP turmoil. We have had a spectacular start. Bolton have ridden their luck but fortune does favour the brave and our performances have been full throttle, everything given displays. And that is the point. We do not have enough underlying quality in the team to approach a game at anything less than 100%. So Saturdays half arsed start was only going to end in disappointment and we were 2-0 down before the players switched on. Too late to realise that this Sheffield team could play and never got back into the match because of it. The main point post match is that Parky will get the team to shake this performance off and make ready for a more committed effort against Preston. Forget it, move on, get those points on the board. Unfortunately we have to mark Saturdays performance, even though you don’t need to be Einstein to know them beforehand. So let’s get this over with and get onto the scores.
Ben Alnwick 6.5; Aside from being one of the culprits of that bizarre second goal, Ben was in fine form. Possibly his best performance this season. One thing I did like was that the variety and quality of his distribution was a good level above his usual standard. I think I spotted just the one mistake all match. Possibly deserves a higher mark but we did lose 3-0 at home after all.
Pawel Olkowski 5.5; Best of a bad bunch in defence. Not quite as overwhelmed as his defensive teammates and at least the opposition weren’t just running past him. However, he didn’t link up well with Ameobi and did give the ball away on numerous occasions.
David Wheater 5; A non existent midfield meant that Wheats faced his worst nightmare, that being players running at him at pace. Also surprisingly unsettled by the massacre simultaneously going on to his left.
Mark Beevers 5; See above re Wheats. Panicked distribution also left its mark, with numerous balls going straight to the opposition, so that they could immediately start another attack. Part of the left field collapse with Grounds.
Jonathan Grounds 5; Sharpe, Freeman & Norwood played merry hell with Grounds. Pulled out of position from start to finish and given absolutely no protection whatsoever from midfield, particularly Buckley. You can’t judge a player on one game though. Hopefully, Grounds will put this one down to being ring rusty and use his performance at Leeds as a bar going forward.
Jason Lowe 5; Bolton’s steady Eddie was anything but. Unspectacular but generally consistent with effective understated performances is his game. In this one, a chubby, stumpy legged, but massively impressive Fleck, ran past Lowe as if he was playing in water filled wellies. Lowe just could not settle and play his game.
Luke Murphy 5; A game to forget. Pulled from pillar to post by Fleck, Norwood and Duffy. Murphy was a frustrated man with no end to his torment. Probably the most relieved man in the stadium when he was finally pulled off just after the hour mark.
Sammy Ameobi 6; Our only outfield player who started the game fully revved up and who caused Sheffield any problems. In fairness, Ameobi actually played well and had a good game. He was done by 70 minutes but other players needed subbing more urgently.
Josh Vela 5; Unfairly picked on post match in my opinion. Vela had no chance going forward, as he had to spend the whole matching trying to help one beaten team mate after another. Alas because so many needed help, all Vela achieved was to end up running around in circles.
Will Buckley 5; Completely sidelined. No impact on the game going forward and unable to help out a drowning Grounds in defence. Another who was rightly subbed.
Josh Magennis 5; Would have been better served by being allowed to stay home and watch the telly. Completely isolated by his team mates for the whole match. That was not his fault obviously, but Magennis was equally ineffective when helping out in defence during set pieces.
Erhun Oztumer (62 for Murphy) 5; Came on to replace the hapless Murphy, with Vela dropping to a DM role. Erhun spent his half hour in Vela’s first 60 minute foot steps, running in circles. Could’ve perhaps linked up with Ameobi, if it were not for the fact that Sammy was a spent force for the last twenty minutes.
Yanic Wildschut (62 for Buckley) 5; Added pace to the left wing but used it to run into cul-de-sacs and therefore, similarly sidelined.
Clayton Donaldson (81 for Magennis) 5; Came on and spent the last ten minutes watching the game, as per his predecessor.