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Player Ratings: Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Portsmouth

When I’m old I’ll tell my grandkids I watched Chris O’Grady play football

Bolton Wanderers v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Bolton succumbed to defeat for the fourth game in a row yesterday. Without top scorer Daryl Murphy, out on compassionate leave, Bolton also lost Liam Edwards to injury at halftime. Keith Hill’s men gave a decent account of themselves at times, however they were unable to convert the few chances they created. We looked unsure and allowed Portsmouth time to play in the first half but grew into it as the game wore on, the forced introduction of O’Grady at halftime changed our shape and created the space for Politic and Darcy to work in. Possibly unlucky not to draw the game on the face of it but at this stage in the season, even one point isn’t good enough.

Remi Matthews – 5

Wasn’t really called on to do much today as Portsmouth scored with what was their only real chance on goal, a few half chances earlier on in the first half were straight at him. His distribution wasn’t great and his persisted with lumping the ball up to Dodoo in no mans land. He did well to parry the initial attempt for the goal but his save only managed to fall to Christian Burgess at the near post who smashed home, all that coming from a free kick that probably shouldn’t have been.

Josh Emmanuel – 5

Another mixed game for Josh, showed his quality going forwards but was again susceptible defensively at times and almost cost us a goal with a careless pass late in the second half.

Toto Nsiala – 6

Nsiala looked solid in his second performance for Bolton. Injuries have left us bare and he’s come in and been a strong addition to the defence, he dealt with the dangerous Ellis Harrison and has slotted in well with the rest of the back line.

Liam Edwards (sub-45) – 6

Unsurprisingly it was an improved performance in his shift back to his natural role in the centre of defence, partnering well with Nsiala to limit Pompey to very little of note. All that changed right before the break as Edwards went down after stretching to block a shot and while he was able to come back on for the remainder of the first half, he had to be substituted at the break.

Brandon Fleming – 7

The new signing from Hull played well on his debut and on first impression looks like a good replacement for Adam Chicksen. He got forward well and didn’t seem afraid to go in for a challenge, also, playing an actual left back helped us to look balanced at the back again after the Tuesday night thumping at Lincoln. Hopefully he will grow in his role because he needs to perform better than Chicksen did, to justify the Zimbabwean’s release.

Ethan Hamilton – 7

A tireless second performance from the on loan United man, Hamilton started out on the right and was moved into the middle as Jason Lowe dropped into defence. He never stopped running, not allowing Portsmouth significant time on the ball whilst maintaining his composure in possession and he looks already like a useful signing. Going forwards Hamilton needs to work on his composure as he has found himself in good positions at times but been unable to apply the finish.

Luke Murphy – 4

Absent performance from Luke aside from a few decent forward balls, his tendency to drift through games was on full show here as he completed the full 90 minutes but I don’t really remember him doing much of anything at all.

Jason Lowe – 6

Played well in difficult circumstances and didn’t put at foot wrong in his emergency move to centre back, although lacked some of his usual tenacity when attacking the ball. Wonder if he’s been asked to hold back a bit following the red card.

Ronan Darcy – 7 (sub – 88)

Another good performance from Darcy saw him create two key chances and with confidence in his own ability seeming to grow with every game, he was unlucky not to have an assist today. He was dangerous on the ball and linked up well with those around him going forwards and was a constant menace when he was allowed to run at the defence.

Denis Politic – 8

Bolton’s best player over the course of the 90 minutes but really grew into the game in the second half. Politic slashed a half chance over in the first half but he was a constant threat with his direct running throughout, if Bass hadn’t pulled off an excellent couple of saves, and one in particular, he would have got his goal.

Joe Dodoo – 6

Decent game for Dodoo but he was never going to be able to replace Daryl Murphy in leading the line alone and looked lost every time the ball was lumped up to him. Struggled to get in behind even after O’Grady had come on and he will need to have better games after the signing of Faal.

Subs:

Chris O’Grady – 5

A decent performance from O’Grady but really should have converted, at the very least worked the goalkeeper, with the chances that fell to him. His emergency introduction prompted a much-needed change of shape and his knockdowns and the nuisance-value-presence/ wardrobe- with-legs-running-through-sand style of play created the space for Politic and Darcy to operate in.

Hall – n/a

Honourable mention for Hall, unfortunate with the chance that fell to him at the death and showed positive running but he really couldn’t affect the game with the 6 minutes he was given.

Keith Hill – (A generous) 3

I understand that Hill’s hands are tied due to our embargo and the unlucky timing of injuries in key positions, but he doesn’t do himself any favours. Thirty-three year old Chris O’Grady comes on at halftime and then he waits until the 88th minute to introduce another striker with the game slipping away. Granted we currently don’t have a great deal of depth but his uninspiring substitutions only hamstring us even more. Whilst this performance was an improvement on Tuesday, it will only be remembered as another loss. He needs to make some very good additions to the squad before our next game against Bristol Rovers if we are going to break our losing streak.