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Player Ratings: Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Crewe Alexandra

Wanderers bow out of the FA Cup in the first round for consecutive seasons.

Bolton Wanderers v Crewe Alexandra - FA Cup First Round Photo by Kevin Barnes - CameraSport via Getty Images

Billy Crellin – 2

It’s gotten to the point now where I have nothing but sympathy for him. From our perspective, he is clearly lacking in confidence right now. Both the second and the third Crewe goal were due to an error by Crellin. The first being a shot straight through him and the second failing to clear the ball with a punch attempt, something we have already seen far too much of this season. For his sake, he needs taking out of the limelight. The issue arises then is who steps in? Is Gilks ready? Does he even want to be playing first team football? Do we take a chance on Alexander? Can we bring any free agents in? By my research, the EFL handbook states that all players in League One and Two under the age of 21 do not count towards the squad size limit, surely it makes sense to either send him back to Fleetwood so he can get game time at another club, or keep him training with us at the cost of nothing with a view to challenge for the first team again. In 2018, Joey Barton recalled Crellin from his loan at FC United stating that “playing in a losing team would not benefit his development.” I can’t see what good it is doing being the reason that a team is dropping points each week, either. Change is needed.

Alex Baptiste – 6

Despite some poor performances at times, I don’t think Baptiste has been as bad as some have made out this season. There was always going to be an agenda against him due to his time at the club previously. He has played 6 games in 19 days, I am surprised that he hasn’t been rested. But, his performance against Mansfield warranted another start, in my opinion. He has started to get forward well and help out in attacking positions down the right hand side. Against Crewe, I thought Baptiste did fairly well against Charlie Kirk, one of the best wingers we’re likely to come up against all season, especially given how many times he was exposed by Peter Kioso’s attacking intent.

Ricardo Santos – 7

Brilliant. Seemed to win everything against a tough opponent in Mikael Mandron. His defending is getting better each week and is becoming more comfortable on the ball. The way that he can drive out of defence is excellent and a real asset. Evatt described him as, “the best central defender in English football outside of the Premier League and Championship” and whilst I don’t necessarily agree, I understand the sentiment. He has been excellent since his dodgy start to his Bolton career, long may it continue.

Ryan Delaney – 6.5

Solid if not spectacular, which is Ryan Delaney to a T. He is an excellent no-nonsense defender and his attacking intuition is improving game by game. It speaks volumes that he seemed to make more overlapping, attacking runs than Liam Gordon down that left hand side. Bailed us out a few times against Crewe with some superb defending and blocks in the box.

Peter Kioso – 5

The huge worry for me before the game was seeing Charlie Kirk starting for the visitors, I rate him so highly. Kioso has been good going forward since his arrival, although performance levels have dropped slightly. His defensive performances have left much to question though, we haven’t really seen enough of it. As mentioned above, I felt that he left Baptiste with too much to do at times against Kirk and Pickering.

Liam Gordon – 4

There were actually some signs of good defensive work, but he looks to be another player who has been lacking confidence. Gordon was signed in summer with all the talk being about his athletic, attacking presence that would create an outlet down the left wing. Unfortunately, we’re yet to see it. For whatever reason, he almost refuses to run at his man and take a player on when he evidently has the pace to do so. I think he could still come good, maybe getting a few wins with him in the side may do his confidence the world of good.

Tom White – 3

Joe Williams syndrome. A superb debut but hasn’t been able to replicate it since. Maybe he hasn’t fully shaken off his injury yet? But I am surprised he managed to keep Tutte out of the starting line up for consecutive games as we look more assured in the middle of the park with the latter in there. Beaten far too easily by Finney for Crewe’s second goal and didn’t look comfortable receiving the ball at times.

Antoni Sarcevic – 5.5

The last few weeks he has stood out by an absolute mile, his performance against Crewe wasn’t quite up to his own high standards. Post-game, it was revealed that he’s been carrying a back injury which explains his below par performance. Did well with an attempt first half which forced a strong save from Jaaskelainen. He is crucial to our way of playing, sincerely hope he is available for Salford on Friday.

Ali Crawford – 5

Is he a luxury that we can’t afford? I think this something I will explore this weekend in a stand-alone piece. He picked up his sixth assist of the season with a fairly straight forward pass into Delfouneso who did the majority of the work. Correctly subbed for the lively Isgrove. I think Crawford needs Doyle in the team to get the best out of him.

Ronan Darcy – 5

Poor mistake for Crewe’s opener to lose possession but recovered well to be bright on the ball. His lively play in the lead up to our equaliser was typical Darcy, will put pressure on Crawford for a place in the starting eleven when we have everyone available.

Nathan Delfouneso – 7

The former Blackpool man, although not as much as a livewire as we have seen earlier in the season, became the first Bolton player to score a brace since the mighty Chris O’Grady against Manchester City’s kids last season. His first goal was excellently taken and his second was a real poachers effort. Fully expect him to kick on from here when Doyle is back and create a fruitful partnership.

Subs:

Shaun Miller – 5

Can’t really remember much of what he did other than some nice play before Wanderers’ second goal. Nice to see him get some more minutes, will offer much needed attacking reinforcements.

Lloyd Isgrove – 6

Has the potential to be a brilliant signing, some really intelligent wing play in the build-up to the second goal. Could we see a potential front three of Isgrove, Doyle and Delfouneso? I think that might be quite useful.

Andrew Tutte – 6

Scored almost instantly after his arrival on the pitch, offers security and a bit more assurance in the middle of the park. Has to start against Salford on Friday.