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MOTM: Bolton Wanderers 3-6 Port Vale

Okay, so that was an omnishambles...

Bolton Wanderers v Port Vale - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Stephen White - CameraSport via Getty Images

Quite a simple one for me all the same for MOTM in this defensive horror show, as we gave Port Vale, a team who’d lost six games on the bounce lest we forget, six pre-Christmas gifts as all the great work that had been done in November came crashing down before our android/iPad/laptop-weary eyes.

The only real positive to take from yesterday’s humbling defeat was that the attacking display was pretty encouraging. And not just after the Valiants had declared at 6-1, giving us the opportunity to put a semi-respectable sheen on the final scoreline.

We should’ve scored at least another goal in the first half and could’ve had 6 ourselves by the end of the game if it wasn’t for profligate finishing and bad decision making in the final third. Our long range shooting either needs some serious work in training or Evatt needs to fine them, yes I’m looking at you mainly Ali, if they have an attempt from 25 yards that doesn’t hit the target.

The brightness of substitutes Ronan Darcy and Lloyd Isgrove, although this must be tempered by the fact the game state they entered into allowed them a big chunk of creative freedom, gives Evatt huge food for thought and from his team selections being a pretty straightforward task this past month, the team-sheet against Walsall now becomes perhaps the most challenging and pivotal choice of his short managerial career.

The most encouraging aspect of the disasterclass however was Irish goal getter Eoin Doyle’s overall performance. He was alert, focused and his first touch took the ball away from his marker on numerous occasions. His goal was extremely well taken and his off-the-ball running was purposeful and unselfish, even if we don’t always want to see him outside the box. A couple of wayward efforts from around 18 yards out blotted his copybook somewhat but you can really see he’s got the bit between his teeth now and I think he benefitted from having someone like Isgrove, someone who he forged a strong partnership with last season at Swindon, beating men and opening up more space for him to operate. He looks more likely to score every game now than not and we need to harness this confidence that is clearly running through his veins right now.

Of course this was an aberration but I am not as downbeat as I possibly should be.

I’d be more worried if we lost 3-0 without creating a chance. The defence all had off days and I refuse to believe that Evatt can’t sort the issues out in training this week.

Positivity after a 6-3 home defeat?