Wanderers got their first win of 2020 with a convincing victory against Tranmere. Here are the ratings:
20 Remi Matthews: 7
Clean sheet a bonus and some very good saves early in the game. Couple of crosses not handled with his usual authority but seemed much more comfortable with a much impressive back four in front of him.
2 Josh Emmanuel: 10
Incredible performance from Bolton’s stand out player this season. It’s easy to see the influence the former Ipswich Town man has in Wanderer’s attacks with his constant, dangerous overlapping runs but it’s the high calibre defending which continues to improve with every game. Top player, top signing.
28 Aristote Nsiala: 8
Forming a good partnership on the right of Bolton’s defence with his former Ipswich teammate Emmanuel. The signing of Nsiala went relatively under the radar but with the further signing of Kean Bryan, all of a sudden Bolton looked to have a solid centre-back partnership. It takes the pressure off the Jack Hobbs comeback as well which will be a relief.
17 Kean Bryan: 9
What a debut. I’m not going to pretend I knew an awful lot about Bryan prior to his signing but a lot of people who did know a bit more about thought this was a very good signing and based on the debut, who can disagree? Bryan was commanding in the air, read the game fantastically and seemed to take a leadership role from his first minute in a Wanderers shirt. What caught the eye the most however was Bryan’s confidence to carry the ball into midfield. That’s something I’ve not seen at Bolton since Gary Cahill.
12 Brandon Fleming: 9
What a player Brandon Fleming is proving himself to be. Seems very strange he hasn’t been given more of a chance at his parent club as his defensive ability is there for all to see. What stands out from Fleming is his ability on the ball, he’s like a central midfielder and it allowed Bolton to control the game once an early lead had been established.
22 Dennis Politic: 8
We all want the kids with a bit of something to do well. A real silver lining of our early season woes is that it gave an opportunity to the likes of Politic & Ronan Darcy. Saturday was Politic’s best performance in a Bolton shirt. The goal was superb, a wonderful strike of high technical ability that seemed to finish the game within the first couple of minutes. At 19, Dennis has the world at his feet, I want to see him getting into the game more and consider keeping possession than always looking to score. He’ll get plenty of opportunity to do that at Bolton and he fully deserved his new contract.
4 Jason Lowe: 7
Good, solid and uncompromising performance from Lowe. The former Blackburn Rovers man played a big part as Wanderers controlled the game. He maintained possession in the centre of the park for long periods of the game and seemed to improve himself with Fleming & Bryan to work with.
8 Luke Murphy: 7
Seemed lifted and busier than usual and looked to bring players in the wider areas of the pitch into the game when possible.
18 Ethan Hamilton: 8
Good performance from the Manchester United loanee. Picks up the ball in areas of danger and his possession statistics speak for themselves. Put a poor performance midweek behind him which is always good to see. A few more games like that and I might even start forgetting who he really plays for...
10 Chris O’Grady: 9
The big man.
Very good performance by O’Grady who quite simply puts himself where the action is. He is an untidy player but the effect he has on games is unquestionable and his ability in the air is better than most at this level. His finish was lovely, it looked at half chance but was buried with absolute ease and killed the game off beyond all doubt. There was glimpses of forward link-up with his fellow forward Murphy and if we continue with two up top I’d hope to see some more of that.
9 Daryl Murphy: 7
Always looks threatening and I really watching him with the ball at his feet and his back to goal. The way he uses his body to make the space to shoot is wonderful and you just know the defender knows it’s coming but can’t do anything to stop the big Irishman who won a lot of fans with his honest assessment of Wanderer’s draw with Bristol Rovers midweek. A real number 9 and I hope he wants to stick around because he could become a real Wanderers hero in a promotion push next season.