A last-minute Blackpool goal from “double-barrelled name who cares” just 100 seconds after Kean Bryan looked to have got Wanderers their first point in 5 matches meant it was 5 losses out of 5 instead. Bolton still can’t win away at Blackpool; Bolton still can’t win at all.
Yet this time the apathy that seemed to have set in at MK Dons wasn’t there, they actually made us care a little bit. The scenes in the away end where 1194 pour souls had made the trip to the seaside were joyous, it was fun again, at long last, and then the team they have paid hundreds of pounds, week after week, to watch let them down again. I felt sick to my stomach and still do. I’ll come to the bigger issues later in this article but, for now, I’ll focus on the players on the pitch, but don’t worry Keith, I’m coming for you again.
Remi Matthews 6
Had little to nothing to do of note. Was beaten by a great strike that caught him by surprise in the first half and was let down by his defence for the second goal. I’ll leave it at that in case he shouts at me on Twitter.
Jason Lowe 6.5
Should never be playing at right-back, it’s another in a long line of baffling tactical decisions, but he was positive in his passing and I thought he was one of the better performers. Doesn’t mean he did anything spectacular, but he was as steady as usual and that deserves praise. From a footballing sense, he probably can’t do better than us, but from a personal point of view, he’s a good bloke who cares. I want him to go somewhere where that is appreciated.
Toto Nsiala 5
Not great and was done by Delfouneso on a couple of occasions but his tussle and war of words with Madine was joyous to watch. A shoulder to shoulder challenge he had with The Washing Machine saw the latter go flying and that was fun, the most fun thing I’ve seen in a while watching us.
Jack Hobbs 6
Our best defender and won the headers and challenges I expect from him. However, he’s clearly in the Ledley King stage where any tackle could be his last. I respect him for doing what he’s doing and I wish those around him didn’t keep letting him down.
Kean Bryan 6.5
Took his goal beautifully and looked a threat down the left-hand side at times. He is frustrating because he has the ability to pick a pass but so often looks bereft of the confidence to do so. I wonder why that is?
Joe Bunney 5
Looked tidy on the ball at times and then “Bambi on Ice” at others. He’ll be with us in all likelihood next season so I’d like to see him given more games.
Luke Murphy 5
The inept, appalling and downright inane Chris Price’s only sensible sentence uttered on Bolton FM during his commentary was to say that “Luke Murphy’s attitude has to be questioned given his tendency to never look for a forward pass”. I thought he tackled reasonably well but what he’s good at is linking defence and attack with a good pass, this side of his game has disappeared. I think he just wants out.
Ethan Hamilton 5.5
His long-range shooting is dire and I still don’t rate him but he was by no means our worst player on the night. He tackled well and was purposeful in his running. The effort was there though the quality was decidedly lacking at times.
Dennis Politic 5.5
Flitted in and out of the game and someone needs to grab him by the scruff of the neck and tell him not to be so bloody greedy. Could have played Ali Crawford in for a great chance with a cut back yet he elected to shoot to waste a great chance. He’s young and learning but this is something he has not improved upon one iota all season long and it needs addressing.
Ali Crawford 6
Easily our most creative player and one of the tidiest on the ball in the team, Crawford is working his way back to full fitness and deserves great credit for the two showings he has put in since returning from injury. Could have a had a goal had he been “match-sharp” and his touch not eluded him midway through the second half.
Chris O’Grady 4
I don’t care how out of form Daryl Murphy is, you do not start O’Grady over him, ever……..ever! What a waste of a half having him on instead of our only real goal scorer. O’Grady did nothing and should only be used in conjunction with Murphy, never on his own.
Daryl Murphy 5
Link play was very tidy and provided a threat which had Blackpool worried but he missed his big chance and, frankly, it was a sitter. Had it come in November he’d have buried it no questions asked, but he epitomises this team that has lost its way. It’s so sad to see.
Joe Dodoo 6.5
Set up the goal and was much livelier than in previous games. Actually stayed out wide which allowed us to have an “out-ball” and though he wasn’t inspiring he gave Blackpool something to think about.
Jacob Mellis N/A
Manager (term used begrudgingly)
Keith Hill 0
Here we go again. This will be without expletives as I feel as though the arguments here don’t need to be amplified further through coarseness; they speak for themselves.
We have won 1 out our last 13 games. We have lost 5 games in a row. We have won 5 games in 30 since he took over. This is just appalling. The man has a team sides like Blackpool, MK Dons, Doncaster, Lincoln and Rochdale (who have all beaten us) would kill for. Players like Jason Lowe, Luke Murphy, Jack Hobbs, Daryl Murphy, Kean Bryan and Josh Emmanuel would walk into those teams and anyone saying otherwise has clearly not seen how they have played at previous clubs or at higher levels. He simply is not getting the best out of this side, yet someone like Phil Parkinson was able to motivate players to play without being paid. This is why he has to go.
Hill came out after this game saying it is “not my job to over criticise” when he has ostracised one of our most consistent defenders in Yoan Zouma, killed the confidence of James Weir (who led our youngsters when senior players around him refused) and gone after anyone and everyone he feels has underperformed. He is a hypocrite whose personality rubs everyone who encounters him up the wrong way. This is why he has to go.
Hill plays his most competent midfielder in Jason Lowe at right-back when he has two other natural right-backs fit and available. He drops his only proper goal scorer for a lower league lump with the mobility of roadkill whilst playing what appeared to be a back seven when we now have nothing to lose by going all-out. He used to be a defender yet is incapable of coaching his defenders the basics of defending corners and crosses. He talks of “red-zones” yet has done nothing to counteract this issue. His tactical nous and coaching ability are non-existent. This is why he has to go.
I am not ranting; I am not raving. I am putting forward arguments with merit that can be backed up by statistics and what we see on the pitch in every game. Next season should be one where we look to get promoted straight away, but at present all this squad knows how to do is lose. The malaise hanging around the club lifted briefly once Ken Anderson left and Football Ventures took over, but Keith Hill’s tenure has brought the malaise back tenfold. My team this season has been beaten by Accrington Stanley 7-1, Rotherham 6-1 and Lincoln City 5-1 with a full squad of very capable League 1 players. It has been a disgrace.
It takes a person of immense bravery to admit when they are wrong. This has indeed gone wrong. The question is, is Sharon Brittan a person of immense bravery?