As I said above I really could’ve given it to them all for Saturday’s performance. After the mild disappointment of midweek I half expected more of the same from Bolton but I was pleasantly surprised right from the off as it appeared Keith Hill had gone for two up top, the surprise benching of contract disputer Ronan Darcy and was looking to out shithouse Tranmere in the best possible way. It almost immediately paid off as a long ball up was knocked down by Chris O’Grady, Daryl Murphy turned and dinked it into the box for Luke Murphy who touched it down brilliantly for Politic to fire home first time on the volley.
I said I could give to them all but this isn’t how this column works. My Man of the Match has to be Denis Politic. For me this was the Romanian’s best game in a Bolton shirt, he took his goal excellently and was a constant menace to a poor Tranmere side whenever he got onto the ball. As Bolton sat back for periods in the first half he was the spark that helped us to break out and throughout the second he linked up well with the also excellent Emmanuel going forwards, ultimately Tranmere didn’t know what to do with him. It is great to see Denis finally kick on as a Bolton player because there was a lot of promise in the pre season and early on that didn’t amount too much as he found himself dropped (justifiably imo) for Verlinden. In the past few games however Politic has stepped up when needed and been at the heart of everything positive that Bolton have created. There are still areas of his game that need work but to have a 19 year old signed on for what looks like next season in League 2 is exciting. Hopefully we’re looking at the future of Bolton Wanderers in him and some of the other youngsters around him.
Special mention has to go to Chris O’Grady. I never thought I would be writing these words but the 33 year old has proved me wrong. The torment of Tranmere with his physicality, they just couldn’t get the ball off of him at times and he rounded off a well worked performance with a goal. A journeyman forward at the end of his career isn’t necessarily the type of player you’d assume would give his all for the club he’s currently representing. Chris O’Grady did just that on Saturday. He isn’t brilliant and his pace is non existent but him and Daryl Murphy hold the ball up better than anyone we’ve had up top in recent memory. Watching the two of them play I am constantly reminded of the scene in Moneyball when Billy Beane tells David Justice that he wants to squeeze him for ‘‘every ounce of baseball left in him’’. Chris gave us that on Saturday and while I am still uncomfortable with the idea of him playing on the wing, I look forward to watching more of his shithousery for the rest of the season.