Well that wasn’t the ideal start to Evatt’s reign. Once again, Bolton Wanderers exit the League Cup at the first time of asking and despite some positive signs individually, it’s clear that the team as a whole still has quite a bit to work on. I’m still fully behind Evatt and his ideals and it’s not fair to judge players overall after a single game but I’m here to judge them on this game and I’ve never been one to hide what I’m feeling so here we go.
Here are my player ratings:
Billy Crellin - 7.5
Finally! A keeper who’s first thought is to play the ball out quickly. I’ve only been begging for one of these for about god knows how many years. The lad shook off his mistakes vs Crewe and looked full of confidence as he pulled off some impressive saves and always came out to command his box. He may be young for a starting keeper but he certainly earned his keep today. Nothing he could really do for either goals.
Gethin Jones - 7.0
Early signing are looking good as to what Carlisle fans said. He is a reliable 7 out of 10 every game. Cutting a lonesome figure sometimes out on the right he rarely lost the ball and made a nuisance of himself, recovering quickly to jockey for a defensive position when needed and in turn, carrying the ball forward well. His end product, specifically crosses need to start finding their mark so we can get the best of him but I’m impressed by his debut.
Ricardo Santos - 5.0
Not a good start. Honestly, I was tempted to mark him lower but some of his forward play was good enough that he’s saved from a more embarrassing mark. The good included some decent runs forward and a lovely ball to Delfouneso that helped set up our goal. However, the bad was really bad as he was the prime suspect for both goals that we conceded. Woefully out of position for both Novak’s and Pritchards goals, his lack of awareness cost us cheap goals and he needs to do better. Did nearly score out of nowhere though early on but I’m not sure what that says about him.
Alex Baptiste - 5.5
Is it possible that I’m letting some of my previous perceptions of Baptiste affect his rating today? Possibly but I like to think I’m being quite objective when I say that Baptiste did not do himself any justice in redeeming himself at Bolton. Giving the ball away cheaply a few times with some poor forward balls and looking shaky in the challenges both on the ground and in the air. There was some good in there as he probably had the best positional sense of the back 3 today and he pushed us forward well. However, as an experienced defensive anchor in a back 3, he wasn’t good enough today for me. Perhaps he was a victim of circumstance with the new formation in it’s early days but that’s up for debate.
George Taft - 7.0
A soft moment in defence aside not being nearly strong enough against (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Donaldson to be useful in setting up Bradford’s 2nd goal, I though overall he was strong in his debut today. He’s clearly better at going forward than defending but considering how well his runs pushed the team forward and how well he held onto the ball, I’m fine with that so long as these standards don’t slip.
Liam Gordon - 5.5
Poor Liam didn’t really get the chance to do what he does best which is to use that electric pace and quick feet of his to blaze past his opposition. Only time I can recall he properly had a 1v1 with their right back, he got read very predictably. I will say I thought his crossing was better than Jones’ today but otherwise, it was a very tempered game for Gordon who also got well beaten with the clever pass for Bradford’s 1st goal. Hope we can see more next time.
Brandon Comley - 5.5
I wasn’t expecting the pass maestro of last season to be so sloppy in his first game for us. He held onto it well enough under pressure but some of his forward balls were easily intercepted and put us under some needless pressure. As a deep lying playmaker, I expected a lot better of him but his partner showed him up today and was rightfully substituted.
Tom White - 8.0
My undoubted MOTM. I was surprised to see him start ahead of Crawford but thank god he did. He was brilliant all over the midfield and I can hardly recall a moment where he gave the ball away. You can tell he’s used to Evatt’s style and it paid dividends today. He’s cemented himself the most as a starter for me at this early stage and I can’t wait to see more. If I had to nitpick, I hope he works on his set-piece delivery. Otherwise, an excellent debut.
Antoni Sarcevic - 6.5
Had quite a poor start to the game with some sloppy passes and some soft losses of possession but he grew into the game and drew quite a bit of confidence from his goal. Not quite the captains example I was hoping for from his debut but you can’t complain too much about his performance by the end of it. Like Evatt himself though, I have high expectations of him to carry himself and our team as captain, better and stronger throughout the entire game in future outings.
Nathan Delfouneso - 7.0
His lack of predatory instinct in and around the box was frustrating, especially towards the end when had he just hit it instead of trying to control the ball in a tight space, he might have bore fruit for his endeavors. “Fonz” as I will now call him forever, displayed a tirelessly work ethic up front befitting of a support striker and he was very good at keeping possession and linking up with the players around him. Points for his cutback sending their defender for a hotdog before Sarcevic’s goal too (It’s was a bit fortunate with the rebounded pass but I’ll ignore that).
Eoin Doyle - 5.0
Totally anonymous and really struggled to keep hold of the ball when he had it. His entire bread and butter may be scoring but when he’s not doing that he has to be at least be able to apply pressure by holding onto possession well and making smart runs to help the rest of the team support him in his mission to get in the box. He instead, found himself all over the front line and even back too far as a striker when we were on the backfoot, leaving his forward position constantly to support when he didn’t need to or to fix his errors. I’m sure chances will open for him down the line and he won’t have to feel the need to run all over in future games but today, he was poor and was starved for chances.
Ali Crawford - 5.5
I don’t know what he was thinking with his first free-kick but his set-pieces weren’t up to the standard we’ve come to expect from Ali. Didn’t get much chance to show a creative spark outside of that as the team succumbed to route on football and tired later into the game. Should probably be starting instead of being used as an impact sub to get the best out of him.
Shaun Miller - N/A
Didn’t really get the opportunity to show anything as to why we oddly signed him (or likely more accurately, announced his signing) 90 minutes before kick-off. Maybe he’ll get more than a 10 minute cameo at Crewe to disprove any initial possibly unfounded doubts I’m starting to form about him thanks to the odd circumstances of his arrival.