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Ratings: Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

Time to go

Tranmere Rovers v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League Two
Rico Santos is the only player to come away from Prenton Park having played well.
Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Sod an intro, let’s just get into this.

Matt Gilks 4

A good save to deny Peter Clarke from range doesn’t mask the fact he congratulated that utterly reprehensible piece of vermin, James Vaughan, on scoring. We need better in goal, but he isn’t high on my list of concerns right now.

Gethin Jones 4

Another player who isn’t our main problem but does little to make me think he’s worth a starting spot. Average defensively and average going forward. He works his balls off which is commendable, but he just isn’t anywhere near as effective as Peter Kioso. It’s of paramount importance that he returns.

Ricardo Santos 9

Utterly superb. Imperious, dominant and surprisingly technical, if someone can get the best out of him week in week out, he’s far too good for both Bolton and League 2. We may have lost 2-1 to Tramp-mere (who by the way will be lucky to finish in the top-half this season, they’re garbage), but my word was he outstanding. The long passing may be excessive and sometime misplaced, but he’s the only one with genuine quality. Too strong for attackers and is carrying this defence single-handedly. He gets a 9 and deserves more than us.

Ryan Delaney 2

Awful day at the office. He was one of the first names on the team-sheet in November and since then he’s fallen off a cliff. The first goal made me so angry I nearly smashed my television screen. Ignoring the penalty and the sending off, I’ve certainly got something to say about that disgrace of a referee later on, he just isn’t the same player as he used to be and needs taking out of the team. It really does beg the question, why on earth did we loan George Taft? He’s been imperious for Scunthorpe since joining and never got a sniff in the team to prove his worth to us. It looks like a shocking call.

Ben Jackson 3

Really poor. Caught up-field for the first goal and continuously lost the ball in bad areas. I thought he was poor against Cheltenham and was shouted down; nobody can argue with me about this performance. The sooner John is in the team the better, but it does beg the question: is Jamie Mascoll really so bad he can’t start over another club’s player? Honestly baffling.

Andy Tutte 5

Still very consistent and without him we would lose games by 4 or 5 such is his brilliance in reading the game. Nevertheless, he slowed the game down today rather than kept it moving and it made us very easy to defend against given he was almost constantly involved. Willing to let him off though as he has most certainly been our most consistent performer this season.

Antoni Sarcevic 4.5

Scored a goal which was pleasing but flitted in and out of the game as he always does. He tries a lot but not much comes off. I honestly don’t know if I’m expecting too much of a player who perennially plays at this level. I just feel like he should be doing more. I’m desperate for him to do well and am always the first to praise him when he does good things. What I wanted, though, was a midfielder who took charge of games. He hasn’t done that this season.

Ali Crawford 2

Here we go. I’ll go as far as to say that when I saw his name on the team sheet, I considered not watching the game. He showed against Walsall how spineless he is and when you couple that with constantly chucking the ball out of play with ludicrous long passes that even Pirlo wouldn’t attempt, it’s rage-inducing. The mistimed headers as if he were playing Under-Fives football, the under-hit backpasses and the general uselessness is driving me insane. I hope I never see him play for Bolton again.

Lloyd Isgrove 3

A bad day at the office for Izzy too, which is such a shame as he was brilliant against Cheltenham. Nothing he did came off and the shambolic attempt to take-on Manny Monthe was embarrassing. He will come again I’m sure.

Zach Elbouzedi 2

Why have we signed this lad? “Electric pace”. No. “Skillful”. No. “Goal Threat”. No. If Lincoln haven’t already taken their loan fee to the bank whilst laughing like a pack of hyenas, we need to get shut of him. Rubbish. Almost as bad as Ethan Hamilton (but nobody is as bad as that).

Eoin Doyle 5

Feeding off scraps yet again but still managed to put in a good shift whilst grabbing an assist. However, I still want to see more from him as there’s more to give. I think it would be unfair to criticise Doyler for not getting service from his inept teammates, it certainly isn’t his fault they are useless at playing to his strengths, but he does choose to come deep and be out of position. If he stayed put, I think it would help.


Arthur Gnahoua 6.5

Should have scored, definitely, yet still changed the game and was a real threat. Evatt, start him.

Nathan Delfouneso 5

Decent. I wouldn’t be against seeing him start on Tuesday. A front three of him, Doyle and Arthur would be interesting.

Alex Baptiste 5

Unlucky not to score and won his battles when called upon. Wouldn’t be against him on Tuesday either.


Neil Hair 0

This was Barry Knight levels of disgrace. All match the decision-making was unbelievable, but to award Tranmere the penalty that he did, especially after initially giving a corner, was just incomprehensible. It just wasn’t a foul. Not in a million years. I couldn’t believe what I had seen.

Then we have the Monthe foul on Sarcevic. If a brilliant and respected referee like Mark Halsey calls it a straight red, it most certainly is at least a yellow. To not even blow the whistle is, again, incomprehensible.

Neil Hair has form. I won’t bore you with the details here, look them up yourself. This man cannot be allowed to continue in football. It may be Evatt deflecting from the performance to report him but on this occasion, it is 100% necessary. He has to be stopped.


Ian Evatt 1

You can put my name down on the petition, and my god I hope this comes to bite me in the arse, but I* (*views of Tom and not everyone at LOV) am now officially EVATT OUT.

The arguments for him are thus:

- Not his players

- Hasn’t had time

- Players’ fault, not his

Firstly, they are his players. He may not be the person who signed them, but he has had since last August in which to work with them. Over that time he has indeed been lumbered with some players who just are not good enough, but you can filter those out over time and play the ones who are good enough. We have more than enough who are good enough: Gilks, Santos, Brockbank, John, Sarcevic, Tutte, Lee, Taft, Isgrove, Darcy, Thomason, Jones, Doyle, Delfouneso and Gnahoua. It’s pathetic that he cannot, after all that time, get them playing in a system that is effective. All this nonsense about a “Barca-style of play” is madness. Just do the basics right, play the dirty side of the game in a smart way and for the love of god play to the strengths of your best, sodding player in Doyle.

Secondly, he has had time. He has the safest job in football for god’s sake. In any other job he’d have been sacked months ago. We have given him time, much more time than it took for him to get going with Barrow. It has gone on for so long and I wouldn’t mind if I felt we were slowly making progress, but we aren’t. If anything, we have gotten worse. Anyone worth their salt would have worked out what the key issues are and fixed them. He hasn’t.

Finally, the players have to share the blame, of course they do. They don’t start playing until they go behind. It has been that way all season long. Is that their fault? Partly. However, it’s the manager’s responsibility to motivate his team and they can only be motivated, it seems, by fear of a score deficit. Given that that is the case, surely the way to motivate them is to impress upon them just how unbelievably embarrassing it is to be where they are as Bolton Wanderers FC. Maybe tell them that they are at the pinnacle of their careers and if they don’t get that then start people like Darcy and Brockbank who grew up with this club and who do get it.

I see all of these issues and I truly believe I know how to resolve them. Under Phil Parkinson, I didn’t get that feeling. I honestly felt he had the most impossible job that I had no idea how to do well. This is different. Evatt has the tools and is neglecting to use them properly. For that reason, I think he has to go.