What a turn around! Bolton Wanderers looked down and out against another, frankly, uninspiring looking side. Three goals in around ten minutes turn the game on its head leaving Bolton unbeaten in four.
What can we learn? Glad you asked.
Time for Another New Number One?
I have to start with this real low note of the evening. Mansfield’s first goal.
I have had my reservations about Matt Gilks for a good few weeks now. The veteran was brought into the side following Billy Crellin showcasing that he is not ready for first team football week in week out.
At that stage he brought much needed assuredness and stability to the position and made some decent saves in his, dubious, man of the match winning performance against Salford City.
As the weeks have moved on though he has started to look a little shaky. In my view him palming the ball into his own net like tonight has been coming. It is not only that, but his distribution has always been suspect with tonights showing being shambolic.
Lukas Jensen was drafted in from Burnley in January to offer competition and for me it is now time for him to be given an opportunity to stake his claim.
Gilks going down within 20 minutes should be a wake up call for Mr Evatt. Yes Gilks was only winded, but it shows that anything can happen in a match.
The commentators discussed whether it is Ian Evatt having to manage his loan spaces. That is all well and good but Matty Alexander can take the space if so.
They also referenced the concept of who do you leave off the bench? I have to say I do not care about the answer to that. Maybe someone like Brandon Comley who appears to be no where near making it onto the pitch.
One day we will get caught out, end up with Ricardo Santos in goal and losing 5-0 (no offence Ricardo if you are actually a bit of a keeper).
Are we Playing to Doyle’s Strengths?
Bolton scored three goals so maybe it does not matter if we played to our strikers strengths today. Eoin Doyle has 11 goals this season so is clearly getting decent service.
But, this is the second midweek game in a row where I do not remember Doyle having much of a sight of goal. Before the final flurry of chances which dragged Bolton back into the game, there were limited clear cut chances with Doyle having one opening where he was caught offside.
I do not know what the answer is, but Bolton need to get the ball to Doyle in those areas where he can get shots away to keep him scoring.
I do not for a second want to write off Marcus Maddison after two games and ten minutes, but at the moment it is just not working for him.
I can see two possible reasons. Firstly, Maddison is just not on the same wave length as others at the moment. In this game he tried a cross field ball to Declan John who checked his run at the last moment. Unlucky.
A second possible reason is that Maddison is trying too hard to make something magic happen whenever he is on the ball. He is perhaps guilty of ignoring the easy option in preference for the spectacular. That possible explanation is slightly concerning. We have enough talent across our front line that we do not need to force matters going forward too much.
To throw in a positive I was impressed with Maddison from a defensive perspective and his attitude after play around him did not quite come off was a pleasure to see. I very much hope that once he is settled in we will start to see Maddison at his destructive best.
The Gnahoua Effect
Arthur Gnahoua as an impact sub is quite something. As a more direct player he appears to thrive playing against tiring legs and lessening reaction times.
I am sure he will be knocking on Evatt’s door asking to start on the weekend following his latest contribution off the bench but he seems to thrive coming on at the end of the game. But, with the plethora of options we now have in those areas of the pitch I think he should be maintained mainly as an impact player.