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Ratings: Salford City 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

That was just enormous. Enormous!

Salford City v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League Two
Dapo Afolayan was electric at the Peninsular Stadium
Photo by Paul Greenwood - CameraSport via Getty Images

No intro, you all watched the game, it was superb.

Here are the ratings:

Matt Gilks 7

If he had given away the penalty for the clumsy tangle with Ian Henderson, I’d have been furious with him for not just letting the ball sail out of play. As it is, we got a random goal-kick so all is forgiven. It makes such a difference having him in goal because the defence isn’t constantly looking over their shoulders, worrying about what he might do next. When he comes for crosses, especially in a team that remains suspect from set-plays, it fills you with joy as a fan. It’s just what a competent keeper does. If he had been between the sticks all season, I can guarantee you we would already be promoted. Good lad, Gillo!

Gethin Jones 8.5

Cymru am byth! My Welsh brother was imperious at full-back, both defensively and going forward. He’s got much more pace than I thought and used it alongside some very impressive strength to deal with tricky customers in Gotts and Hunter. On the ball he was calm and composed and whatever fitness routine he does to keep himself in such good shape should be the first thing on the list for prospective marathon runners. He’s been Mr Consistent all season and is proving, in my book, that he is good enough for League One if we get there.

Ricardo Santos 7.5

Brick wall. Wins everything in the air. Lost Henderson in the first half which could have cost us, but like with Gilks, it didn’t so who cares? Also, it has to be said that bar the likes of Lee and Afolayan he is far and away the player in whose dribbling ability I have the most confidence. Riiiiiiiiiiiico!

Alex Baptiste 8

I’m hearing calls for him to be our ‘Player of the Season’ and, honestly, it wouldn’t be undeserved. He, alongside Santos, stank the place out early in the season, but since the Tranmere game when he was reintroduced, he hasn’t played poorly. He’s not even touched average. He’s played much higher than this level and it shows in his control, calmness and aerial prowess. Also, the shoulder barge on the irritant that is Brandon Thomas-Asante had me out of my seat as if celebrating a goal. Superb, Baps!

Declan John 8

Cymru am byth, again! Honestly, the lad needs to go to the Euros. Best left-back in the league and coasts through games as if it’s just too easy for him. Brilliant on the ball, quick and skilful, we desperately need to sign him up at the end of the season.

MJ Williams 8.5

Back to form and almost single-handedly won the midfield battle by himself. Reads the game so well and made numerous important tackles in dangerous areas. Was never a yellow card in the first half and to show such calm temperament to still do his job whilst walking on a tightrope shows great maturity and game-management. Could well be our signing of the season.

George Thomason 8

Shaky on the ball at times in the first half but his second half showing was probably the best he has played for us, and he was very, very good on Saturday. I hope he’s managed to have a lie down because he must have run double the distance of anyone else on the pitch. Few players of his age can pass as well as he does, and the shoulder-barge on Richie Towell was another that had me out of my seat. The boy is going to have a long and successful career, provided he learns how to run….I’m kidding, George, viva El Centurion!

Kieran Lee 7

Not his best showing, by any stretch, but few in this league have his dancing feet that get him out of even the tightest of corners. I have a gripe about him getting in Doyle’s way for the open-goal chance in the first half, but again, we won, so who cares? One of the best players in this league and a cracking signing. I’m very pleased he is tied down to be here next season.

Lloyd Isgrove 8

Was it cross? Yes. Do we care? Not on your life! I haven’t always liked Isgrove as I have thought him to be patchy and flit in and out of games. However, in recent months his consistency has matched up to his unquestionable work-ethic and I would consider him to be undroppable. His link with Jones on the right is telepathic and he is playing with confidence. It’s great to see him doing well.

Dapo Afolayan 8.5

Absolutely electric. He hasn’t been on his game in recent matches, but this was him back to his best, without question. Both Tom Clarke and Di’Shon Bernard will be having nightmares about him cutting in on that right foot after bursting past them at speed. His control is superb and his passing matched it tonight. I was livid with the referee for denying him the chance to score his first goal for a foul that never was. I hope and pray to every deity there is that he scores for us, he deserves it. Also, Dapo, sign da ting!

Eoin Doyle 6

Not his night, but he has won us so many points that it seems harsh to criticise. Could have had a hattrick in the first half (in the first 15 minutes, truth be told), and spooned another presentable opportunity over the bar before being withdrawn. I still back him to make the 20 mark before the season’s end. He will come again.


Nathan Delfouneso 7

Did absolutely no attacking at all but gets his mark for some superb defensive work. He may not have had the best time of it of late, but nobody can question his commitment to the cause after his blocks and headers made a huge impact in us seeing out the victory. His showing highlights the team spirit we have right now.

Shaun Miller 6.5

Worked hard to close down the defence to help ease the pressure on the backline. Also did some fantastic time-wasting in the corner which earns an extra 0.5.

Zach Elbouzedi 6

We finally saw him at full-pace and he burned a very nippy customer in Ash Hunter to demonstrate it. It was good to see, but sadly for him he doesn’t get close to being a starter for me. He’s contributing well, though, in his cameos and credit for that. I was very, very harsh on him after Tranmere, but, as with any Bolton player I slag off, I welcome the opportunity to be proved wrong. If Zach doesn’t believe me, he should ask the manager…