Yesterday’s game at Port Vale was a tough one to judge. A case could be made for several Bolton players as I would say each of them dug in and played their part after the first-half red card awarded to Ricardo Santos. Given these difficult circumstances, of course exacerbated by the hellish-like weather and size of the Vale Park pitch, I think Bolton can be pleased their efforts were rewarded with an away point.
After the chaos at the end of the first half and the break that followed, Bolton needed to rebalance their shape and after being cast-off into the stands, Ian Evatt introduced defender Will Aimson into the fray. In difficult conditions, Aimson added a bit of bite to the Wanderers defence. His ball winning abilities and prowess in the air became more important as Bolton’s defensive line naturally shifted backwards as the second half progressed. The former Plymouth centre-back played a big part in securing the point for Bolton and with suspension meaning Santos will miss Tuesday’s game with Morecambe, Aimson may get another chance to show why he is deserving of a starting position in the Wanderers back three.
For me, the man of the match had to be James Trafford with the Manchester City loanee showing once again why Bolton wanted to bring him back to BL6. Trafford made several eye-catching saves, the most eye-catching of all being a smart save down to his left from an Ellis Harrison effort. However, it was Trafford’s calmness which impressed the most. Whilst Bolton were under pressure for large periods of the second half, a dominating Trafford won all you would expect from him and it meant that whilst Vale were on top, you never sensed there was an inevitability they would score.