Bolton Wanderers 0 - West Bromwich Albion 2

Date: Monday 21st January 2019 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Bolton:
4.2
WBA:
6.2
Johnstone 7.0, Holgate 7.2, Dawson 7.2, Hegazi 7.4, Gibbs 6.2, Harper 6.7 (Adarabioyo, 93 5.0), Barry 6.4, Brunt 5.6 (Field, 26 6.4), Robson-Kanu 4.5 (Sako, 85 5.2), Rodriguez 6.6, Gayle 6.7
Unused subs: Bond, Bartley, Leko, Hoolahan
Manager: Darren Moore 6.2
Scorers: Rodriguez (19), Field (75)
Referee: David Webb 5.4
Attendance: 14,750   Home Fans 4.2   Away Fans 6.7
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 22

Brendan Clegg:

Brief summary: we were miles off our best but got over the line in the type of game that by winning you get promotion.

I think we’ve played better and drawn or lost this season.

I think we owe the points to an almost ready-made EPL quality back four and probably SJ’s best performance for us in terms of contributing to the points.

Elsewhere I thought the 4-3-3 gave us real problems with our lack of options and Bolton’s severe lack of quality helped us.

All that matters is the result but we need Phillips back and we need someone to replace Barnes.

  • SJ - 7 Big saves when it mattered. Would score higher but some kicking decisions were diabolical. General tactics from coaches are not a free pass for idiocy.
  • Holgate - 7 Think he could possibly play anywhere and be our best player but got sucked into silliness and was a bit too cocky.
  • Daws - 8 Solid, good on the ball.
  • Hegazi - 8 As above. These 2 together in a back four are too good for this level.
  • Gibbs - 6 The worry is it’s so easy for him he coasts. Great moments but the odd mistake where he really got sloppy.
  • Barry - 6 Did enough but not outstanding.
  • Brunt - 6 As above. Was our most aggressive player.
  • Harper - 6 Found it tough but glimpses of real quality. Held his own - got to remember his age.
  • Gayle - 6 Worked hard but I think he’s top end championship I’m afraid. Offers little beyond pace and goals.
  • Jrod - 6 Also worked hard and good moments but too many times he gave it away cheaply.
  • HRK - 4 Really bad. He can be effective but you sort of know when it’s not going to be his sort of game and this one was obvious from 10 mins in.
  • Field - 6 He’s a problem for us. It’s all there in terms of reading the game and quality but he’s not strong or quick. Hopefully the goal will do him good but needs 20-30 more starts, probably on loan. Daren’t sell his ability but potential is at risk.

Other subs not on long enough but Edwards looks like he might be a better option.

Mark Koppel:

Broke Bolton v WBA

The game was about as poor as the protest. How many seconds did it take to clear all those 12 tennis balls?

We certainly seemed to miss the pace of Barnes and Phillips but had the fortune to come up against a very average Bolton side.

With injuries now building up, and little prospect of new signings, its looks like Darren Moore will have to try and get us promoted on the cheap.

Player ratings:

  • SJ 7 - As Brendan says, just about his best game for us. Would have got a higher mark had he not kicked the ball out for a thrown-in 4 times.
  • Holgate - 7 Big improvement on Tosin and much more positive going forward.
  • Daws - 7 By and large he defended well apart from a couple of rash fouls from behind that could have got him booked. Brilliant header for the first goal.
  • Hegazi - 7.5 Superb defending. Just don't ask him to be Beckenbaur.
  • Gibbs - 5 Not up to his normal standard, especially his passing.
  • Barry - 6 Solid and made up for the lack of experience elsewhere in midfield after Brunt went off.
  • Brunt - 6 Great free kick but the injury is a worry on top of Phillips and Morrison.
  • Harper - 6 Remember he is only 18 and this only his second League start. Very good potential. Just needs to get stronger so he doesn't drift out of games, which you cannot do as a central midfielder.
  • Gayle - 8 Didn't get much of the ball but everything he did was a level above anyone else on the pitch. Superb dummy for the crucial second goal.
  • Jrod - 6.5 Got his goal and like Gayle wasn't in the game much. But his form/goals will be crucial if we are to get promoted.
  • HRK - 4 OMG. as per Brendan Clegg's comments.
  • Field - 5 Before his goal I really thought he was struggling. Unlike Harper, doesn't look comfortable on the ball. Hopefully the goal (and minutes on the pitch) will give him more confidence.

Didcot Baggie:

Not our most inspiring performance but the kind of win you need if to stay in promotion contention.

We seriously missed Barnes and Phillips. Holgate looked decent class and I thought Harper and Field did well given their inexperience. Gayle is premiership quality even though it might be just a few touches (or dummies) in the game. His free-kick was impressive.

We are so nearly good enough, but I suspect unless we invest in midfield and a better option than HRK, we will be in the play-off lottery.

MF:

Watched the game on Sky. Great to see the Albion on the TV so much and even better to see them win! But in all honesty it was not a great performance they really did seem to be playing at half speed. Then again you could say it is a sign of a good team that can play poorly and still win. I know Bolton sat deep and tried to play on the break (and nearly caught us out a few times) but our passing and movement was very sub standard: too slow, too many touches and too one paced. Barnes and Phillips were sorely missed.

On the brighter side of things; in Johnstone we seem to have a top class keeper, our Everton loanee right-back seems a better fit than the Man city loanee (who maybe a better Centre Back!) Our defence seems to be getting tighter. Harper looks the real deal. Yes he made mistakes and got caught out a couple of times but his potential was plain to see and it was great to see Fields score a very well crafted goal. It came from one of the few times we actually zipped the ball around and it was a lovely bit of off the ball running that created the chance.

Overall a win is a win is a win and 3 pts on a wet night in Bolton is nothing to be sneezed at. A run of big games coming up which will go along way in deciding our season so very much a case of onward and upwards.

PS Great travelling support last night. It must be a real boost for the team

PPS Still a bit concerned about Darren's use of subs / lack of use!