It was a hard fought point at Bolton, which extends Argyle’s lead over third place to seven points. The home side probably had the better of the game but had very little in the way of clear cut chances, mostly due to great defending from the greens. A big game awaits at Ipswich on Saturday, that could make or break our season.
Mike Cooper – GK, 8. Player of the Match.
It’s another performance from Cooper that demonstrates why he is the best keeper in the division. In a game Bolton edged, Cooper is probably the largest reason (and not for the first time) that Argyle got one point rather than none.
He made two saves of note. A fine one on one save from Dadi drew immediate applause but he saved his best until last. He got down to his right side brilliantly to tip away a shot from Bodvarsson that was destined to make the net ripple. His distribution was a little iffy in places but his overall performance was once again the best of the lot.
James Wilson, RCB – 7.
Defensively, it was more or less a flawless performance from Wilson. Despite Bolton’s possession and territory, they were restricted to only one clear cut chance from Dadi, with the rest being mostly efforts from long range.
Wilson is a large reason for that defensive aptitude. He kept his position brilliantly and was a man mountain in the air, strong at the back as he’s been all season.
However, his passing was quite wayward for much of the game, often releasing the ball in earlier than he needed to. Sometimes this helped Bolton retain possession. He also got himself needlessly booked for his part in a bit of a ding dong do that followed Joe Edwards’ first yellow.
Dan Scarr, CCB – 8.
We quite simply are just a much better side when Dan Scarr plays in it, there’s no two rays about that. He had all the good aspects of Wilson’s display, whilst demonstrating better decision making with the ball at his feet.
As good as a player as Scarr was last season, he’s seemed an even better one this time out. It’s no coincidence that our worst spell of the season came in his absence.
Nigel Lonwijk, LCB – 7.
Lonwijk has come in for a bit of criticism from supporters after some sub par performances, but this was a welcome return to form for the Dutchman, playing his part in a clean sheet and solid defensive display.
Whilst he was substituted, I felt that this was really a tactical decision to enable Gillesphey’s better out ball as we changed to a more attacking shape, rather than because he was having a bad game.
Joe Edwards, RWB – 6.
It’s often tough to rate a player who’s been sent off. How do you weight their general performance against the harm caused by losing a man?
In this case, the harm for the game itself was quite minimal, Edwards dismissal coming deep into stoppage time. He had no choice but to make the tactical foul, with Bolton threatening to overload our right hand side. However, he might have overcommitted slightly to allow such space in the first place.
His general performance was typically steady and reliable without setting the world on fire. He got up and down the line well, always providing an outlet. His passing and crossing was a bit mixed.
Jordan Houghton, CM – 7.
As I’ve mentioned already, this was a fine defensive display from Argyle. As well as the defenders, some credit has to be given to Argyle’s midfielders. Houghton screened the defence well, with some crunching tackles where necessary. He benefited from a bit more time on the ball after the shift to 3-5-2.
Adam Randell, CM – 7.
The form of Argyle’s central midfield pocket rocket has been a key plus point in recent weeks, an encouraging sign after his previous dip in form.
He was his usual terrier-like self off the ball, pressing the midfield opponents proactively, especially after the move to 3-5-2. He so nearly registered an assist with a wonderful lofted cross to Ben Waine that was headed off the line by Will Aimson.
Finally, he showed a bit of gamesmanship of the type that Argyle have been so often lacking, going down with a ‘head injury’ that stopped a worrying Bolton attack in the second half. I don’t usually approve of such behaviour but it made Ian Evatt blow a gasket, so all is well.
Bali Mumba, LWB – 7.
A slightly shaky first ten minutes aside, this was a pretty good display from Mumba who has been a little patchy at times in recent weeks. He threatened on the break and often forced Bolton back up the pitch, gaining us valuable territory.
That said, he is still lacking the killer end product that made him such a danger in the early days of the season. Hopefully he will find his best form again ahead of the big game on Saturday.
Danny Mayor, AM – 4.
Unfortunately whilst this was a good defensive performance, we created very little going forward and as attacking displays go, it was poor (certainly before going to 3-5-2). Mayor was anonymous and ineffectual for much of the game, rarely getting on the ball and not doing much with it when he did.
Callum Wright, AM – 5.
We can’t judge too much from one game. He probably had barely trained with the squad and he’s not played a lot of football lately. That being said, this was far from the Argyle debut that Wright would have hoped for.
He looked weak on the ball and easily forced off, as well as far too frequently running down blind alleys.
He was starting to get into the game a little better but was subbed off tactically, a victim of the move to 3-5-2.
Sam Cosgrove, ST – 4.
The Birmingham loanee is (in the league at least) far more suited to being a super sub than a regular starter and this game was no exception.
He was frustratingly poor as a centre forward, often misjudging long balls and being generally unable to craft chances for himself or others. I wouldn’t want him starting such a critical game as Ipswich.
Macauley Gillesphey, LCB – 7.
Gillesphey was probably brought on for his greater ability to pass the ball out of defence and this was exemplified by his good distribution after coming on. Equally, he didn’t make many errors defensively and has surely earned a start at Portman Road.
Ryan Hardie, ST – 6.
Hardie will have hoped to start the game after a run of matches where he has featured mostly off the bench, but once again he had to make do as a substitute.
It wasn’t his finest ever cameo despite some good moments. He probably should have followed onto Aimson’s headed clearance from Waine’s chance.
Jay Matete, CM – 8.
If the Sunderland loanee had put in this level of performance for the entire game, we’d be probably giving him an even higher rating.
Matete changed the game in Argyle’s favour as a substitute, with his excellent pressing and energy off the ball, regaining possession more than once. He was very handy with the ball at his feet too, gliding through tight areas with ease. It’s early, but he already looks like he belongs in our best side.
Ben Waine, ST – 7.
‘Duracell Bunny’ is an often used cliche in football but they are the two worse than came most easily to mind when describing the performance of Argyle’s New Zealander debutant yesterday.
He chased every loose ball he could get near to and showed brilliant poacher’s instincts to oh so nearly get the winning goal in the incident I have already described.
His passing was a little hit and miss but he did put one very good cross into a dangerous area.
Saxon Earley, LWB – 5.
He was bought as a very late substitute for Bali Mumba and it’s tough to rate him as he didn’t get anywhere near to the ball.`