A more balanced report this week, with four players hitting the 80% approval rating.
Lowton 7/10 – Decent game. Defended well and got forward when he could. Put in two or three dangerous, whipped crosses in the second half. Showed good touch, awareness and sensible play for the most part.
Hill 5/10 – Very poor again though he did win a few tackles and got better after the break. However, he is definitely the weak link in the side at the moment. He is slow to react to danger, does not get tight enough to his man and his touch is often errant. Williams and/or Taylor are both surely preferable?
Maguire 6/10 – His poorest game for a while. He was clumsy at times and lost his man on a few occasions. He was not as decisive and sharp as he has been and often went too long with the ball. He got better in the second half but a scrappy clearance under no pressure summed up his game.
Collins 7/10 – Like Maguire, he was not quite as commanding and comfortable as he has been. To say they had very little of the ball, they created three or four chances. On a couple of occasions he was a little slow to react. He won most of the aerial stuff and got in a few tackles in the second half but he looked a little shaky.
Doyle 8/10 – Another excellent performance. Won tackles, broke up play, kept it simple and enabled us to retain possession. He kept it nice and simple with the ball and very rarely gave it away. His goal was a beauty. He has now scored three this season and is definitely an improvement on Monty, as he can use the ball far better as well as breaking up play. He has been very good in recent weeks.
McDonald 8/10 – He looked a class apart at times, with some lovely passes and switches of play. He showed a nice touch and good strength.
Williamson 8/10 – Scored again, showed some neat touches and was always involved. Many of our better attacks came down the right side, with Williamson, Evans, McDonald and Lowton linking well. He has a lovely touch and always looks in control. He’s not a classic winger, as he is not that fast, but he is sharp and always looks to go forward and make things happen. He also has not given the ball away as much as he did last season and has been more decisive and shown more urgency in his passing.
Quinn 7/10 – Another up and down performance, which seems to be the case most weeks. He gave the ball away more than many of the other midfielders and a few aimless, first-time balls when under no pressure were really frustrating. He put in a few excellent crosses in the first half and showed some good energy in the second half. He worked hard but needs to take care of the ball more.
Evans 8/10 – Not everything came off for him, but he worked hard again and linked well with others. He had a few chances and won a few corners with his running off the ball and strength against the centre-backs. Perhaps should have scored with a deflected shot, and had a few others that have been going in the net in recent games, but when the goal came he took it really coolly. Stupid to get booked for taking his shirt off, but maybe with the week he has had, it was just the release of a lot of emotion. He has another tough week to come off the field but if he keeps on finding the net it is not inconceivable that he could finish the season with 40 goals to his name.
Cresswell 5/10 – Was not really in the game much but he worked hard and chased defenders down before he injured himself. Why he went for such a low ball with his head was curious, and how he managed to injure his shoulder was also odd. He tried to play on but looked in pain, which may mean he will struggle to be fit for next week.
Porter 7/10 – He did quite well. No, he did not have many chances, but his overall play was sound. He won a lot of headers, held it up and was more of a nuisance than Cresswell has been in recent weeks. He is very good in the air and wins more than he loses. He lacks pace and mobility and never looks much of a goal threat but then neither does Cresswell. It’s easy to see why Wilson keeps picking Cressy, as we are winning, he works hard and tires defenders out, giving chances for others, but Porter helps us to keep the ball further up the pitch. Beattie and Hoskins should be on the bench instead of one of the two below, as we may need those extra options late in games.
Flynn – Brought on for Quinn as we tried to protect the left side in the same way as last week. He worked up and down the flank and won a few free-kicks. A neat and tidy player who never lets anyone down, even if he lacks pace, guile and trickery to get past opponents.
O’Halloran – Replaced Evans right at the end as the game was about won, and maybe only touched the ball once. Hoskins looks a better option to stretch defences at the end of games, but it’s unclear whether Hoskins is still ill or just not being picked? Ditto Beattie, come to think of it!