Bolton manager Ian Evatt will surely be delighted to have seen his side bounce back from two straight defeats with a 3-2 win against Port Vale in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.
Evatt’s side were 2-1 down at half-time against Port Vale, with Eoin Doyle’s opener cancelled out by strikes from Tom Conlon and David Amoo. However, Bolton came on strong in the second half and Nathan Delfouneso equalised in the 54th minute, before substitute Oladapo Afolayan scored the winner with 13 minutes left to play.
Despite picking up the group stage win, there was one player who may have ended the game being disappointed with how they played – Liam Gordon.
The 22-year-old defender endured a difficult night as he struggled down the left flank. Although neither of the conceded goals were solely his fault, both of Port Vale’s strikes in the first half came down his side, with Gordon tucked in too narrow to prevent the cross coming into the box and then standing still in the six-yard box to allow the player to fire a shot past Matt Gilks.
However, it was his general play, aside from the goals conceded, that will have left Evatt feeling let down by Gordon’s performance.
Per SofaScore, he lost 73% of his duels on the pitch as he won one of four ground duels and two of seven aerial battles. This suggests that he was not strong enough to hold off his opponents and come out on top in physical battles, allowing Port Vale to retain or win back possession of the ball.
He completed zero tackles and made one interception in the 90 minutes, whilst being dribbled past once and completing one clearance. This further emphasises his lack of quality in the defensive third and how he was unable to show Evatt that he is a competent defender who can be relied upon in League One matches.
This suggests that he lacked the ability on the ball to make an impact going forward, which is another example of how he let Evatt down with this poor display.