Sunday, November 01, 2009


Faulty Tower

There have been plenty of success stories at Sydney FC this season. The wonderful mobility of the Brosque-Bridge partnership, Stuart Musialik's return to form, the impressive fitness levels...not to mention the much-improved relations with the media, with Vitezslav Lavicka's courteous and dignified manner putting all four of his predecessors to shame.

But another pleasing story is the redemption of Clint Bolton, who has gone a long way towards shedding the "Faulty Bolty" moniker which he attracted last season. Against Wellington this evening, Bolton was superb, but then he has looked a player reborn all season.

With his excellent performances for Sydney Olympic in mind, many pundits singled out Bolton as the best goalkeeping acquisition at the A-League's inception, and so it proved in season one. Under Pierre Littbarski, whom he admired, Bolton was a tower of strength, playing a major (and often under-valued) role in Sydney's championship campaign.

In the subsequent three seasons, it was a slow journey downhill. Bolton (like many of Sydney's other senior players) detested Terry Butcher, and reportedly failed to build a rapport with the Englishman's successors either. The nadir in Bolton's Sydney FC career came last season, when he deservedly lost his place to Ivan Necevski.

Plenty of fans thought that Necevski would be Lavicka's first choice as well, but Bolton has belied his previous form with his efforts this season. It is surely significant that he has gone on the record expressing admiration for Lavicka and his methods; he seems to have found a manager for whom he is willing to produce his best.

This afternoon, Wellington's main method of attack was the lofted ball from out wide, but Bolton's alertness never wavered, and very few of the deep crosses found a Wellington head. Not that the delivery was particularly good (Sydney sensibly double-teamed the dangerous Paul Ifill throughout), but there was a confidence and certainty about Bolton which Sydney fans have seen so rarely of late.

The penalty save from Daniel was the simply sort of thing that happens when you're on your game. And even his save from Costa Barbarouses near the end was highly impressive, a quick dash off the line and a well-timed spreading of the body.

Otherwise, it was another professional, incisive performance from Sydney, whose first eleven is looking tighter and more creative with every game. Wellington, too, played their part in what was a very entertaining afternoon's football - by stark contrast to the utterly dismal fare on display in Canberra last night.

Interesting point re: Bolton. It's a bit of a shame that he took his eye off the ball under Butcher, Culina and Kosmina simply because he didn't respect them (I think you're right on that one). Not the most professional, but it happens in all walks of life and especially in any teacher/mentor and student relationship.
I put it down to the Mystical Teachings Of Sensei John Filan. We see Filan do some jaw dropping stuff at training and it seems to be having an effect. Other than maybe missing a yard of pace, Filan would walk into any team in the country right now.
You're right about Bolton, it's easy to forget how much of a players performance is mental rather than physical. For a keeper I think the mental part is even more important.

I noticed a distinct lack of comment on Aloisi, also that you praised the Brosque-Bridge partnership and the starting 11.
...I noticed a distinct lack of comment on Aloisi, also that you praised the Brosque-Bridge partnership and the starting 11....

Fancy that. ;-)
Was very suprised that Bolton got the jersey at seasons' start but probably has deserved to keep it.

You can also thank you very crafty players for 'assiting' with penalty saves against Newcastle & Wellington.
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