Sunday, November 01, 2009
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.
I noticed a distinct lack of comment on Aloisi, also that you praised the Brosque-Bridge partnership and the starting 11.
Fancy that. ;-)
You can also thank you very crafty players for 'assiting' with penalty saves against Newcastle & Wellington.