So, so close. Not managing to keep a clean sheet today seems mad. But for a crazy decision to award Shrewsbury a free kick after the linesman had seemingly halted the move for a blatant offside, we would have managed it.
Wanderers have been free scoring at times this season, most recently at Ipswich and Charlton, but our ability to keep the ball out of our own net has still caused issues and cost us points a few times already. The difference today was the immense performance of one Ricardo Almeida Santos.
Santos has for a while now been acknowledged amongst Bolton fans as a strong and dominant defender on his day, although I have sometimes worried about the odd mistake he can sometimes bring to the table.
He won everything today.
Air balls, direct runners, loose balls, goal-line clearance, blocking the rebound from a saved penalty; you name it, Santos was there. Most impressive to me personally was the constant success winning the ball going to ground at full stretch. Everything was judged to perfection. I along with most around me were basically in fits of laughter after a while, in disbelief at the level of dominance he showed over the oppositions’ front line.
A few weeks ago, Bolton Wanderers finally released part two of the ‘Born to be a Wanderer’ mini documentary via the club’s YouTube channel. Among many inspiring moments, perhaps one of the most heartfelt was a clip of Santos sharing details of his final pay packet at Barnet, and his doubts over bills, and the viability of his footballing career to support his family.
If he can keep his performances at the level he played at yesterday, something tells me he’ll never have to worry about such things again.
What a man.