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No Stopping Santos

Late scare can't de-rail defender in another show of strength

3 October 2021

Defensive strongman Ricardo Santos couldn’t be happier in his work – even if he didn’t enjoy the final few minutes of Wanderers’ win over Shrewsbury.

Santos produced another towering defensive display to underpin a 2-1 success for Ian Evatt’s men as they made it back-to-back wins with a second home victory of the season.

But Bolton’s back line was denied a clean sheet when Santos was penalised for handball in a bizarre 89th-minute incident which allowed Luke Leahy to curl in a fine free-kick which gave the Shrews late hope.

“It was very pleasing – although the last five minutes not so pleasing,” admitted Santos, who was preparing to take a free-kick of his own after thinking Shrews’ substitute Sam Cosgrove had been given off-side.

“But we got the job done and happy to get another three points.

“There was a lot of confusion. The lino flagged it so I picked up the ball but the referee said it came off our player so it wasn’t off-side.

Shrewsbury goal.jpg

“It was unlucky. I don’t think they would have scored if it wasn’t for that.

“We knew once they got that goal they would come at us but we stayed strong as a team and got the win.”

Wanderers - who comfortably saw out five minutes of added time - had enough in hand to secure all three points thanks to Joel Dixon’s penalty save and two fantastic first-half strikes from Antoni Sarcevic and the red-hot Dapo Afolayan.

And Santos also played a key role with a crucial goalline clearance just before the break as Wanderers dug deep to cap a fantastic few days following their mid-week win at Charlton.

“We knew they would come here and make it tough for us. Direct teams, even when you’re 2-0 up, they can always put pressure you on,” added the central defender, who was partnered again by the returning George Johnston.

“But it’s good we got another three points to back up Tuesday.

“We know how nice the stadium and teams are going to come here and raise their standard so we need to start winning more games and make this a fortress for us.

“We just need to keep the momentum going and keeping putting the points on the table.”

Sarcevic celebration.jpg

Wanderers remained seventh in the table, just a point outside the play-offs, with Santos playing a key part in their success.

And the former Peterborough powerhouse is feeling back to his best at League One level following a tough start to the campaign.

“I’m enjoying myself. I just love this place and I just want to keep winning and performing," he said.

“At the start of the season coming from Covid I was still affected by it but I’m starting to feel myself again and enjoying my defending."


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