Sydney FC goalkeeper Clint Bolton has admitted that the players switched off at a critical moment in Sunday's 2-2 draw with the Melbourne Victory. The Sky Blues lost the chance to go straight through to the A-League Grand Final when Victory striker Archie Thompson hit the target from a quickly-taken Kevin Muscat free-kick in the 114th minute to give the visitors a 4-3 lead on aggregate following the 2-1 result in Melbourne a week-and-a-half earlier.
Bolton, who kept his team in the contest with some brilliant saves, is adamant his side was the better of the two teams on the day but it was a lack of concentration that cost them the match.
"For 90 minutes we probably outperformed them, we were ahead 2-1 at the end," Bolton said.
"But there are times when you have to concentrate and we switched off at the crucial moment, now we're kicking ourselves. It was one of the last instructions as we went out on the park: watch Musky's quick free kicks, he's a smart player and will always be looking for it.
"So it's doubly disappointing, we talked about it and it's not something that should happen at this level.
"It was smart thinking from Muscat and a great finish, but you defend it properly and it doesn't happen."
Sydney will now prepare to take on Wellington Phoenix in Saturday's Preliminary Final at Sydney Football Stadium for the chance to take on the Victory in the final play-off on March 20 at Etihad Stadium and Bolton was grateful to have a second crack at it.
"We do have a second chance," Bolton added.
"But Wellington will be a difficult opponent, they are in good form so that won't be an easy game.
"We'll focus on that first and if it comes to us playing Melbourne down there [in the grand final], then we'll think about that."