Curcic crucial in Bolton win

 

SASA CURCIC may have taken all the plaudits, but manager Colin Todd claimed the real architect of Bolt on's English FA Cup third round win over Bradford was a man steeped in the competition's tradition.

Yugoslav international Curcic effectively scaled the 3-0 Valley Parade victory with two mighty swings of his right boot after John McGinlay had put the Premiership strugglers in front just before the break.

And Todd rightly hailed the talented Serb's display, claiming he was "as good as Juninho", while Bradford boss Chris Kamara labelled him a "Serbian George Best".

But Todd insisted the prime factor in his side's comfortable triumph was Ian Porterfield, brought in as his number two at Burnden Park following Roy McFarland's dismissal earlier this week.

Porterfield, of course, netted one of the competition's most famous goals when he gave Sunderland a 1-0 Wembley win over Leeds in the 1973 final.

"Sometimes in life and sometimes in football you don't have any control over what happens so I had to act quickly on Tuesday afternoon and spoke to Ian," explained Todd, a former teammate of Porterfield's at Roker Park.

"I told him it was essential he came in on Thursday. He worked with the players and that was the right thing to do, to get him in as quickly as possible.

"We've not changed anything in terms of the way we play but we have tried to make sure that once we have given the ball away, we regain it or get people behind the ball as quickly as possible."

Whatever Porterfield's influence, however, it would be hard to argue that Curcic, a £1.5 million signing from Partizan Belgrade in October, was not the telling factor on the field.

His first goal was a brilliant illustration of close control, as he instantly killed Jimmy Phillips' long ball before jinking past Eddie Youds and Wayne Jacobs wrong footing goalkeeper Gavin Ward, and placing his shot in the opposite corner.

If his opening strike showed sublime skill, his second was all about precision, with a powerful low drive through a crowded goalmouth to beat Ward comfortably.