Thomas on Wanderers gritty performance against Sydney

“Yeah top mate, top”, is how Lawrence Thomas described how he was feeling in the aftermath of yet another away success in the Sydney Derby.

He probably wasn’t having that feeling midway through the second half of the game, when his slip whilst playing the ball out from the back gave Jaiden Kucharski a golden chance to put the opponents in the lead.

However, Thomas was able to get to his feet in an instant and made himself big to deny the young attacker at point blank range, preserving a fourth clean sheet of the season and sparing his blushes.

“I almost gave the other team an assist”, Thomas recalled with a smile post match, “but luckily I made up for it.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 25: Doni Grdic and Lawrence Thomas of the Wanderers celebrate victory during the A-League Men round five match between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium, on November 25, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Thomas admitted it wasn’t the most fluid performance from the Wanderers in a highly charged derby environment, but he gave credit to the thousands of Wanderers fans who made the trek east in helping the team claim the crucial win.

“It was a really gritty performance, (we) probably didn’t play the way we wanted to on the ball, but the crowd got us home, our effort got us home.”

The result means the Wanderers once again sit on top of the A-League Men’s ladder after five rounds, with three wins and two draws.

The side has also only conceded two goals, with much of that down to the continued strong performances of Thomas in goals; the one-time Socceroo kept the most clean sheets in the league last season, was named the goalkeeper of the year, and has largely continued that form to begin this season.

Despite the continued defensive success for the Wanderers after having the best defensive record last season, Thomas says there is still improvement the side can make to reach the top of their game.

“There’s a lot of areas to improve, this type of game they’re (the opposition) are at home, they pressed really well to be honest and we struggled to play out.

“There’s a lot of areas we need to be better in, but learning lessons after a win is a lot easier.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 25: Lawrence Thomas of the Wanderers looks on while leaving the pitch prior to the A-League Men round five match between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium, on November 25, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Whilst the team is sweating on further news on a potential injury to Socceroo Brandon Borrello, they will hope to welcome more reinforcements back from injury, including attacker Lachlan Brook and midfield maestro Milos Ninkovic.

They face a challenging away game against an improved Brisbane Roar team on Friday night, but if Thomas can continue his strong form in goal, the Wanderers have every chance of securing another important victory on the road in their quest for a successful A-League season.