The Premier League Season was over for another year with Bolton finishing in a respectable 13th position. The UEFA Champions League Final was set to kick-off in Rome but for twenty seven loyal Bolton fans a much bigger match was about to take place at The Reebok Stadium – the 2009 Football Aid Charity match.
Wednesday 27th May 2009
Bolton Wanderers Home vs Bolton Wanderers Away
The Reebok Stadium
Legends: Dave Lee and Mike Whitlow
Match Officials: Mark Mellor, Thomas Mellor
As the players took to the pitch, their friends and family in the stands were doing their best to encourage their loved ones; assisted by Wanderers very own ‘Lofty the Lion’. The early action was very much confined to the middle third of the pitch, with no clear chances being created until the fourth minute when Away left winger Leighton Wright, lifted a delicate ball over the last defender for Andrew Haworth. Haworth ran towards the goal then shot from just outside the area, Howard Fox coming off his line to block his attempt.
A minute later and Howard Fox was again called into action, with Jim Rae hitting a fantastic dipping, swerving left footed shot from 30 yards. The ball was heading into the top left of the net however Fox brilliantly tipped it over the bar at the last second for a subsequent corner. The Away side were definitely looking stronger during the early exchanges, but it was the home side that created the next chance – Phil Norris delivering a cracking ball right across the face of goal that somehow missed the target.
On twenty two minutes the home team once again had their keeper to thank; with the Away side taking a corner that was volleyed at the back post by Ben King, forcing Howard Fox to make a great block at his near post. Moments later and the Away side had their deserved opening goal – a mix up in defence gifting Martyn Naylor with an opportunity that he duly converted, hitting a low shot past the onrushing keeper to make it one-nil to his side.
As half time approached the Away side managed to create themselves an opportunity to double their lead when Martyn Naylor skinned his marker and ran through on goal, Naylor hit a powerful rising shot which was yet again denied by the impressive Howard Fox.
Half Time: Bolton Wanderers Home 0 – 1 Bolton Wanderers Away
The second half began much as the first had finished, with the Away team piling on the pressure. With only four minutes played, Jordan Davies broke down the right flank and cut the ball back across the box for Martyn Naylor to hit a first-time shot that dipped and landed on the bar before falling to safety. Maurice Lawson applied further pressure to the Home Team, with his shot from almost 30 yards in the tenth minute looping up off a defender and hitting the bar and crossbar before bouncing out.
Those two lucky escapes for the home team seemed to spur them on and they began to play their way into the match, keeping possession and playing the game in their opponents half. It therefore came as a surprise when the Away side extended their lead with former left back Mike Whitlow hitting a crisp low shot into the bottom right of goal from the edge of the area for their second goal.
Four minutes later and the match was effectively over as Nathan Whitlow collected a pass inside the area before losing his marker with a nice bit of skill, placing a low shot past the despairing Howard Fox in goal to increase their lead to three. There was almost an immediate response from the Home team when Jason Guy broke down the left wing and played the ball into the area for John Jessop, only for the midfielder to hit a fierce shot that was going in the bottom left corner of the net before Martin Cooper pulled out a great right handed save.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock, another move down the left from the Away side resulted in their fourth goal of the game – Andy Morrell moving into the box from the left and shooting hard and low, resulting in Howard Fox pulling out yet another great block. But the ball soon fell to Nathan Whitlow who gratefully knocked in the rebound.
With the result secure, the only question remaining was whether the Home side could grab themselves a consolation. Unfortunately, however hard they tried, they couldn’t seem to find that killer instinct in front of goal; even the impressive Dave Lee missing a chance he would usually convert, missing from inside the area.
As the final whistle drew closer still, it was the home side that created the final chance in the match; Jason Guy was played through with only the keeper to beat but somehow hit his shot wide of the left post.
Full Time: Bolton Wanderers Home 0 – 4 Bolton Wanderers Away
Home Team: Fox, Molyneux, Whitlow, Dodes, Tanner, Mitchell, Norris, Mort, Jordan, Watkinson (c), Guy, Jessop, Whitlow, Atherton, Nichols
Away Team: Cooper, Lee, Rae, Buglass, Davies, Wright, Haworth, Morrell, Harvey (c), Mather, Lawson
Mascots: Brittany Guy and Olivia Wright
Man of the Match (Home): Howard Fox
Man of the Match (Away): Jim Rae
Moment of the Match: Maurice Lawson