Every site that has anything to do with any form of football has done a Bolton – Stoke semifinal preview. Nearly every preview has mentioned that it’s been 11 years since the Whites last traveled to Wembley. They ended up being the losers on that trip.
The event: the FA Cup Semi Final. The date: April 2, 2000. The venue: Wembley. The opponent: Villa.
Bolton’s road to the semifinal saw them defeat Cardiff City, Grimsby Town, Cambridge United, and Charlton Athletic. Eidur Gudjohnsen scored in each of four games with his goals proving to be the match winners in three of the four fixtures.
Of the 30 players that were used in the 1999-2000 season, only two (Jaaskelainen and Gardner) have stuck around as current Bolton Wanderers. Our current Number 1, Jussi Jaaskelainen, played in the match against Villa. The Finn held Villa to a clean sheet after extra time. Villa had played below par and it was the Wanderers who would rue their missed chances. With 10 minutes left in extra time, Gudjohnsen got the ball to Dean Holdsworth just 8 yards outside of goal. With the keeper nowhere to be found and Holdsworth looking at the open net, the forward skied it.
It was in the penalties where Bolton went down. David James made a hero of himself on the day by saving two Wanderers penalties. The keeper stopped the efforts from Allan Johnston and Michael Johansen while Villa’s Dion Dublin smashed home the penalty that would ultimately decide it.
The Whites are looking to change it up and make this occasion one to remember. Come on you White Men!