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Beating Blackburn Memories: Stuart Holden

Since we're strolling down memory lane, I may as well talk about my favourite goal ever.

Picture the scene.

It's a brisk December day, the day after my Birthday. Bolton Wanderers are facing, despite what either set of fans may claim to the contrary, fierce rivals Blackburn Rovers. Sam Allardyce is returning to the Reebok Stadium, along with El Hadji Diouf. I'm sat with one of my best friends, a Burnley fan, who no doubt enjoyed what was to come just as much as me.

The game was a rather drab affair for a while, both teams were battling hard but seemingly cancelling each other out. Well, until that all changed early in the second half. Mark Davies was sent off.

I remember being confused and enraged at the time, he didn't appear to have done anything wrong. But according to match reports from that faithful day he actually elbowed Phil Jones in his fat head. A wonder that the now Manchester United centre back felt it, considering his face appears to be made of melting rubber, but he fell to the ground like a man who isn't about as wide as a bus, and Mark Davies was given his marching orders.

Big Sam over on the sidelines, sat in the wrong dugout, was undoubtably rubbing his hands together and salivating as if his wife had just brought over his Sunday dinner - slavered in gravy, of course - and was looking to pull another fast one over his old team.

However, the red card was just the impetus the Whites needed, it spurred them on, they started playing better, even controlling the game and certainly looking the most likely to break the deadlock. It came, through the most unlikely of sources.

Sam Ricketts swung a freekick from the halfway line into the box, the defender who was challenging for the ball with Kevin Davies won the header, but it didn't go far. The ball was picked up towards the right of the penalty area by a man who seldom goes in the penalty area.

He dummied, cut inside, and hit a left footed shot that beat the goalkeeper at the near post.

Fabrice Muamba reeled away in celebration for only his second ever goal for Wanderers, in typical Muamba fashion he fell over and was soon swamped by his team mates. Which led to a certain iconic photo, as Paul Robinson came from out of no where and flung himself over the huddle on the floor.

The ten men had taken the lead.

They battled hard, the ten men stood resilient for most of the game, refusing to crumble under the Blackburn onslaught. But it didn't last. With three minutes to go, Mame Biram Diouf found space inside the box and slotted past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The home crowd were deflated. The home team were not.

The following events took place with in eighteen seconds.

Straight from the restart the ball was played back to Sam Rickets, the right back held onto the ball momentarily as he waited Super Kevin Davies to get in position. Then Ricketts launched a ball forward aiming for the skipper. Davies easily beat Ryan Nelson to the ball, playing a brilliant flick on. The ball bounced once, then it was latched onto by a certain someone. He controlled the ball with his chest. With his next touch he expertly volleyed the ball into the goal, sending the Reebok Stadium into a state of utter senseless delirium.

Stuart Holden reeled away in celebration for only his second ever goal for Wanderers, Just like Muamba before him, he landed on the ground, although he was dragged there by Matthew Taylor, and then they were both swamped by their teammates as the Wanderers fans went absolutely wild with utter disbelief.

Sam Allardyce still hadn't wiped the grimace off of his face when the ball flew into the net, but immediately after it did he sat down with rage, his face now resembling a bulldog that had chewed on a particularly agitated wasp.

The full time whistle blew and Bolton had somehow claimed victory against perilous odds, temporarily climbing to fifth place in the table in the process.

I know it's hard, but man, just picture that scene. And have a little cry.

That Stuart Holden goal is still not only my favourite Bolton Wanderers goal ever scored, it's my damn favourite goal ever scored, and for that reason I will always bloody love Stu Holden.