Match 40
22nd February 1992
Bolton W (a)

Bolton (Away)

Following the debacles against Wigan and Chester, the likelihood of a return to form at cup giant killers Bolton had seemed a remote prospect. However, a home victory over Swansea, coupled with the reappearance of several key players had instilled some confidence into our merry band as we made our way northwards.

Arriving at the ground as the City team coach pulled in, we were able to check the squad with the players themselves. Tom Kelly assured us that he would be
playing but Ian Thompstone's limp suggested that he might not be spearheading our attack. Despite a local police ruling that no away fans could drink in any of the nearby pubs, we were sufficiently discrete to get into one, joining the locals in watching the video of their FA cup draw with Southampton. Suitably refreshed following our long journey, we ambled across to Burnden Park itself. About 150 City fans were gathered in the covered corner of the away end, the main terracing behind the goal having been rendered unusable by the not inconsiderable obstacle of a supermarket being built there. Nine Exiles were present from the London contingent, and a similar number from our fledgling Northern section had travelled the slightly lesser distance to get there.

All efforts made in getting there were rewarded when, with only 4 minutes on the clock, Tom Kelly chested down a headed clearance on the corner of the box and half volleyed it into the top right hand corner of the goal. Mayhem ensued as thoughts of another 'Preston' swept around the City following. City were actually playing neat passing football and, boosted by the return of Brown and Whiston, defending securely.

The defence couldn't really be faulted when Bolton equalised after 24 minutes. A Bolton player clearly controlled the ball with his arm and it was played through to an obviously offside Andy Walker, who stabbed it home from 6 yards. Despite massed protests from the Grecians faithfull, referee Vic Callow was unmoved and the goal stood.

Vince Hilaire replaced John Hodge at half time and was soon dancing down the right wing, leaving the Bolton midfielders slicing at air. City really started to play attractive football, and frequently it was a just-offside Steve Moran who halted matters. Eventually, sterling work by Hilaire produced a neat cross into the box. Mark Robson knocked it down, leaving Wimbleton a simple finish. 2-1, and wild celebrations all round.

For once, City maintained their pressure, and could easily have increased the lead had Robson not elected to shoot, when a pass to Wimbleton would almost certainly have led to a goal. After approximately 8 minutes of injury time, the final whistle brought matters a close, and both players and supporters to celebrated their 3rd league away win. Kelly looked particularly delighted, and deservedly so. Even Bally was on the pitch, congratulating the players and finishing with a wave to the travelling support.

At the press conference afterwards, we learnt that Bally had been rejected by Bolton as a mere youngster, and was therefore especially pleased at this win. Pressed, however, as to whether or not this was the start of a late push for promotion, he conceded that this was unlikely. He was copious in his praise for the performance, particularly in the second half. And, after Chester, all of us!


Paul F



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