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AFC Bournemouth: Spotlight on Bolton Wanderers
SUPPORTERS of Bolton Wanderers will have fond memories of Dean Court, even if the venue will be almost unrecognisable to them.
A dramatic 2-1 win on their last visit in April 1993 went a long way to helping the Trotters bring down the curtain on one of the most disappointing chapters in the club’s proud history.
Julian Darby’s stunning header put them on course for victory before Phil Brown, a Bolton legend and one-time Cherries managerial candidate, sealed the points with a volley three minutes from time.
Roared on by some vociferous travelling support, it was the second of five successive wins to complete the season as Bolton finished runners-up to Stoke in the third flight.
Promotion brought an end to 10 seasons in the bottom two divisions – with the lowest point being the club’s only year in the basement in 1987-88.
While Cherries did the double over Bolton on their way to winning the old Division Three title in 1987, the Trotters were relegated alongside Carlisle, Darlington and Newport County.
The clubs renewed rivalries in the third flight between 1990 and 1993 with Bolton winning three encounters and Cherries two, the points shared in a 1-1 draw at Burnden Park in September 1992.
Bolton spent just two seasons in the second flight before they were one of only two teams promoted to a streamlined Premier League in 1995, winning a play-off against runners-up Reading.
Victory against the Royals was Bruce Rioch’s final game in charge before he took over at Arsenal, his successor Roy McFarland sacked after just six months with Bolton languishing at the foot of the top flight.
Although Colin Todd failed to prevent the Trotters from falling through the trapdoor, he did manage to plot their return just 12 months later. Again though, their stay lasted just one season.
Bolton moved to the Reebok Stadium in 1997 before the appointment of Sam Allardyce in 1999 marked the return of the glory days which included two forays into Europe.
He masterminded the 2001 play-off final win over Preston, a victory which sparked the start of 11 successive seasons in the Premier League with Bolton finishing sixth in 2005.
Awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bolton in 2010, Allardyce left for Newcastle in May 2007 with Sammy Lee, Gary Megson and Owen Coyle all unable to match his achievements.
Bolton, who hold the record for the most years (72) spent in the top flight without winning the title, were relegated following a 2–2 at Stoke on the final day of the 2011-12 season.
Under current boss Dougie Freedman, they finished seventh last season and were pipped by Leicester for a play-off place on goal difference, having drawn their final two fixtures at Cardiff and at home to Blackpool.
Despite the summer signings of Jermaine Beckford from Leicester, Alex Baptiste from Blackpool and Marc Tierney from Norwich, Bolton have made a sluggish start to the campaign.
However, currently fourth from bottom, they arrive at Dean Court unbeaten in five, the run including their only league win of the season, at Birmingham on October 5.
Bolton have also drawn on their travels at Burnley (1-1) and at Blackpool (0-0), losing on the road against Nottingham Forest (0-3), Blackburn (1-4) and Brighton (1-3).
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