Filed: Tuesday, 25th October 2005
By: Matthew Coker
After defeating Wednesday on a Tuesday, we face the Trotters on a Wednesday, a midweek trip to the Reebok stadium for the third round of the weak lager cup. We have arrived here by virtue of defeating Sheffield Wednesday in the second round, 4-2. Most people will remember Zamora’s second goal, a 30 yard lob converted with apparent ease but Dailly also converted a bullet header and Bellion a cool finish for a good attacking performance.
This will be Bolton’s first game in the competition, their participation in the UEFA Cup gained them exemption from the earlier rounds. They have enjoyed some degree of success in this competition, reaching two finals. However, they went down 2-1 to Liverpool in 1995 and by the same scoreline to Middlesbrough two seasons ago.
If you believe in omens, you may want to note that Bolton were evicted from the competition last season at the Third Round stage, at home to a London side. Unfortunately the side was the apparent Champions League contenders from North London who won 4-3, goals from Michael Brown, Goran Bumsomething and two from their poison dwarf. It looks as though Fat Sam took the game seriously though, most of his side were recognised first teamers.
The last two seasons have seen us knocked out of the cup in away games but without having to leave the comfort of the capital. Last season’s 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge was a decent performance for a Championship team, the goal scored by Mateja Kezman. Their fat substitute also had a penalty saved by Jimmy Walker. We had beaten Southend and Notts County in previous rounds.
In 2003/04, we brushed aside the Taffies at Ninian Park to earn a derby with the Tottscum. The line up that day included Konchesky and Zamora in white shirts and Defoe and Carrick playing for us. It was level at 90 minutes before the Z man popped up with their eventual winner in the first minute of injury time.
The biggest game between us and Bolton
The first ever Wembley FA Cup final took place in 1923 between the two teams. The game has been rechristened the White Horse final after Billie, a police horse, was used to clear the pitch before the game, such was the volume of supporters in the stadium. It was has been reported that as many 200,000 people crammed into Wembley that day but is a slightly lesser known fact that there were a number of gaps in the Bolton end as they failed to sell their allocation for a trip to the capital.
The game saw the Irons employ the conventional 3-2-5 formation, Bolton with the more conservative 4 up front. The Northerners started brightly and were 1-0 up inside two minutes, the goal coming from David Himenez Ramirez Joaquin Jack, the Bolton inside forward. The second was scored after 53 minutes, set up by Carlos Dominquez Vizard and converted by El Halik Malik Smith. The game was not all plain sailing though, West Ham had several chances in the first half. The Bolton manager, Charles “Fatty” Foweraker, watching from the Colonial stand was seen to sending frequent messages down to the bench via carrier pigeon.
The West Ham fans, sensing defeat ended the game with a rousing chorus of Bubbles, followed by a cheeky rendition of “You rotten, Northern, bounders”. The Irons trudged home to a civic reception in Canning Town, Bolton got ready for European competition starting with a 9 day boat trip for their first round match in Amsterdam. Happy memories, that is if you are in your nineties (and fair play to you if you are).
Back to the Carling Cup, West Ham’s biggest games in this competition game were in 1981 when we reached the League Cup final against Liverpool and took the game to a replay. The mickey mousers goal was somewhat controversial, a little fat midfielder called Sammy Lee was clearly offside (so much so that the linesman flagged him) when Alan Kennedy opened the scoring. The goal was allowed to stand.
West Ham went on to equalise and to force a replay where they lost 2-1. That was a credible performance against a real Liverpool team that could genuinely call themselves Champions of Europe. Little Fat Sammy now works alongside Big Fat Sam at the Reebok. They surely must have reinforced concrete keeping that bench in place.
Ok, how on earth do you predict how this is going to go? Both managers will be looking to rest a few first team players. Bolton are enjoying their European adventure but will admit that the Premiership is their bread and butter, hence this fixture will not be anywhere near top of their priorities. We need to make sure we stay up and have a 35 year curse to sort out at Anfield on Saturday so it will be equally unimportant for us. So in a game between two strengthened reserve teams, anything could happen, I’ve more chance of predicting the night’s lottery numbers. Therefore, if am going to be forced to say something, I will go for 4,11,17,23,24 and 25 with the bonus ball being 41.
Enjoy the game.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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