Bolton will face off against Bristol City tomorrow night in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The meeting with Bristol will be Bolton’s 20th appearance in the fourth round since 1991.
That got us thinking, how has Bolton’s record been in the fourth round of the FA Cup?
Well, in the 19 previous ties in this round, Bolton have won on 10 occasions and were knocked out nine times.
Sadly, with Bolton in their current state, it’s more likely to be their 10th knock-out rather than an 11th win.
Nevertheless, there have been some key games in the fourth round for Bolton that many fans remember fondly. Let’s take a look at some, shall we.
2011/12 – Swansea
Bolton’s last ever win in the fourth round of the FA Cup came at home against Swansea in 2012.
The team were struggling to stay afloat in the Premier League so a much-needed win was a big relief for many fans who had grown tired of watching the Wanderers lose each week. Sounds oddly familiar. What do you think of Bolton’s chances of achieving something similar against Bristol this weekend?
The cup run that followed the Swansea win ended in the Quarter-Finals at White Heart Lane. A tie that won’t be remembered fondly by one Fabrice Muamba.
2014/15 – Liverpool
Initially under Neil Lennon, Bolton went through a dramatic transformation. From a team that lacked confidence and struggled for results, to a side that won three home games in a row, while scoring three goals in each game.
Lennon’s first taste of FA Cup action as a manager saw Bolton progress 1-0 against Wigan. They were awarded an away tie against Premier League Liverpool.
Bolton showed a huge amount of fight and character at Anfield and were able to hold Liverpool to a 0-0 draw.
The replay was equally impressive from Bolton and it looked like an upset was on the cards when Eidur Gudjohnsen scored a penalty to put Wanderers 1-0 up after an hour. It took Liverpool until the 86th minute to find an equaliser through Raheem Sterling. But the heart-shattering blow came in the 91st minute when Philippe Countinho fired a rocket past Andy Lonergan to send Liverpool through.
2005/06 – Arsenal
In the mid-2000s, Sam Allardyce’s Bolton side relished the prospect of facing Arsenal.
The two sides were drawn against each other in the 2006 fourth round. Playing at home, Bolton always fancied their chances.
It proved to be a fortuitous game for Bolton as Arsenal spurned several good chances. That left the door open for a wonderful headed goal from Stelios Giannakopoulos to send Bolton through in the 86th minute.
From September 2004 through to January 2007, Bolton went undefeated against the Gunners, winning four games and drawing three. Their first defeat against Arsenal in almost three years also came in the FA Cup fourth round. It took Arsene Wenger’s side until extra-time to finally beat Bolton at the Reebok in 2007.
2010/11 – Wigan
The second step on Bolton’s journey to Wembley in 2011 was a troublesome local derby against Wigan. Bolton were drawn at home for the tie but were held to a 0-0 draw.
The replay proved equally drab with the only goal of the whole tie coming 66 minutes into the replay when Ivan Klasnic put the Trotters ahead.
Wanderers went on to beat Fulham and Birmingham that year to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2000.
However, their cup run was put to an end rather unceremoniously by Stoke that season.
1999/2000 – Grimsby
At the turn of the millennium, Bolton faced Grimsby Town in the fourth round. It proved to be a routine 2-0 for Trotters, who were a second-tier side at the time.
Bolton battled through the next two rounds with wins over Cambridge and Charlton to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.
As it happened, that season would be the last time the FA Cup final would be played at the old Wembley. It would have made a poetic story if Bolton had made it to the final of both the first and last matches held at the stadium.
However, their semi-final opponents, Aston Villa, threw a spanner in the works. As the match finished 0-0, it went down to penalties… which Bolton lost.
1993/94 – Arsenal
Finally, we come to another classic victory over Arsenal.
In 1993, in the third round, Bolton knocked out the holders of the FA Cup, Liverpool. It was a tie that went down in history as the ‘White Hot’ match.
A year later and Bolton were up to their giant-killing antics once again. The Trotters had initially held Arsenal to a 2-2 draw at Burnden Park, forcing a replay.
And it was in this replay where Bolton knocked out the cup holders once again with a thumping 3-1 win over the Gunners. That’s not all. Late on into the match Bolton had a perfectly good goal disallowed, so the 3-1 scoreline could have been even worse for Arsenal.
It’s clear to see that Bolton have had varied success in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Couple that with their disappointing form this season and a win against Bristol tomorrow does look unlikely.
But you never know for sure with the FA Cup.
Video Credit: FA TV (YouTube)