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The BBC's Alan Green
"A dramatic end to a tedious FA Cup semi final"
 real 28k

Sunday, 2 April, 2000, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Villa book Cup final place
Hero James is congratulated by manager Gregory and Dublin
Aston Villa 0-0 Bolton AET (Villa won 4-1 on penalties)

Villa 'keeper and hero of the hour, David James, saved two penalties against Bolton in a shoot-out to book his side a place in the FA Cup final.

Bolton's Allan Johnston and Michael Johansen were the guilty parties as the agile James guessed right with both their attempts.

Midfielder Steve Stone, substitute Lee Hendrie, and Gareth Barry all scored with their efforts, but it was left to striker Dion Dublin to fire home the killer penalty and in turn end Bolton's cup final dreams.

Bolton began the game with the typical gusto which was needed against Premiership side Villa.

Delightful ball

The First Division outfit should have taken the lead after seven minutes of play.

Former Sunderland winger Allan Johnston stormed down the left and crossed a delightful ball into the penalty box for striker Dean Holdsworth.

The Bolton forward rose above Villa's Ugo Ehiogu only to see his headed effort float agonisingly wide of David James' right-hand post.

Villa were dealt an early blow, when influential midfielder Ian Taylor limped off with what was later confirmed to be a hamstring injury - Steve Stone came on to replace him.

Robbie Elliott and Johnston were beginning to take advantage in the middle of the park, and the tenacious winger was again involved in another Bolton chance.

Cunning free kick

Sam Allardyce's men broke on the counter attack and Johnston laid the ball off to 21-year-old Bolton striker Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Delaney's tackles eventually got him a red card
The Icelandic striker swivelled away from Villa's markers on the edge of the box, but saw his resulting effort brilliantly tipped over by 'keeper James.

The Villa front two of Julian Joachim and Italian Benito Carbone were getting little change from the Bolton defence, with South Africa international Mark Fish given the unenviable task of marking the pacy Joachim.

The England under-21 forward had the easiest of opportunities to put Villa into the lead on the half hour, but his clever one-two with Carbone, came to nothing, as he struck his shot high and very wide.

Minutes later Villa's Paul Merson played a cunning free kick into the 18-yard box, but even Joachim's pace couldn't prevent Bolton 'keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen from claiming the ball.

And just five minutes before the interval Joachim was put clean through by Carbone, only for the Bolton 'keeper to save his side's blushes once again.

Creative ideas

Villa boss John Gregory knew that his side had to pull their sleeves up if they were to avoid embarrassment against the Allardyce's men.

Holdsworth, left, was guilty of missing sitters
Three minutes after half-time Villa's Dutchman George Boateng tried his luck with a 20 yard-curler, but his shot was well saved by Jaaskelainen.

The battle was happening in midfield but apart from Johnston, there was little natural width, making it a scrappy affair.

With 20 minutes left of normal time, Gregory made the brave decision of replacing Carbone with Dion Dublin, who recently returned from a serious neck injury.

Carbone showed his disgust at the manager's tactics by throwing down his head band and kicking a cup of water, near the Villa bench.

But his frustration was similar to the one showed by his side on the pitch and his departure seemed to leave Villa devoid of any creative ideas.

Extra time began with both teams seemingly going through the motions, despite being aware the tie will be settled on the day.

Dreaded penalties

The players from both sides looked weary, with the exception of the lively Johnston.

In the second period the winger broke down the right, but was pulled down by Villa defender Mark Delaney.

The Welshman had received a yellow card earlier, so referee David Elleray appeared to have no option but to show him a second yellow and send the player off.

The game came to life and from the resulting free kick Holdsworth was unlucky to strike the bar with his fierce shot.

A minute later it was Dublin's turn at the opposite end to strike the bar, as his headed effort beat both the Bolton 'keeper and the goal.

But as the seconds ticked away, the Wembley crowd knew the outcome would be decided by the dreaded penalties.

Stone put Villa ahead with the first kick and Holdsworth duly replied, but misses from Johnston and Johansen proved costly much to Villa's glee.


Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Bergsson, Fish, Ritchie, Whitlow, Johansen, Jensen, Elliott, Johnston, Gudjohnsen, Holdsworth. Subs: O'Kane, Banks, Passi, Warhurst, Hansen.

Aston Villa: James, Ehiogu, Southgate, Barry, Delaney, Taylor, Boateng, Wright, Merson, Joachim, Carbone. Subs: Stone, Samuel, Enckelman, Dublin, Hendrie.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill)

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Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.