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banner Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 22:02 GMT 23:02 UK
Bolton 4-3 Walsall (aet)
Premiership leaders Bolton stumbled into the third round of the Worthington Cup at the expense of Division One new-boys Walsall on a night of high drama at the Reebok Stadium.

Boss Sam Allardyce chose to rest several first-choice players and it almost backfired as the Trotters were given a real fright by Ray Graydon's battlers.

There was no indication of what was to come after a dire opening hour in which the home side barely got out of first gear.

But the introduction of former Saddlers star Michael Ricketts for the Trotters ignited the game.

Darren Wrack deservedly put Ray Graydon's side ahead in the 65th minute only for Ricketts, booed throughout by the visiting fans, to level controversially three minutes later after Dean Holdsworth had appeared to foul keeper Lee Harper.

With Harper forced to leave the field with a gash to his knee, Holdsworth then added insult to injury by curling home superbly from the edge of the area 11 minutes from time.

But the visitors came back and stunned the Reebok with two goals in as many minutes.

Second-half substitute Darren Byfield headed home from eight yards seven minutes from time before Tony Barras put the Saddlers ahead with a sweetly-struck volley from six yards.

High drama

Yet just when it seemed the Division One strugglers had claimed a famous win, Japanese debutant Akinori Nishizawa slotted home deep in stoppage time after a mazy run inside the box to take the match into extra time.

The crowd had barely drawn breath before it was Bolton's turn to go ahead again.

Substitute keeper James Walker could only parry Henrik Pedersen's crisp left-foot volley six minutes into extra time then watched in horror as the ball inched over the line.

There was still more drama to come though as two minutes later, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Colin Hendry had upended the pacy Byfield as he bore down on goal.

Hendry, making his first appearance of the season after injury, was shown the red card, but Barras saw his low right-footed penalty saved superbly by keeper Steve Banks.

Walsall threw everything at the Trotters as Allardyce's side were content to clear the ball anywhere to kill off time.

And despite all their efforts Bolton held on to book their place in the third round.

Bolton: Banks, Holden, Richardson, Hendry, Marshall, Nishizawa, Smith, Norris, Farrelly, Southall, Holdsworth. Subs: Jaaskelainen, Pedersen, Nolan, Ricketts, Wheatcroft.

Walsall: Harper, Brightwell, Aranalde, Barras, Roper, Erivelto, Gadsby, Simpson, Matias, Wrack, Leitao. Subs: Walker, Bennett, Scott, Hall, Byfield.

Referee: S Mathieson (Stockport).

Links to more Worthington Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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