Football / FA Cup Fourth-Round Replays: Cup holders blown away by Bolton's firepower: Arsenal's enterprise goes unrewarded

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Arsenal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Bolton Wanderers. . . . . . . . . . . . .3

(aet; score at 90 minutes 1-1)

MUCH more of this and the Premiership will be prosecuted under the Trades Descriptions Act. Arsenal, the FA Cup holders, went the way of so many other famous names last night when extra-time goals from Jason McAteer and Andy Walker took Bolton's buccaneers into the last 16.

The First Division side have seen off Liverpool and Everton, as well as Arsenal, in Cup combat these last 12 months, and will view Aston Villa's visit on 20 February with equanimity. They were deserved winners of a replay which made further nonsense of Premier League supremacy, and would have had a fourth goal in the last minute but for an eyebrow-raising cancellation.

Tony Kelly curled a lovely free- kick past David Seaman, only to have it disallowed because the referee had spotted encroachment by Martin Keown, who was sent off for a second bookable offence. Fortunately, it mattered little by that stage. The Lancastrians hardly paused in their songs of celebration, Arsenal's followers merely carried on booing Kevin Campbell, who had incurred their displeasure by squandering three clear goalscoring opportunities.

How the mighty are fallen. Out of the FA and Coca-Cola Cups they won last year, and going nowhere in the League, Arsenal need to beat Torino in the Cup-Winners' Cup next month to keep their season alive.

George Graham had picked one of his more adventurous teams, recalling Alan Smith to lead a line featuring three strikers. A bold strategy, it failed for the want of a decent finish. Campbell, the worst culprit, should have rewarded Arsenal's assertive start with a fifth-minute goal. Not for the first time, the belligerent bulldog's composure deserted him in the penalty area, and he shot tamely at Aidan Davison.

The Bolton goalkeeper was still exhaling in relief when he was called into more demanding action, tipping over the far-post header with which Steve Bould met Paul Merson's free-kick from the left.

Bolton were on the back foot, but when they finally broke, after 19 minutes, the results were electrifying. David Lee let fly with a crisp 25-yarder, Seaman could only turn the ball round his left-hand post and the corner, taken by Mark Patterson, brought the opening goal.

Kelly helped the ball on at the near post and Ray Parlour's headed clearance got no further than Phil Brown, who returned it into the six- yard box for John McGinlay to score at nodding range.

Unlucky to be behind, Arsenal drew level after 36 minutes. Lee Dixon's throw from the right was dislodged from Davison's grasp by Ian Wright's challenge, and when the ball ran loose Smith was on hand to drive it home.

If Bolton were dismayed you would not have guessed it. Back they came, passing progressively to reinforce the excellent impression they made in drawing the original game 2-2. When Arsenal were able to break through they came up against a rock in Alan Stubbs, a classy centre-half who subdued Wright with an efficiency beyond most Premiership defenders.

For all that, Campbell and Merson should have spared Arsenal their extra-time ordeal, and were left shame-faced at their inaccuracy when, with the replay 99 minutes old, Bolton donned the familiar mantle of giant-killers.

Nigel Winterburn will lay awake at night reliving the awful pass which let in Owen Coyle. The full- back thought he had got away with it when Seaman turned Coyle's shot against his left-hand post, but the ball rebounded invitingly for McAteer, who drilled it home at pulverising pace.

Dixon promptly caught the Winterburn malaise, slipping in midfield to let in Walker for a coolly taken third goal, five minutes from the end.

Arsenal (4-3-3): Seaman; Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn; Merson, Parlour, Hillier (Keown, 32); Wright (McGoldrick, 70), Smith, Campbell. Substitute not used: Miller (gk).

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Davison; Brown, Seagraves, Stubbs, Phillips; Lee, McAteer, Kelly, Patterson (Walker, 72); Coyle, McGinlay. Substitutes not used: Burke, Hoult (gk).

Referee: G Ashby (Worcester).

More reports, page 47

(Photograph omitted)