Football / FA Cup: Stubbs' masterpiece floors Villa: Inspired Bolton march on in style while Wimbledon are struck out by a superior force

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Bolton Wanderers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Aston Villa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

ALAN STUBBS, the most accomplished player on view, struck with just eight minutes remaining at Burnden Park yesterday to take Bolton into the quarter- finals for the first time since 1959, when they held the trophy, and leave Aston Villa nursing a numbingly familiar feeling.

Four days earlier, Villa had lost 3-1 on Merseyside to another First Division club, Tranmere, in the first leg of their Coca-Cola Cup semi-final. In the FA Cup there is no second chance for losers, and the fact that Stubbs is a Liverpudlian merely compounded the view that fate was at work.

Like Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal before them, Villa seemed to be edging Bolton towards a replay on Premiership turf when Stubbs drove a fierce free-kick beyond Mark Bosnich.

The goal set up a Lancashire derby with Oldham, while preserving Bolton's extraordinary unbeaten record in Sunday matches dating back 20 years and 18 games.

Victory was no less than they deserved. Villa missed two good chances early in the second half, but a defence lacking Shaun Teale and Steve Staunton was often hard- pressed to contain the lively home forwards. David Lee gave Staunton's stand-in Stephen Froggatt a particularly torrid time, and it was one of numerous fouls on the winger that led to the decisive set- piece.

Stubbs, a centre-back whose composure and distribution have prompted comparisions with Bobby Moore and Glenn Hoddle, had already lived up to some of the less extravagant claims made on his behalf. His sweeping, long passes out of defence initiated several of Bolton's more fluid moves during a staccato first half.

Bolton came closest, however, in the 36th minute, when Owen Coyle fed the advancing Jimmy Phillips in the visitors' area. Villa seemed strangely reluctant to attack the ball, but wasted no time in hacking it clear after Phillips's shot had rattled the underside of the bar.

After half-time Ron Atkinson replaced his ineffectual namesake, Dalian, with Dwight Yorke, and for a time Bolton lived on their nerves. In the 53rd minute, Dean Saunders was inches wide from Tony Daley's cross, while Yorke saw the white of Aidan's Davison's eyes before pressure from Phillips forced him to fire wide.

The hosts responded with a 25-yard free-kick by Tony Kelly which Bosnich, attempting to tip the ball over, palmed goalward. Andy Townsend cleared off the line, but when Daley conceded another free- kick from slightly longer range with Villa's umpteenth foul on Lee, Stubbs made sure there was no such reprieve.

Bosnich got a hand to his low drive but could not keep it out, leaving Ron Atkinson to complain that his Australian keeper should have made the save. His opposite number, Bruce Rioch, seemed strangely blase about it all, but had an interesting explanation for why Stubbs was in place to deliver the crucial blow.

'Tony Kelly had taken the earlier free-kick which nearly ended up in the net,' the Bolton manager said. 'But when his next one was a bit tired and hit the Normid supermarket, Stubbsy said: 'You've had your go - this one's mine.' '

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

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Bosnich; Cox, McGrath, Barrett, Froggatt; Houghton, Richardson, Townsend, Daley (Ehiogu, 84); Saunders, Atkinson (Yorke, h-t). Substitute not used: Spink (gk).

Referee: B Hill (Kettering).

----------------------------------------------------------------- SIXTH-ROUND DRAW ----------------------------------------------------------------- West Ham v Luton Town Man Utd v Bristol City or Charlton Chelsea v Wolves or Ipswich Bolton v Oldham Athletic (Ties to be played 12-14 March) -----------------------------------------------------------------

More football, pages 34, 35

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