Bolton Wanderers 3 Sheffield Wednesday 2
THEY say it takes heart to get out of trouble, but lungs can play their part too, as Bolton's vocal support showed in the victory against Sheffield Wednesday which kept alive the Lancashire club's hopes of Premiership survival.
"The crowd were right behind the team and that was great," the full-back Jimmy Phillips, now in the fifth season of his second spell with Bolton, said. "It's like a togetherness that we used to have down at Burnden Park when we were going for promotion."
The 32-year-old Phillips, who was treated to a Reebok rendition of "Walking in a Phillips Wonderland" after an outstanding display, believes that Bolton are better equipped to stave off relegation than they were in 1996. "We can probably field two full-strength teams that would give most teams in the Premiership a game," he said. "Whereas perhaps then we had 14 or 15 lads and the rest weren't up to it."
Colin Todd praised his players for a "tremendous" effort, adding: "That result puts pressure on other teams which is what it's all about."
It was Alan Thompson's 69th-minute penalty that gave Bolton their first win since 1 December, but they had to come from behind to do it. Mark Fish deflected Earl Barrett's cross into the path of Andy Booth for Wednesday's opener and it needed a curling shot from midfielder Per Frandsen to pull Bolton level.
Nathan Blake headed home a corner to put Bolton's noses in front, but Peter Atherton equalised with a delicate lob. A draw would have been little use to Bolton and revenge for a 5-0 defeat at Hillsborough in November came via Thompson after Jon Newsome had handled.
"I've said all along it'll go right to the last week of the season," Ron Atkinson, the Wednesday manager, said. "We haven't got any fear but we're well aware that we're not past the post yet."
Goals: Booth (26) 0-1; Frandsen 31 (1-1); Blake 53 (2-1); Atherton 59 (2-2); Thompson pen (69) 3-2.
Bolton Wanderers: Branagan; Cox, Fish, Thompson, Phillips, Bergsson, Sheridan, Todd, Frandsen, Blake, Holdsworth. Substitutes not used: Ward (gk), Johansen, Fairclough, Gunnlaugsson, Aljofree.
Sheffield Wednesday: Pressman; Atherton, Pembridge (Rudi, 74), Newsome (Sedloski, 72), Walker, Carbone, Booth, Di Canio, Stefanovic, Hinchcliffe, Barrett. Substitutes not used: Clarke (gk), Whittingham, Magilton.
Referee: G Poll (Tring).
Booked: Bolton: Blake, Holdsworth. Sheffield Wednesday: Stefanovic.
Man of the match: Phillips.