For Millwall, their best FA Cup run in recent years remains the one eight years ago, when they managed to reach the final without playing top flight opposition. Their defeat in Cardiff to Manchester United was routine. Some things do not change and facing a Premier League side yesterday was a step too far once again.
That was obvious as early as the fourth minute when Ryo Miyaichi scored the opening goal. Ryo who? The Japanese winger, 19, is an Arsenal player who has yet to play for the Gunners. He was signed by them in January last year and sent on loan to Feyenoord. Owen Coyle took him on loan last month and this was his full debut for Wanderers. He made an instant impression.
From a quickly taken free-kick, Samuel Ricketts chipped the ball forward and Miyaichi easily beat Alan Dunne for pace. The next question was whether he would keep his calm and he answered that query with a beautiful curling shot past Steve Mildenhall.
He would have won a few new fans for that effort but Coyle signed up long ago to his appreciation society. The Bolton manager said: "He's an exciting talent. I watched him at Feyenoord and spoke to Arsenal. He was terrific against Wigan last week and there was no doubt he would start. He's brave, tough, stood up to treatment."
It was the sort of start that Kenny Jackett, the Millwall manager, dreaded. Both teams sit in the same position in their division – Bolton are 19th and Millwall are 19th in the Championship – but Jackett would have fancied his chances. Bolton lost last week at home to Wigan and were without a win in three games.
Millwall, too, have some talented players – Harry Kane in central midfield stood out – but their best first-half chance came from a Liam Feeney cross that Gretar Steinsson sliced over his own crossbar. "We've had a good run and didn't disgrace ourselves," Jackett said.
Bolton's second felt inevitable and arrived after 59 minutes, when Tuncay Sanli found David Ngog. The former Liverpool striker turned and from 20 yards beat Mildenhall with a powerful left-foot shot that guaranteed their place in the quarter-finals.
After that, the atmosphere turned 1970s, and not in a good way. Two bottles appeared to be thrown on to the pitch from a Millwall stand and a flare went off among Bolton's 1,000-odd supporters. Wanderers would simply like to erase the memory of last year's 5-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Stoke. This win could given them a chance to do just that.
Millwall (4-1-4-1): Mildenhall; Dunne, Robinson, Lowry, Barron; Smith (Wright, 57); Feeney (Bouazza, 73), Trotter, Kane (Henry, 80), Keogh; Henderson.
Bolton (4-4-1-1): Bogdan; Steinsson, Wheater, Ream, Ricketts; Tuncay, Reo-Coker, Muamba, Miyaichi (Eagles, 78); Davies (Pratley, 86); Ngog.
Referee Kevin Friend.
Man of the match Reo-Coker (Bolton).
Match rating 6/10.