Chief football writer Marc Iles has been there through the whole journey – and here selects his top 20 matches and explains why they have stuck in his memory
20 – West Brom 1 Bolton 2 August 4, 2018
A bit like the QPR game earlier in this list, the result at the Hawthorns and the celebrations after the final whistle had absolutely no bearing on how bad the season would become.
Oddly, we had high hopes that the Bolton team had been improved after the last-day escape in 2017/18.
Cash-signing Josh Magennis opened the scoring and, even after Harvey Barnes had pegged Wanderers back, they continued to play pretty well against a side which people thought would stroll to promotion.
Yanic Wildschut popped up with a winner in the last minute. Unfortunately for him, and Magennis, it was definitely as good as it got.
19 – Bolton 1 Blackburn 0 March 5, 2013
Derby wins are always great – but especially when they are sealed in the last minute.
And wouldn’t you just know former Burnley man Chris Eagles would score the goal?
He wasn’t universally popular at Bolton, yet in that season he was as close to a natural goal-scorer as Bolton had.
His celebration, running the length of the field Adebayor-style to pump his fists in front of the away end. Top trolling.
18 – Bolton 2 Millwall 1 March 9, 2019
Some of you may have read that I was banned from the stadium by Wanderers’ previous owner, Ken Anderson.
Well, the whole mess lasted about eight or nine weeks before it ran its course. Without notice or explanation he withdrew the decision and I returned for the home game against Millwall to much amusement from my fellow journos.
Particular thanks to Alan Nixon for playing “Nelson Mandela” by The Specials at full blast. I’ll get him back, one day.
17 – Eastleigh 1 Bolton 1
January 9, 2016
This was a dreadful game, the embarrassment of an FA Cup exit saved only in the last few minutes by a scruffy Darren Pratley goal.
What makes it one of my favourites is that kick-off was in doubt until an hour or so before the game, such was the state of the pitch.
I can still see Brazilian winger, Wellington Silva, perched at the end of the tunnel with bright white boots on, the expression on his face saying ‘nah, I don’t fancy this.’
It was a proper old-fashioned cup tie and another in which the press pack travelled down the night before, making a late night pilgrimage to Benny Hill Close – named after the cheeky comedian – after a particularly boozy Chinese meal. Happy days.
16 – Wolves 2 Bolton 3
November 13, 2010
Sometimes someone does something on a football pitch which is beyond description, and you just feel compelled to applaud.
That was the case when Johan Elmander scored against Wolves in 2010.
I have seen plenty of long-range screamers, perfectly-placed free-kicks, bullet-headers and the like but the Swedish striker’s mazy dribble and nonchalant flick past the keeper was hypnotic.
Besides which, there’s nothing like going and beating the Wolves at Molineux.
15 – Gillingham 0 Bolton 4 March 4, 2017
A midweek game in Gillingham is not a particularly appetising prospect – but those who made the trip to Kent will be glad they did. This was Fil Morais’s finest hour.
‘The Postman’ created four goals in what was a powerful Bolton performance, maybe even the most dominant of Phil Parkinson’s reign.
To make things even better the press pack met up for a post-match beer afterwards. Always make the trip worthwhile.
14 – Bolton 5 Stoke 0
November 6, 2011
Wembley had been an ordeal. And while this result didn’t make up for that pain, it was at least cathartic.
After the semi-final Owen Coyle’s side had lost 13 of 16 league games. There was even talk of a curse.
I’ll remember this one for Joe Riley’s impressive debut and the look of sheer pride as he walked off to a standing ovation in the second half.
Kevin Davies opened the scoring before Chris Eagles and Ivan Klasnic grabbed two apiece.
13 – QPR 0 Bolton 4
August 13, 2011
We had no idea, did we? The 2011/12 season will not be remembered for anything other than misfortune and misery for Bolton but after this result on the opening day, it seemed like the world was Owen Coyle’s oyster.
Gary Cahill, Fab Muamba and Ivan Klasnic added to a Danny Gabbidon own goal in what was QPR’s first Premier League game in some 15 years.
Neil Warnock was so late to the post-match press conference many people thought he had been sacked on the spot by the club’s wealthy backers but he lived to fight another day.
Little did we know QPR would play a part in Wanderers’ fate on the final day, too.
12 – Bolton 2 Scunthorpe 1 December 31, 2016
You can’t beat a bit of late drama, especially on the radio. And while my contribution was nowhere near as memorable as the infamous words of the BBC’s Jack Dearden a couple of years later in the Forest win, I’m pretty pleased that I got to call James Henry’s winner as the last goal of 2016.
For some reason I found myself doing updates for the BBC and with all the other games finished they came to me for the last few minutes of stoppage time.
Ben Alnwick’s long kick was mis-controlled by Neal Bishop and Henry – who had a forgettable time at Bolton – seized on the ball, lashing it into the bottom corner from 20 yards
11 – Cardiff 0 Bolton 3
April 6, 2015
Who knew on this glorious Easter Monday that it would be the last time Wanderers won away from home for 495 days? Certainly not me and Jack Dearden and we ambled into Wales in shirt sleeves to see Eidur Gudjohnsen roll back the years.
The Icelander was obviously at the end of his career but his football brain was still sharper than anyone else in the division.
It is still a crying shame that Bolton left him in the lurch with a contract, meaning he never got a proper chance to say goodbye.
Welshman Craig Davies scored twice in the second half to complete a rare away day in this decade where the football didn’t spoil a nice day out.
Find out which games make the top 10 tomorrow!
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