The teams played out to two draws in the Premier League that season, but this was to be a memorable win for the Trotters, with a couple of outstanding strikes from a certain Jay-Jay Okocha.
Bolton only took two minutes to get the scoring underway after Kevin Nolan was tripped just outside of the box by Peter Whittingham, Okocha stepped up with a curling effort to put his side 1-0 up.
And just five minutes later, Bolton would have thought they had one foot in the final after Kevin Nolan out-muscled the then Villa captain Olof Melberg before firing past a helpless Thomas Sorenson in the Villains goal.
It was 3-0 before 20 minutes as skipper Kevin Davies rose highest to flick on for Stelios Giannakopoulos who smashed in a sublime overhead kick much to the delight of the Bolton fans, who must have thought they were well on their way to the Millennium Stadium.
But Villa’s Angel had other ideas, after being forced wide, a sublime piece of skill left skipper Davies in his wake and a cross come shot found its way into the Bolton goal.
A reenergised Villa looked a different side in the second half as they got their reward after Angel deflected in a Darius Vassell effort to cut The Trotters’ lead to one.
But with just over 15 minutes left in the game, Bolton restored their lead when Bruno N’Gotty leaped higher than the Villa defence with a towering header after an inch-perfect Youri Djorkaeff corner.
Bolton would have been happy with the four goals but there was still time for some Okocha magic.
A free-kick from an improbable angle was given on the left-hand side of the Villa area where Okacha could have been forgiven for trying to find one of his teammates.
But he unleashed a Roberto Carlos esque free-kick around the wall and straight into the near post top corner, wrapping up a memorable night for the Trotters.
After the 5-2 win, Bolton travelled to Villa Park for the second leg, without Okocha who had gone to the African Cup of Nations.
That finished 2-0 to the Villains in a tough game for Bolton who scraped through to the final 5-4 on aggregate, eventually losing the final 2-1 to Middlesbrough in front of 72,000 fans at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]