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RANKED: Bolton's biggest-ever attendances at League One level

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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Saturday's bumper crowd against MK Dons was one of the 20 highest Wanderers have ever recorded at this level of football.

The official gate of 16,087 is the highest since they dropped out of the Championship in 2020 under major financial difficulties.

Bolton fans got value for money with six goals, including a late Alex Baptiste equaliser, as they returned to the University of Bolton Stadium for the first time in 18 months.

Wanderers’ biggest attendance at this level of football for a regular season gamewas towards the end of the 1972/73 season under Jimmy Armfield. They lifted the title in the end but were bettered on the day by their promotion rivals Blackburn Rovers in what was their only home defeat that year.

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The club has broken the 20,000 mark six times in the third tier.

Another relatively damp squib appeared in 2017 as Phil Parkinson’s team failed to cut their way through Chesterfield on their way to promotion. Despite Adam Le Fondre and David Wheater having shots cleared off the line, the 23,000-plus who had taken advantage of cheap tickets were left frustrated.

It was a different matter later that month as another bumper crowd assembled at the (then) Macron Stadium hoping Wanderers could get the win they needed to seal runners-up spot.

Jem Karacan settled nerves with an early goal, with David Wheater and then poacher extraordinaire Le Fondre finishing off a memorable day.

In 1993, promotion was at stake once against at Burnden Park as Bruce Rioch’s side hosted Preston North End. A tense encounter was settled by a penalty from Super John McGinlay – a strike past Simon Farnworth which has now passed into Bolton legend.

Jimmy Armfield’s Wanderers were heading for top spot in 1972/73 and they took a giant stride towards the prize with a 3-0 win against Halifax Town in front of 20,062 at Burnden. Stuart Lee was the hat-trick hero.

And on the final day they lifted the trophy itself after a 2-0 win against Brentford, with Peter Nicholson and John Byrom on the scoresheet.

Will Ian Evatt's entertaining Wanderers have more entries to add to this list by the end of this season? Let's hope so!

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