20 December has been a successful date in Wanderers’ recent history.
A year ago to the day, Bolton made the short trip to North West rivals Blackburn Rovers and emerged triumphant, as goals from Mark Davies and Nigel Reo-Coker sealed a 2-1 win.
The game will also be remembered for the torrent of abuse Rovers chief Steve Kean was forced to endure from the home crowd, who pulled no punches in venting their fury at his running of the club.
Wanderers flew out of the blocks and Davies’ strike in the third minute got them off to the perfect start. With half an hour on the clock, the lead was doubled as Reo-Coker fired home.
A second half response from Yakubu set up a tense finale, but Owen Coyle’s team held on to secure victory.
Four years ago, Wanderers again earned victory, seeing off Portsmouth by the same 2-1 scoreline at the Reebok.
All three goals were scored in a pulsating opening 20 minutes, with Wanderers finding themselves two up inside just three minutes.
Matt Taylor opened the scoring inside 60 seconds, coming back to haunt his former club, two minutes before Ricardo Gardner sent Whites fans into dreamland.
With Peter Crouch pulling a goal back on 20 minutes halved the deficit, but Wanderers were good value for the win and, in truth, the margin of victory should have been far greater with a host of missed chances.
Also on this day in 2003, Sam Allardyce’s Bolton side held table-topping Arsenal to a 1-1 draw at the Reebok.
Winger Robert Pires put the visitors in front just shy of the hour mark, but it was substitute Henrik Pedersen who had the final say; volleying in an 83rd minute leveller.
The result was well-deserved and a point against the Gunners was not to be sniffed at, given that Arsene Wenger’s men went through the entire 2003/04 season unbeaten en route to the title.