Whites book last four berth courtesy of dramatic penalty shootout victory over Red Devils
Wanderers booked their place in the semi-finals of the Lancashire Senior Cup with a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over their Manchester United counterparts at Altrincham FC's Moss Lane.
A game of very few clear cut chances, the Red Devils opened the scoring with 27 minutes gone from the penalty spot through Joe Rothwell but the Whites snatched a deserved equaliser through Zach Clough with two minutes remaining to ensure that the score was 1-1 at full time with the result to be decided from 12 yards.
With Reece James missing early on for United, Oscar Threlkeld hit the decisive spot kick to send the Bolton bench into raptures and set up a last four tie with Wigan Athletic for the Whites.
Wanderers started the brighter of the two sides with Andy Kellett and Chris Lester proving themselves a nuisance early on while Clough’s mazy run from his own half deserved more with three minutes gone.
After withstanding a period of pressure from the visitors, United almost stunned the Whites in the 10th minute as Andreas Pereira lofted the ball into the path of James Wilson, but Kellett was on hand to smother the ball to safety before the he could pull the trigger.
Wilson was again in the thick of the action shortly after as he capitalised on a mix-up amongst the Bolton defence, but the United man failed to take advantage and the ball was rescued.
The Whites were soon back on top however, with Clough’s testing effort from just outside the area forcing Joel Pereira into a smart save before Rob Hall’s deflected shot was calmly collected by the United shot stopper.
The Bolton bench were left shouting for a penalty kick in the 25th minute as Kellett’s shot appeared to strike Patrick McNair on the hand, but the referee was unmoved and waved play on.
Having been denied the opportunity to take the lead from 12 yards, Wanderers were to be dealt a killer blow with 27 minutes gone as Hall upended Rothwell on the edge of the area, with Karl Evans pointing to the spot and the striker stepping up to slot the ball past Arran Lee-Barrett.
A goal which was arguably undeserved for the home side, it was one which appeared to give them confidence with Wilson curling an effort narrowly past the upright shortly after.
Despite falling behind, Wanderers still looked dangerous on the break and looked to have snatched an equaliser as Rob Holding rose to head the ball goalbound with Clough finding the ball at the far post, but Pereira pulled off an incredible reflex save to deny the striker.
As the half drew to its conclusion, both sides enjoyed half chances to add to the goal tally but their efforts were in vain as the Red Devils entered the break a goal to the good.
As the second period got underway, it was clear to see that both sides were hungry for more goalmouth action with the introduction of Wilkinson for the Whites giving the United defence food for thought inside the opening 15 minutes.
The number of notable chances in front of both goals however was limited, with Hall’s scuffed shot from 20 yards failing to trouble Pereira.
Having enjoyed a relatively quiet half, Lee-Barrett was called into action shortly after the hour mark as Wilson skipped inside his man and unleashed a ferocious shot towards the keeper's goal, but the Bolton shot stopper was equal to his effort to keep the deficit at one.
Hall was involved yet again with 72 minutes on the clock as he controlled the ball on the edge of the 18 yard box before executing a well taken volley which flew agonisingly wide of Pereira's upright.
Injury forced Wilkinson to withdraw with 13 minutes of the clash remaining, with under-18 frontman Walker being brought on in his place as Wanderers looked to force a penalty shoot-out and keep their dream of a semi-final berth alive.
Their challenge was almost extinguished moments later however as Pereira's free-kick took a deflection on the way through and almost wrong-footed Lee-Barrett, but the keeper kept his cool and recovered to scoop the ball to safety.
James Kelly almost snatched what would have been a glorious equaliser with five minutes to go as he collected Lester's perfectly weighted pass, but the full-back couldn't keep his shot down with goalkeeper Pereira already beaten.
Not to be denied however, Wanderers deservedly drew level with two minutes remaining as Clough connected with Hall's free-kick at the near post and poked the ball past the stranded United keeper to send the game to penalties.
Pereira - SCORED
Clough - SCORED
Varela - SCORED
Hall - SCORED
James - MISSED
Vela - SCORED
Rothwell - SCORED
Walker - SCORED
Ekangamene - SCORED
Threlkeld - SCORED
Bolton: Lee-Barrett, Kelly, Kellett, Threlkeld, Holding, Vela, Lester, Robinson, Iliev (Wilkinson, 59; Walker, 77), Clough, Hall
Subs not used: Woodland, Campbell, Bastos
Manchester United: Pereira, Varela, Rowley, McNair, Thorpe, Ekangamene, Janko, Pearson, Wilson (Rowley, 81), Rothwell, Pereira
Subs not used: Gollini, Harrop, Weir, Rudge