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#FixtureReleaseDay: Memorable opening day encounters

21 June 2018

Come Fixture Release Day, Wanderers’ opening day encounter is always one of the first games that fans look for on the list.

And ahead of this coming Thursday’s release, bwfc.co.uk takes a look back at the club’s exploits on the first day of the campaign, casting an eye over a selection of memorable meetings in the Trotters’ recent history…

1994/95: GRIMSBY TOWN 3-3 BOLTON WANDERERS

A season which eventually saw the Whites promoted to the top flight of English football in dramatic circumstances against Reading in the Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium, the opening day of 1994/95 also saw high drama for Wanderers.

A Clive Mendonca hat-trick was the highlight of the day for the Mariners and although Bolton were had led 2-1 at the half-time break, a John McGinlay penalty and Mixu Paatelainen's brace weren’t enough to secure victory for the Burnden Park outfit as they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils come full time.

1997/98: SOUTHAMPTON 0-1 BOLTON WANDERERS

Having won promotion back to the top flight of English football at the first time of asking following their relegation in 1995/96, Wanderers kicked off the 1997/98 campaign – their first at their current home of Macron Stadium – with a long trip to the south-coast.

But the journey proved to be a fruitful one for the Whites, with Nathan Blake’s 43rd minute strike proving decisive against the Saints as Bolton made the perfect return to life in the Premiership after just a solitary campaign away.

1998/99: CRYSTAL PALACE 2-2 BOLTON WANDERERS

Back in Division One after unfortunately suffering relegation from the top flight, Wanderers certainly caught the attention of their fellow second tier sides following a topsy-turvy clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Dean Holdsworth opened the scoring for the Whites, only for Matt Jansen and Sasa Curcic, one soon-to-be and one former Bolton player, to put Palace in front. But Arnar Gunnlaugsson hadn’t read the script and came off the bench to net a late equaliser and secure a deserved point for the Trotters.

2001/02: LEICESTER 0-5 BOLTON WANDERERS

Nobody saw this one coming, but back in the big time after a three-year exile from the Premiership, Sam Allardyce’s men swept aside Leicester at Filbert Street on the opening day of the 2001/02 campaign.

In a true classic of a game, Bolton were four up by half-time after a brace from Kevin Nolan and goals from Michael Ricketts and Per Frandsen, while a fifth came shortly after the interval, with Frandsen once again on target in front of 2,000 delirious away supporters.

2004/05: BOLTON WANDERERS 4-1 CHARLTON

A season which culminated in Wanderers securing a UEFA Cup berth for the very first time, Bolton flew out of the traps at the start of the 2004/05 campaign and found themselves two goals up after just 30 minutes of play against the visiting Addicks.

Birthday boy Jay-Jay Okocha was the star of the show, as he and Henrik Pedersen helped themselves to a brace-a-piece and whilst Kevin Lisbie did net a consolation for Charlton, it mattered not on the day as the Trotters got off to the perfect start.

2005/06: ASTON VILLA 2-2 BOLTON WANDERERS

There was early drama at Villa Park on the opening day of the Premier League season 13 years ago with all four goals in the clash being scored in the first nine minutes of the tie.

Kevin Phillips drew first blood with four minutes on the clock, only for quick-fire efforts from Kevin Davies and Ivan Campo to turn to game on its head before Steven Davis drew the hosts level moments later.

Wanderers even had a late Kevin Nolan effort ruled out for offside, but the shares were ultimately shared at the final whistle.

2006/07: BOLTON WANDERERS 2-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Two early goals from Wanderers ensured that they got their campaign off to the perfect start against Tottenham Hotspur at the Reebok Stadium twelve years ago.

Kevin Davies had opened the scoring with just nine minutes gone as he rose above the Spurs defence to head home, while an impressive long range effort from Ivan Campo made sure of the victory just four minutes later.

2008/09: BOLTON WANDERERS 3-1 STOKE CITY

An emphatic display from Bolton at the Reebok Stadium secured victory on the opening day of the 2008/09 campaign over newly-promoted Stoke City

Gretar Steinsson, Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander all struck inside the first period for the home side, with Ricardo Fuller going on to net a consolation in second half injury time for the Potters with the result already beyond doubt.

2011/12: QPR 0-4 BOLTON WANDERERS

The Trotters topped the pile after matchday one of the 2011/12 Premier League season following an emphatic victory at Loftus Road.

Gary Cahill opened the scoring with a sublime curling effort from distance just before the interval and Bolton were out of sight after an impressive second-half showing as a Danny Gabbidon own goal alongside strikes from Ivan Klasnic and Fabrice Muamba ensured the Trotters' best opening day result for a decade.

2016/17: BOLTON WANDERERS 1-0 SHEFFIELD UNITED

Jay Spearing's first half volley proved to be the difference against eventual champions Sheffield United on the first day of the 2016/17 campaign.

With Wanderers going on to finish as runners-up to the Blades come the conclusion of the season in late April, the Liverpudlian fired home from distance eight minutes before the break to get Bolton’s brief stay in League One off to the best start possible.


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