2004/05 season: The Road to Europe - A huge step towards qualification

Sam Allardyce’s Bolton Wanderers finished sixth in the Premier League and qualified for the UEFA Cup for the very first time in their history.bwfc.co.uk takes a look through the archives to look back on a memorable season at the then Reebok Stadium.


With Wanderers heading into the penultimate month of the campaign with UEFA Cup qualification a very realistic proposition, Allardyce’s men went to Anfield with a large degree of optimism.

It had appeared that a draw was the likely outcome as the game headed towards its conclusion. Both sides had engineered chances to pick up victory. But with four minutes remaining, Igor Biscan popped up with a later header that saw Liverpool pick up the points.

Wanderers still remained in sixth place and their European dream remained very much alive.

Two successive wins started to turn the dream into a reality as Wanderers put the Anfield defeat to the back of their minds.

Fulham were the next visitors to the Reebok Stadium, and were swiftly put to the sword. Goals from Jay Jay Okocha (penalty) and Kevin Nolan saw Wanderers race into a 2-0 lead before the break. Although Luis Boa Morte pulled one back just after half-time, a strike from Stelios put the result beyond any doubt.

Trips to London had proved to be largely productive for Allardyce’s men this term and a visit to The Valley to take on Charlton Athletic proved to be no exception. Goals from Okocha and El Hadji Diouf either side of a Francis Jeffers strike gave Wanderers another win that solidified them in sixth position.

Two successive 1-1 draws against Southampton and Aston Villa didn’t affect Wanderers’ position in the Premier League table.

Back to the Reebok Stadium for the next fixture and it was Southampton who provided Wanderers with their next challenge and the game was to result in a draw.

Stelios’s first-half goal was cancelled out by Kevin Phillips as the Saints held their hosts, while at Villa Park four days later Gary Speed cancelled out Fernando Hierro’s own-goal to ensure Wanderers came out of their clash with Aston Villa with something to show for their efforts. 

April proved to be a strong month for Wanderers with eight points in five matches prior to the visit of Jose Mourinho's title-bound Chelsea.

A brace from Frank Lampard at the Reebok Stadium ensured that the Blues confirmed a first top flight championship in 50 years. Chelsea's work for the season was done, but Wanderers still had a fight on their hands for a place in the UEFA Cup with just two games remaining of the 2004/05 season. 


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