2004/05 season: The Road to Europe - A bright start to the New Year

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.


If December was dreadful then January proved to be joyful as Wanderers bounced back to form in sensational style as they went unbeaten for the entire month, picking up five wins and a draw from their six matches in all competitions.

A late El Hadji Diouf strike against West Brom at the Reebok ON New Year's Day cancelled out Zoltan Gera’s opener to arrest their slide of six successive defeats

This was followed up with a 2-1 win against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s thanks to goals from Diouf and a late winner from Kevin Nolan.

Wanderers put their name in the hat for the fourth round of the FA Cup, when they recorded a 3-1 victory against Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

Stelios and Henrik Pedersen (2) had put Wanderers 3-0 up but Tommy Miller pulled a goal back for the hosts with 20 minutes of the match remaining. Wanderers held on for a fourth round tie against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park later in the month.

The cup victory didn’t prove to be a distraction for the Whites, and they followed this up with a stunning 1-0 victory against Arsenal at the Reebok Stadium. Stelios’ first half goal was enough to claim the three points against Arsene Wenger’s men.

Buoyed by the win against the Gunners, Wanderers travelled the short distance to Ewood Park and took the points courtesy of a controversial Diouf smash and grab winner.

The Sengalese front man appeared to have made the most of a challenge by Brad Friedel in the box. He picked himself up to take the ensuing spot kick, only to see Friedel palm the ball back in to his path. He made no mistake at the second attempt and duly breached the American’s goal to send the 4,000 plus Wanderers fans into delirium.

For many, it was sweet revenge for the defeat the East Lancastrians had inflicted upon Wanderers the previous month.

A different looking Wanderers line-up took to the field at Boundary Park as Wanderers progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup when Ricardo Vaz Te’s early strike on a very difficult surface saw them beat Oldham by the solitary goal. For their troubles, they earned a home tie against Fulham in February.

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