Blackpool arrived in Bolton with a full squad of 16 eager players and were practising on the unfamiliar pitch an hour before the match began. They realised they had a crucial game against Bolton who held the 2nd automatic promotion spot, but knew if they won, the season’s destiny would be in their own hands.
Captain Rayner started with the 11 that had played so well against Preston the week before, but with promises that everyone who had travelled would get time on the pitch. Blackpool started the stronger and had most of the early possession. However Bolton scored first within 5 minutes. Blackpool didn’t panic and continued pressurising the Bolton defence with some good midfield runs. It wasn’t long before Nick Slater shot from the edge of the D and it was forceful enough to beat the keeper to level the score.
Blackpool had further chances but Bolton defended in numbers and proved difficult to break down. They did score another goal, only for it to be disallowed for a minor infringement a second before the ball hit the back-board. The Blackpool defence were rotated but were never in any serious trouble and so it remained 1-1 at half-time.
Blackpool made three substitutions in midfield, which actually caused problems and allowed Bolton back into the match. The defence became chaotic for several minutes and it the situation only really settled when the influential Blakemore & Goudie returned to shore up the midfield and assert pressure back onto Bolton. Indeed the pressure began to build, short corners were won, and eventually from open play Ashley Blakemore struck a fine shot after dribbling into the D.
Bolton’s attack was nullified by man of the match Latimer, marking their main striker, together with Lester, Crossland, Rayner, Bancroft and Rainbow playing as a unit at the back. A minute before the end there was a break in play with Bolton objecting to a defensive clearance and a bit or “argy-bargy” ensued. After tempers were eventually cleared the game was restarted but Blackpool had lost their concentration and there was a late scare from a final Bolton attack, but the travelling team held on to a famous victory.
Blackpool had managed to become only the 2nd team to beat Bolton all season, and now the destiny of automatic promotion is in their own hands, but they mustn’t become complacent, especially with a tricky away trip to Bury as their last match.