Bowman on the Road: Trotters in trouble but Bognor are pride of Sussex

An impressive stadium
An impressive stadium
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If ever there was evidence that a football team can’t survive on pure effort alone Bolton Wanderers provided that on Saturday afternoon at their impressive Macron stadium.

After 33 gruelling Championship games this famous old club found itself rooted in the relegation zone after picking up only 4 wins. Indeed their coach, Neil Lennon, was lamenting in his programme notes that he felt Bolton deserved more points but were lacking a cutting edge up front.

Colin Bowman with Fred

Colin Bowman with Fred

My trip to Bolton started early with a 7.08 train out of Burgess Hill. Then a very comfortable and quick Virgin train sector Euston to Manchester. I arrived in Bolton with enough time to venture into the city centre. Like most Northern Towns there is a very impressive civic building which dominates the main square.

But what interested me was a life sized statue of Fred Dibnah who made climbing tall chimneys and traction engines very cool in the 1970s. My father and I would be glued to ‘Steeplejack’ as Fred would fearlessly climbed up very tall buildings just to do a bit of repointing.

Wanderers used to operate out of their famous old Burnden Park right in the centre but in 1997 The Reebok was opened about 5 miles out of town. Now called the Macron its a 10 min train ride. From Horwich Parkway station the stadium comes into full view and impressive it is too. Just outside the main office there is a stunning statue of Bolton’s greatest legend Nat Lofthouse OBE. After spending a little while in the nicely appointed Fans Zone I took my place high up in the West Stand on the half way line. A brilliant view of the action. Lots of empty seats around but the away end packed with the Burnley Fc massed support.

The hosts made a very breezy start to the match with Emiel Heskey (bless him) now 38 leading the line. They won most of the 50/50 balls and created some good crosses from the left. Burnley happy to soak up and then look dangerous on the break. Nil nil at half time.

The Civic Hall dominates the city centre

The Civic Hall dominates the city centre

It was all Burnley during the second half looking neat and tidy through the middle. But on 70 mins the Trotters were handed a life line when scoring a priceless goal against the run of play.

Three points though never looked safe as Burnley just kept turning the screw. In Andre Gray Clarets might have done the deal of the season. Having already scored 17 goals this season he tapped home an equaliser and then with time running out he sprinted down the middle and sensationally thumped the ball past a despairing Trotters keeper for the winning goal. Burnley fans in delirium!

Despite giving 110% effort to the cause its not looking good for Bolton Wanderers. They need around 7 wins from the last 12 to escape the drop, difficult when you haven’t won on the road all season. I wish them all the best. As for Burnley Fc they are top of the Championship and looking very extremely dangerous. Watch out Albion as they visit the Amex on 2th April. I was back in B/H at 11pm after an exciting day on the road now with just three clubs to join the 92 club.

Blackpool, Wigan and Forrest.

The Macron

The Macron

More locally Bognor Regis Town Fc are the pride of Sussex this week as they progressed to the Semi Final of the FA Trophy beating Conference team Torquay last week end.

A Neilson goal was enough to see them through. Its a fantastic achievement for manager Jamie Howell to take his Ryman Premier outfit so far. The club are also looking for promotion via the Ryman play offs. The next few weeks are going to be mega exciting around Nyewood Lane as the two legged semis take place on 12th and 19th March. Don’t forget there is a massive carrot of playing at Wembley Stadium in the May Final. We shall bring you more of this story in March. Good Luck to all Rocks connections.

Costs train £100 tickets £50 sundries £30.

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Nat stands tall

Nat stands tall

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