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ON THIS DAY: When Worthy helped Wanderers do the double against United

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karlypants

karlypants
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
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1979: FRANK Worthington had one hand on the Adidas Golden Boot but Wanderers still had some work to do in order to stay in Division One.

Ian Greaves’s side had toiled in the top flight but they went to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on the back of an impressive upturn in form.

Home wins against Southampton, Arsenal, Everton and QPR were only worth two points back in the day – but a life-saving run of 11 points in six games culminated in a famous win on April 11, sealed by Worthington’s injury time goal that gave the army of Bolton fans in a near-50,000 crowd the night of their lives.

Worthington had scored twice in the Burnden fixture the previous December as Wanderers won 3-0 (ex-United man Alan Gowling scored the other). But United appeared to be exacting sweet revenge when they ran the first half of the return game, leading by a Martin Buchan goal before a second half fightback turned the game on its head - eventually.

Worthington equalised on 53 minutes as Wanderers chucked everything they had at the United defence. But the effort seemed to have been wasted seven minutes later when Gordon McQueen had the Stretford End rejoicing, beating Seamus McDonagh from the penalty spot. But fussy ref Pat Partridge ordered the kick to be retaken and McQueen's second attempt came back off a post.

Wanderers didn't need a second chance and a passionate full-blooded assault, not surprising since the had three ex-United players - Gowling, Tony Dunne and Willie Morgan - in their ranks. And their efforts were finally rewarded when Worthington knocked in the winner in injury time.

The significance of that memorable 78-79 derby double wasn't lost on Worthington, who relived the magic moments in his autobiography "One Hump or Two".

"There were some memorable highlights that season, probably none more so than the local derbies against Manchester United.

"The first time we played them was at home on a freezing Friday night just before Christmas," Worthy wrote.

"It had been a long time since the two sides had met and the people of Bolton were buzzing with expectation.

"I've always loved playing under the lights - at Leicester they called me Badger because rumour had it I only came out at nights - and was soon in the thick of things as Bolton set the pace.

"Gordon McQueen was trying to mark me as a high ball was knocked through the centre of the United defence.

"Pausing only to cushion it on my blue and white head band, I controlled it into my path and, although usually only for standing on, volleyed it into the far corner with my right foot.

"Little Bolton beating the big guns at Burnden! The crowd went berserk. I got another close in and Alan Gowling got one to set up a 3-0 win before 32,000 people in a pulsating derby.

"One happy Bolton fan sent down three bottles of champagne.

"To cap it all we won again in a night match at Old Trafford. 49,600 were there for that one.

"Martin Buchan scored for them and I got both for us. Four goals in a season against arch rivals United had turned me into some sort of folk figure in Bolton.

"Unfortunately I wasn't so popular with the Old Trafford faithful and that night after the game Paul Jones and I had to take refuge in a Chinese restaurant after being spotted and chased by a gang of United fans.

"Luckily they didn't catch me or I could quite easily have been crispy duck."

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1989: PHIL Neal admitted Julian Darby had added “a touch of quality on an awful night” as Wanderers took a slender lead into the second leg of the Sherpa Van Trophy semi-final against Blackpool.

Darby hit a 25-yard effort to score the game’s only goal in what proved to be a scrappy and tense affair summed up by a penalty miss that is still talked about to this day.

Blackpool’s Russell Coughlin stepped up to take the spot kick in a patchy 18 yard box at Burnden but leaned back as he struck the ball – which famously cleared the crossbar and bounced back off the Normid Superstore which had been build into the Embankment End.

The effort regularly makes the top 10 worst penalty list.

1942: George Hunt, who was a prolific scorer for Wanderers in the war-time years, found the net in the opening minute of a game against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road. Unfortunately, the visitors went on to win the game 7-1.

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