With the first round of this year’s Emirates FA Cup all but upon us, the Alex prepare to take on Bolton Wanderers for the second time in as many months, and we looked back at a classic clash between the Whites, and our beloved Railwaymen.
The 2000-01 second division campaign may have ended in promotion for Sam Allardyce’s Wanderers, but they came unstuck against the Alex when they travelled to the Alexandra Stadium on 18th April 2001.
Crewe’s illusive striking partnership of Rob Hulse and Dean Ashton ensured Dario Gradi’s battling side put a hefty dent in Bolton’s hope of a top two spot, as the Reds fired home an 89th minute winner to seal the three points in CW2.
Bolton had taken the lead 17 minutes into the second-half through Dean Holdsworth, with the veteran forward’s shot from 35-yards evading the best efforts of Ademole Bankole, who was left embarrassed in the Alex net.
But Crewe needed just five minutes to draw level, as Rob Hulse met a Phil Charnock cross at the far post to slide home and shift the momentum in the host’s favour. The Cheshire-born forward finished the year as the club’s leading scorer.
The Alex went close to turning the game on its head just moments later; but left-back Shaun Smith’s speculative free-kick was gathered by Bolton keeper, Matt Clarke.
With just stoppage time left to play, and the game all but settled, up stepped 17-year-old hot shot Ashton, who latched on to a clever free-kick before lashing home his seventh goal in just nine starts.
The winner sparked pandemonium amongst the close to capacity crowd, and left Alex fans desperate for more from their free-scoring duo.
Ashton’s last gasp winner saw Crewe extend their unbeaten home run to ten games, finishing in 14th; an impressive feat, having been bottom at Christmas.
Crewe Alexandra: Bankole, Foster, Sodje, Wright, Smith, Charnock (Navarro 86’), Lunt, Sorvel, Ashton, Hulse, Jack.
Bolton Wanderers: Clarke, Bergsson, Hendry, Barness, Warhurst (Frandsen 78’), Charlton, Farrelly, Gardner (Campbell 79’), Summerbee, Marshall (Holdsworth 46’), Ricketts.
Scorers: Holdsworth 62’, Hulse 67’, Ashton 89’