Bolton on Wembley way as Ipswich fail again
SOCCER ROUND-UP BOB TAYLOR was the toast of Bolton last night after scoring the extra time goal which sent Wanderers into the First Division promotion play-off final and left Ipswich broken hearted for the third successive season.
The 31-year-old striker struck after 96 minutes to set up a Wembley date with either Birmingham or Watford, who play tonight.
Even though Matt Holland scored his second goal of the night four minutes from the end of extra time to give Ipswich a 4-3 victory on the night, it was not enough to stop Bolton from going through to the final on the away goals rule.
With the tie deadlocked 3-3 on aggregate, Ipswich went into extra time needing to score as Bolton at that point had two away goals under their belt. But in their determination to push forward they left gaps at the back and Taylor capitalised on that within six minutes.
The dramatic finale followed an incredible finish to normal time when Ipswich's England U-21 star Kieron Dyer scored with a gem of a header with just 24 seconds left.
Holland had given Ipswich the start they needed with aq goal after 14 minutes. It was a lead that Ipswich deserved, but they failed to capitalise further on their superiority and led only 1-0 at the break.
After 51 minutes Gudjohnson saw his point-blank shot blocked by Richard Wright but the ball fell straight at the feet of Taylor, who rammed home the equaliser.
Straight from the kick-off, Ipswich surged forward and Dyer scored from the edge of the box with a a shot which squeezed in off the far post.
It looked all over for Ipswich on 84 minutes when Dane Per Frandsen drove home Bolton's second with the aid of a deflection. With just seconds remaining, Dyer headed home a fine goal to bring the tie into extra time but it was all to no no avail for Ipswich as Taylor struck again six minutes into extra time.
Afterwards, jubilant Bolton manager Colin Todd revealed the motivational stroke which he claimed helped his players earn a place in the final. He said: ``For them to score with virtually the last kick was a big psychological boost. As a manager, it was my job to pick our players up, so I took them over to where our supporters were. That psyched them up and gave them the belief that they could be winners.''
Ipswich manager George Burley said: ``Naturally, we have a very disappointed dressing room. We were so close two weeks ago when we finished one point behind Bradford and tonight we played some great stuff and showed a lot of character, determination and quality.
``I thought we were the better side over two legs but never got the rub of the green.''
* MANCHESTER CITY were carried to Wembley last night on a wave of emotion. One scrambled Shaun Goater goal in the first half of this Second Division play-off semi-final second leg against Wigan was enough to give Manchester's other club their chance of a day in the sunshine of a Wembley final.
City didn't play well and suffered torture in a nail-biting second half, but this Joe Royle side have backbone and don't collapse like many of recent predecessors have.
They fought until they dropped against a Wigan side who gave everything but the likes of Michael Brown, Jeff Whitley and Kevin Horlock in midfield, and the dynamic Paul Dickov typified the new spirit at Maine Road.
City broke through after 27 minutes. Michael Brown, way out on the right, slung over a cross that evaded everyone on the near post and was met by Goater as he leant forward to chest the ball low to Roy Carroll's right.
The 'keeper got a hand to the ball but couldn't stop it creeping over the line. Wigan claimed hand-ball against Goater, but referee Terry Heilbron didn't agree, and TV replays showed he was right.
* ARSENAL shrugged off the disappointment of finishing runners-up in the Premiership title race to beat Malaysia 2-0 in a friendly match at the Jalil Hill stadium yesterday. Nicolas Anelka, who confirmed he will stay at Highbury next season, fired the Gunners into a 49th minute lead and Emmanuel Petit settled the issue a quarter of an hour later.
* STEVE McMANAMAN was yesterday mourning the death of his mother, Irene. The 27-year-old Real Madrid-bound star missed playing in last night's English League Centenary Challenge match against newly-promoted Sunderland to be the bedside of his 50-year-old mother, who had breast cancer.
* LEEDS UNITED Yesterday announced figures revealing their highest league attendances at Elland Road for 25 years. Sell-out crowds for the last four matches of the 1998-99 season boosted the club's average to 35,845, their best since an average of 38,666 watched Don Revie's team win the 1973-74 old First Division title.
* PARAGUAY keeper Jose Luis Chilavert, who plays for Velez Sarsfield, was banned from playing in Argentina for 13 months yesterday after the country's supreme court threw out an appeal. Chilavert, who led his side to the second round of the World Cup last year, also saw a three-month suspended prison sentence upheld for an incident five years ago. Chilavert injured a player while playing for Velez against Gimnasia y Esgrima in 1994. This ban could open the way for Manchester United to sign the gifted goalkeeper to replace Peter Schmeicel.
* ASTON VILLA manager John Gregory revealed last night that a meeting will be held shortly to decide the future of Stan Collymore, who has been undergoing stress counselling. Collymore is thought to be keen to resume his career with Villa.