When Stuart Holden sunk Blackburn…
Vital Bolton`s latest look back at a great Reebok moment goes back to 2010, when a certain American scored a late, late goal.
Mention the name Owen Coyle these days and the usual reaction is along the lines of “oh god.” But to be honest, the first year and a bit was alright. Particularly as the 2010-11 season was approaching Christmas, Wanderers were putting a decent run together, mainly built on good home form, with Johan Elmander and Kevin Davies combining well up front, the latter getting an England call-up, Newcastle were thrashed, there was a superb goal to snatch a point against Blackpool at the death, Gareth Bale was kept quiet by Gretar Steinsson days after he had put Inter to the sword, and a gem of a midfielder had seemed to have been found by Stuart Holden.
Come mid-December, we were well in the mix for a European spot, where we welcomed back Sam Allardyce and Blackburn. Big Sam had a perfect record bringing new sides back to the Reebok, with Newcastle`s 3-1 win in 2007 and a 2-0 win with Rovers in 2009. Making it a hat-trick would be a tougher proposition on this Sunday afternoon.
It would get tougher for us though, when Mark Davies was sent off after an arm stuck out at Phil Jones was adjudged to be a second bookable offence. That reduction to ten men though, brought Fabrice Muamba into the game, and the 65th minute, he scored only his second goal for us, the first coming against Wigan earlier in the year. Talk about picking your occasions.
The lead wasn`t to last though, Mame Diouf equalised and Sam Allardyce jumped up and down on the touchline in jubilation.
He would barely have time to finish his celebration before it was cut short. Pretty much from kick off, Sam Ricketts angled a ball into Kevin Davies who nodded into Holden, rushing on like an express train into the box, taking the ball on his chest before lashing a half-volley past Paul Robinson, and an 88th minute winner that took us fifth for the time being. What a win, and what a finish that was.
Unfortunately, things would have unraveled by the end of the season, with a lot of that coming from Holden`s injury at Old Trafford. But Holden, if not already a cult hero, would have become one if not for that awful tackle three months later. And that winner certainly, was his most memorable moment.