Proud Allardyce Salutes Wanderers

Last updated : 28 January 2004 By Mark Heys
Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce was delighted at the way in which his side held on in their Carling Cup Semi Final Second Leg clash with Aston Villa which booked their place at the Millennium Stadium for next month's final where they will either face Middlesbrough or Arsenal.

Despite the 2-0 Second Leg defeat Allardyce said it was a proud moment in his managerial career to reach the final stages of the competition and said that he was pleased in the way in which his side held on to go through on aggregate by a 5-4 scoreline.

"It's a very proud and pleasing moment for myself. It was the most heart-wrenching match I have ever been involved in. Certainly when we got to four minutes of injury time and then when they scored the second I turned to the clock and thought "this is going to be a big tester now" ". Allardyce said

"Finally we saw it out. It was very difficult. Unfortunately as usual we tend to do things the hard way. We looked comfortable early doors but gave a stupid free kick on the edge of the box, which allowed them to get their tails up thanks to an excellent, excellent free kick by Hitzlsperger"

Allardyce points to the dismissal of Villa midfielder Gavin McCann as the turning point in the tie. The former Sunderland man was dismissed for a foul on Jussi Jaaskelainen and later appeared to slap his former team mate Emerson Thome as he was leaving the field, the incident gave referee Steve Bennett no option but to dismiss the player with a straight red card.

"The turning point came with Gavin McCann getting sent off. We had no problems then throughout the rest of the first-half. Starting the second half meant that we had to take full advantage of the man we had spare. On numerous occasions we got where we should get but didn't find the quality of the final ball or finish to kill Villa off"

"Then they bundled one in and it was pretty tough to stand. I've never known eight minutes to last as long in my life" Allardyce said