Colin Woodthorpe and Jon Newby reflect on a good night for Bury
Wednesday 2nd October 2002 is a day remembered fondly by Bury fans. It’s the day Division Three Bury knocked out Premier League side Bolton Wanderers in the second round of what’s now known as the Capital One Cup.
The two sides meet in a competitive fixture for the first time since that night on Tuesday and it’s time for a trip down memory lane to re-visit what happened at the Reebok Stadium.
Two players that were key for the Shakers on that night were defender Colin Woodthorpe and captain Jon Newby and both have fond memories of the game, from the announcement of the tie to the moment the ball hit the back of the net in the 48th minute.
Woodthorpe, now assistant manager at AFC Fylde, had only arrived at the club in pre-season but already knew what the team were capable of and thought it was a fairly good draw.
“I thought it was a decent local game. We had done well against higher opposition before as we had beaten Stoke when I first arrived at the club in the previous round. It was a decent draw, against a decent team on a decent pitch.”
When the team sheets were released, the Bury team found out that then Bolton manager Sam Allardyce rested a number of key players such as Kevin Nolan and Jussi Jaaskelainen and was playing a second string outfit but captain Jon Newby didn’t take much notice of the team:
“We didn’t take a great deal of notice about their team, no matter who played we knew they would be quality players at that level. I remember Ivan Campo had recently signed for them and I was hoping he would play at the back as I knew although he was a great player, he was not the quickest.”
A large away following had flocked to the Reebok Stadium with around 2,500 Shakers fans packed in both the lower and upper tier of the away end. Both Jon and Colin knew that there would be a large number of away fans and Jon was proving to be a fans’ favourite after scoring two goals at Wrexham the game before.
“When we came out for the warm up I remember the bury end being very full. We had played Wrexham three days earlier and I had scored two in that game so when I came out all the fans started singing my name which was great. Personally I went into the game full of confidence after scoring two in the previous game so I could not wait to get going. The pitch looked great and it would suit the way we played that season.”
Woodthorpe echoed Jon’ thoughts and knew it would be a big away following as it was a game that meant a lot to Bury fans: “It’s good that you can take an away following like that as it was a big game for Bury fans so it was ideal that it was a local game and we knew we would get a really good backing. I’ve never lost at the Reebok Stadium so there was no fear going to the Reebok as I’d always done well there when I’d been with Stockport. It was great to see that many fans there.”
After a fairly quiet first half the game exploded into life three minutes into the second half when Jon Newby progressed down the right wing and fired a low cross to the back post.
“I thought the same as i always did in that situation, get your head up and play it across goal rather than shoot, play for the team rather than your own personal glory.”
As this was happening Woodthorpe was being deployed as a wing back and charging into the area in hope of getting a touch on the ball and diverting it into the back of the net.
“We switched to three at the back and played with wing backs in the second half so you have to try and get people in the box. You knew that if Jon got the down the line and got half a yard of space then the ball was coming in and that’s all you can ask for. My aim was to get in there and put some pressure on the defenders because you knew what sort of ball was going to come in and it would make the defenders face their own goal, which is the worst situation as a defender as you don’t want to worry about putting the ball in your own net. As it was just after half time my energy levels were still quite high so I had to get in there and see what happened.”
What happened next will live long in the memory of the Bury fans that were there as a combination of Bernard Mendy and Woodthorpe put the ball into the net to give the Shakers the lead. “I remember thinking it was an own goal because Col would never score!” Newby explained. “I ran behind the goal towards the fans and everyone jumped on me, we had grown in confidence all game and we knew the way we had played in the first half we could go on and win.”
Colin has a slightly different view of the goal but he was certain of one thing; everyone ended in the back of the net.
“I would definitely say I’ve made a lot of contact on him and if I’ve kicked him and the balls hit the back of the net, I’m quite happy as that’s what you want to do as a full back. There’s no doubt he’s got something on it but if I’m making that run, I wasn’t going away without having left something on him or put the ball in the back of the net. Whether it was an own goal or not, I’ll swear blue I’ve got a touch on it but if I’ve kicked him onto the ball and into the back of the net, I made sure everything was going into the back of the net! In fact it took me a bit to get out of the net as I got caught in it and was standing all over him to try and get out.”
Sixteen minutes after the goal Bolton’s comeback was put further into doubt as Turkish midfielder Akin Bulent received a second yellow card from referee Howard Webb to leave Wanderers with 10 men for the final 26 minutes of action.
Kevin Nolan, Dean Holdsworth and Henrik Pedersen were thrown on by Sam Allardyce in an attempt to rescue the game but they were unable to beat Glyn Garner in the Bury goal with the Welshman denying Nolan twice in the latter stages of the game.
Six minutes of injury time were played at the end of the second half but the home side were still unable to create any chances. At the other end the Shakers had a chance to seal the game but Chris Billy fired over from just inside the area.
The full time whistle was greeted by jubilant scenes in the away end as Bury took the bragging rights against their local rivals and earned themselves an away trip to Fulham in the next round. However the Shakers didn’t progress any further in the competition as they suffered a 3-1 defeat at Craven Cottage with Newby scoring an injury time consolation.
Fast forward twelve years and Bury face another trip to the newly renamed Macron Stadium in the Capital One Cup. Newby believes that the Shakers have a chance of repeating the success and says it won’t be a great surprise if Bury progress tonight: “Bury have a great chance to win, the signings this summer are of great quality and the club have obvious ambition so it would be no great surprise, with the backing of a big loud away following, if Bury go through.”
Let’s just hope none of the current squad do what Colin Woodthorpe did back in 2002 and miss the team bus due to traffic and then have to drive to the stadium on their own!