Reebok Memories: Hierro's Last Game

  • May 07, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/cea51

With Bolton's time at 'The Reebok' now over, we take a look back at a memorable afternoon which saw Fernando Hierro play his final professional match.

In a career which spanned a total of 18 years, Hierro said goodbye to the game in front of 27,701 supporters who were in party mood at the Reebok Stadium - with a standing ovation from all four sides of the ground.

On May 15, 2005, Bolton played host to Everton on the final day of the 2004/05 season. Both clubs had qualified for European competition - Wanderers for the UEFA Cup and the Toffees for the UEFA Champions League - and everybody inside the stadium was in buoyant mood.

There was something a little extra special about the game for the home supporters, though, with news breaking earlier that week that Hierro would be bringing the curtain down on his career after the game.

Once referee Neale Barry had began the game, it didn't take long for Everton to take control by scoring the opening goal inside nine minutes. A cross from Tony Hibbert caused a mix-up between Tal Ben Haim and goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, allowing Tim Cahill to benefit by sending a stunning overhead kick into the back of the Bolton net.

Jaaskelainen made up for his part in the opening goal by saving from Kevin Kilbane in the moments that followed, before Cahill earned cheers at the other end by clearing a Kevin Davies header off the line.

Everton goalkeeper Richard Wright did well to save from both El-Hadji Diouf and Stelios Giannakopoulos as Bolton looked for an equaliser, but their task was made all the more difficult in first-half stoppage time when Bruno N'Gotty was shown a straight red card for a slap on Cahill - who was booked for his part in the incident, which saw him push the Frenchman.

Half-time couldn't have arrived soon enough, with the game threatening to boil over, and Wanderers burst out of the blocks after the restart - pulling themselves level on 53 minutes. Hierro, playing the final game of his career, sent a pin-point corner into the Toffees box and Radhi Jaidi headed past Wright from close range.

They completed the turnaround just after the hour, as Davies latched on to a pass from Giannakopoulos before sending a deflected strike into the bottom corner of the net.

In an exhausting end-to-end affair, the visitors were level 60 seconds later as Duncan Ferguson's miscontrol fell kindly to Lee Carsley, who smashed the ball past Jaaskelainen from close range.

Despite that blow, Bolton didn't let it get them down and they were back in front three minutes later as Giannakopoulos pounced to poke home a rebound after Wright could only parry a Davies attempt.

Immediately following that goal, the moment everybody inside the ground had been waiting for finally happened. 18 years after his professional career had started at Valladolid, Hierro's number appeared on the board for one last time - with Vincent Candela coming on to take his place for the final 20 minutes.

Hierro's exit brought deafening noise from the stands, while pretty much every player on the pitch wanted to express their best wishes as he walked off the field for the last time, on a day where Bolton ended the campaign with a 3-2 victory.

The players returned to the field after the final whistle, as they embarked on their annual lap of honour, with fans staying behind in their thousands to say goodbye to one of the greatest all-round footballers ever to play the game.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ben Haim, Jaidi, Hierro (Candela 67), N'Gotty, Okocha, Gardner, Speed, Diouf (O'Brien 82), Giannakopoulos (Nolan 68), Davies
Subs Not Used: Poole, Vaz Te
Booked: Diouf, Davies
Sent Off: N'Gotty
Goals: Jaidi 53, Davies 61, Giannakopoulos 66

Everton: Wright, Hibbert (Vaughan 80), Weir, Yobo, Carsley, Arteta (Stubbs 71), Watson, Cahill (Osman 59), Kilbane, McFadden, Ferguson
Subs Not Used: Martyn, Pistone
Booked: Cahill
Goals: Cahill 9, Carsley 63

Referee: Neale Barry
Attendance: 27,701

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