United let victory in a drab Lancashire Senior Cup quarter-final slip from their grasp when they allowed a largely unimpressive Bolton side to grab a late equaliser that took the game to a penalty shoot out. This being season 2013-14, there was little surprise when the away team won it.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that spot-kicks provided almost all that was interesting in a thoroughly dull game of football. There’d already been penalties turned down in both areas before one went United’s way in the 27th minute. It was a borderline call, the foul on Rothwell taking place on the edge of the box, but the same player made no mistake from the spot and sent the keeper the wrong way. The goal initially settled United, who began to string together fluid passing moves with greater frequency, one of which ended with Wilson lashing a fierce shot narrowly wide. However, the momentum quickly died and Bolton began to ask more questions as the first half went on, and went even closer when Joel Pereira made a superb save to stop what had looked a certain goal, amid the visitors’ appeals that the ball had crossed the line.
If the first half had yielded few chances, the second managed to serve up even less exciting fare. United had the best of the possession but moves generally broke down before they reached the Bolton box and the Reds were generally restricted to speculative efforts that went high and wide when they didn’t find an opposing defender in the way. The best United managed was when an Andreas Pereira free kick was deflected before being scrambled to safety with by Barrett in the Bolton goal.
Although United had looked in control, one goal is, as they say, never enough and Bolton grabbed an equaliser out of nothing in the closing minutes when an apparently harmless free kick from the right was turned home in at the near post by Clough. The game went to penalties and all managed to score with the exception of Reece James who blasted his kick high over the bar to send the visitors through to face Wigan in the semi-finals.
Lancashire Senior Cup
Manchester United 1 Bolton Wanderers 1
(Bolton won 5-4 on penalties)