Arsenal 4 Bolton 1
Ian Wright finally broke Arsenal's all time goalscoring record with two close
range shots in a three minute spell during the first half against Bolton at
Highbury this afternoon.
Wright celebrated in style, displaying an undershirt with the inscription 179
even though his first goal only equalled Cliff Bastin's 51 year record of 178
But Wright did not have to wait long to go top of the list even though Bolton
disputed the goal he scored from inside the six yard box after seeming to commit
a foul in the build up.
Arsenal who were 2-1 behind through a shock strike by Alan Thompson in the
17th minute, made it 3-1 in first half injury time with Ray Parlour's first goal
of the season.
And while Wright was trying to improve his 177 tally in the Premiership clash
with promoted Bolton, partner Dennis Bergkamp was looking for his seventh goal
in four games including one for Holland in midweek.
Bolton were without £6 million worth of defenders - Neil Cox and Robbie
Elliott both out with bad injuries and Australian Mark Fish still waiting for a
work permit. Jimmy Phillips and Steve McAnespie were restored to the side.
A minute's silence was observed in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Bergkamp's superb pass sent Ray Parlour charging into the Bolton box in only
the second minute and his firm shot seemed to take a deflection before coming
back off the post.
Wright was following up and looked certain to equal the record but the ball
rebounded off his shins and wide for a goal kick.
Two minutes later French midfielder Manny Petit found Marc Overmars out on the
left and he raced away before trying to pick out Wright with his low cross only
for Jamie Pollock to head clear.
Then on seven minutes with Bolton already under the cosh, Bergkamp delivered a
goalbound drive from 20 yards but keeper Keith Branagan made an excellent save
diving to his right to concede a corner.
Bolton's only raid of real menace provided a piece of luck for Arsenal when
the referee failed to spot Patrick Vieira blatantly obstructing Nathan Blake's
run down the middle.
But Bolton stunned Arsenal when Alan Thompson gave them a lead with their
first on-target strike in the 14th minute.
Thompson started and finished the move, finding Blake with a good ball out to
the left and then running in unmarked to head the striker's pinpoint cross over
goalkeeper David Seaman who got a touch to the ball at full stretch but could
not prevent it dropping over the line.
Arsenal responded but when Petit put Overmars in the clear and the Dutch
winger forced his shot under Branaghan's body, it was cleared off the line by
The alarm bells were ringing for Arsenal again in the 17th minute when Peter
Beardsley put Blake clean through to chip over Seaman only to be ruled narrowly
But Ian Wright finally equalled the Arsenal goal record with an equaliser in
the 22nd minute, spinning clear to take take Berkamp's pass and shooting across
the diving Branagan who managed a touch but could not keep the ball out of the
A delighted Wright immediately twisted his red shirt over his head to reveal a
vest bearing the inscription 179.
In fact, he had jumped the gun but as it turned out he had only two minutes
more to wait to become Arsenal's top scorer.
Bolton, however, vigorously disputed the legitimacy of Wright's second goal of
His diagonal run off the ball took him charging into a group of defenders,
allowing Bergkamp an unhindered passage right through the middle and into the
Branagan came out to block the Dutchman's shot and when it bounced away Vieira
also had a stab in the ball squirted to Wright who gleefully rammed it into an
empty net before embarking on a major celebration accompanied by one of the
biggest roars in Highbury's history.
Bolton players surrounded the referee disputing the issue but even they seemed
eventually to join in the party spirit after realising that Scunthorpe referee
Neil Barry would not be moved.
Danish midfielder Per Frandsen had a good chance to equalise for Bolton on the
half hour when Beardsley's pass gave him an opening on the edge of the box but
he rushed his shot and presented no problem for the well positioned Seaman.
At the other end Overmars went crashing down in the box after a clash with
Gudni Bergsson but the referee waved aside Arsenal's penalty appeals.
Blake limped off for Bolton needing treatment before he could continue after a
tackle by Gilles Grimandi.
Then Petit, whose passing for Arsenal was a delight, released Vieira into the
box and he took the ball to the goal line before looking up and picking out
Wright at the back of the box.
This time, though, the striker blazed his shot high into the side netting with
a golden chance of completing a hat trick.
Just into injury time in the first half Arsenal went 3-1 ahead when Bergkamp's
run set up Parlour whose firm drive seemed to take a deflection off Phillips
before flashing into the net.
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Bould, Petit,
Parlour (Platt 77), Wright (Anelka 82), Grimandi, Bergkamp,
Overmars (Boa Morte 77).
Subs Not Used: Manninger, Marshall.
Goals: Parlour 44, Wright 20, 25, 81.
Bolton: Branagan, Frandsen, Taggart, Pollock, Sellars, Blake,
Thompson, Bergsson, Beardsley (Gunnlaugsson 66), Phillips,
McAnespie (Todd 47).
Subs Not Used: Johansen, Ward, Taylor.
Goals: Thompson 13.
Ref: N S Barry (Scunthorpe).