Aston Villa 2-0 Bolton Wanderers
Dublin 6, Vassell 80

Postma, Edwards, Mellberg, Samuel, Wright, De La Cruz, Hitzlsperger, Hendrie, Barry, Angel, Dublin
Jaaskelainen, Bergsson, Barness, Charlton, Whitlow, Nolan, Frandsen, Gardner, Okocha, Ricketts, Pedersen
Enckleman, Vassell (Angel 66), Ridgewell, Kinsella (Hitzlsperger 67), Cooke (De La Cruz 88)
Facey (Pedersen 60), Bulent (Nolan 85), Livesey, Tofting (Frandsen 75), Poole
Yellow :
Yellow :
No Goals scored

Not the best way to start 2003...

This was in reality quite an easy win for Villa. With Djorkaeff injured Bolton were too reliant on Okocha's skills alone, while at the back an error gifted them a goal. It's hard enough int he Premiership without giving experienced strikers like Dublin the time and space Bolton did with barely 10 minutes on the clock to allow him to sidefoot in. Despite Okocha's and Gardner's running. Bolton were short on chances and what opportunities they created, they missed. Allardyce has made much in post match of a clear tug on Ricektts shirt in the box that referee Matt Messias didn't give but the relaity is Bolton were the weaker of two pretty poor sides on the day.

The worst moment though was Villa's second goal. Vassell chased Bergsson back to the byline and the defender lost sight of the ball, only to find it was still in play, Vassell had it and was now in a shooting position which he took full advantage of. When your most consistent and experienced defender makes a mistake like that, it takes some coming back from.

And indeed Wanderer didn't. The late debut of Akin Bulent may mark this game in Wanderers hihstory should he turn into a future great, but otherwise it was immediately forgettable to Bolton fans.