IT was a moment that changed the course of Bolton Wanderers’ history… but nearly 30 years on, Keith Branagan admits he was somewhat in the dark about his famous penalty save against Reading.

Should Nathan Baxter face a spot kick at Wembley, he will have information relayed to him in an instant on percentages involved.

Back in 1995, the homework Branagan had been able to compile by watching VHS tapes of the Endsleigh Football League highlights every week was rendered useless when the Royals’ regular taker, Jimmy Quinn, was not named in the starting line-up.

Stuart Lovell was the man who accepted responsibility after Jason McAteer had fouled Michael Gilkes, and with Wanderers already trailing 2-0, the outlook seemed grim.

“I’m surprised any Bolton fans were still in the stadium at that point,” Branagan told The Bolton News. “Whenever anyone tells me about it, they always start by telling me they were halfway down the stairs ready to leave!

“My heart sank when the ref gave it. I knew he was going to, it was a silly challenge from Jason.

“It was a sinking feeling but I looked around to see who was going to take it, I hadn’t got a clue. When he picked the ball up I thought he didn’t look overly confident.

“It is a massive occasion and it takes someone who plays at that level over and over again to be clever with a penalty. I wasn’t on that stage year-in, year-out, neither was he, I just thought he’d put his foot through it and so I went to my right. It proved a decent decision in the end!”

From there, Wanderers fought back with goals from Owen Coyle and Fabian DeFreitas to force extra time. Mixu Paatelainen put the Whites ahead and DeFreitas added a fourth before Quinn – on as a sub – grabbed a consolation.

It was one of the greatest comebacks Wembley had ever seen, giving Bolton their first promotion to the Premier League and making Branagan an instant hero.

He played 262 other games for Bolton over eight different seasons, and regularly crops up in discussions of the best keepers to have played for the club. Being synonymous with one moment has not always sat well, but Branagan admits time has altered his view.

He said: “It used to bug me a bit, I’d think I played more than one game for Bolton. But then as the years go on you realise if you can be remembered for one thing, it isn’t so bad.

“In fact, I have been in the loft this week and I have just found the gloves that I saved it with – I have no idea what I’ll do with them.

“I gave everything away. I kept one or two things but most things I just gave to people who asked me, even on the day I gave the shirt away because the ball-boy who was with us had a bag of socks, shorts, shin pads and boots but didn’t have a single shirt, so I passed him mine.

“I believe that it has been bought back by a fan who goes to Wanderers games, so it is nice to know it is still in circulation somewhere!”