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Last Updated: Monday, 21 April, 2003, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Bolton hold Rovers
Bolton defender Gudni Bergsson tussles with Blackburn Rovers striker Andrew Cole
Cole missed an absolute sitter
Blackburn 0-0 Bolton

Blackburn and Bolton shared the spoils in a disappointing stalemate at Ewood Park.

Billed as a Lancashire hot-pot, the encounter failed to whet the appetite.

Rovers were left to rue the profligacy of Andy Cole, while Bolton may yet regret the decision to settle for a point with West Ham beating Middlesbrough 1-0 as the battle to avoid relegation intensifies.

Given that both teams had something to play for going into the game - Blackburn a place in Europe, Bolton their Premiership status - the atmosphere at Ewood Park bordered on the soporific.

Graeme Souness' well-organised side, or rather Damien Duff, produced the more engaging moments of a goalless first half.

The Republic of Ireland international was his usual busy self, full of running and doing his best to rattle Bolton's rearguard.

And he deserved a goal for single-handedly keeping the onlooking spectators awake.

Duff tested Jussi Jaaskelainen early on, leaving Bolton's defenders chasing shadows before unleashing a right-footed shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Duff denied

Minutes later, the Blackburn winger picked out Cole with a delightful cross, but the striker contrived to head over from four yards out with the goal at his mercy.

It was a terrible miss by Cole, who then went on to spurn another gilt-edged opportunity, again provided by Duff, to open the scoring for Blackburn.

There was cause to celebrate during the half-time interval, though, when Accrington Stanley were presented with the trophy for winning the UniBond League and a place in the Nationwide Conference next season.

Bolton seemed content to hold out for a draw following their heroic exertions against West Ham on Saturday and were grateful to Bernard Mendy for preserving the deadlock.

The Frenchman cleared off his line shortly after the restart to deny Duff, who had ran onto Cole's superbly-weighted pass.

With the game entering its final stages, Bruno N'Gotty managed to hack away another effort by the irrepressible Duff and Bolton manager Sam Allardyce made and won his point.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Berg (Taylor 55), Short, Gresko, Dunn, Tugay, Flitcroft, Duff, Sukur, Cole. Subs not used: Grabbi, Yorke, Ostenstad, Kelly.
Booked: Duff, Cole.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Gardner, Bergsson, Laville, N'Gotty, Frandsen (Nolan 84), Campo, Djorkaeff (Andre 60), Mendy, Pedersen, Okocha. Subs not used: Whitlow, Barness, Poole.
Booked: Laville, Campo, Mendy.

Attendance: 28,862

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"A tame Lancashire derby but a vital point for Bolton"



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