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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 May, 2003, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Bolton force vital draw
Jussi Jaskelainen looks on as Brett Ormerod rues a missed opportunity
Ormerod rues his amazing miss
Southampton 0-0 Bolton

Bolton stood firm at St Mary's to force a point which leaves Premiership survival in their own hands.

The goalless draw leaves Sam Allardyce's side ahead of West Ham on goal difference and knowing that victory at home to Middlesbrough on the final day of the season will guarantee their place in the top flight.

That knowledge meant Bolton created few chances and the visitors were happy to play on the break in the hope of snatching a priceless win.

In fact, they should have taken the lead following their first real opening on 25 minutes, when Jay-Jay Okocha crossed deep to the far post, where Pedersen could only sidefoot wide with Paul Williams stranded.

But Southampton created far more chances as they looked to improve on their best ever Premiership finish of 10th.

Brett Ormerod fired straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen after peeling away from Florent Laville to collect Wayne Bridge's pass.

13 mins: Ormerod shoots straight at Jaaskelainen
25 mins: Pedersen sidefoots wide from Okocha cross
60 mins: Ormerod fails to connect in front of open goal
And Anders Svensson saw a close-range snap shot kept out by the legs of Jaaskelainen, one of two Finnish keepers on show at St Mary's.

The other, Antti Niemi, remained largely under employed as Southampton continued to pose most of the problems.

James Beattie thought he had broken the deadlock 10 minutes before half-time when he found the net with a clever finish, but the striker had already been ruled offside.

Beattie then sent a free-kick over the Bolton bar as he battled gamely to draw level with Ruud van Nistelrooy in the race for the Golden Boot prize for the Premiership's top goal scorer.

Beattie turned provider on the hour when he brilliantly controlled a Fabrice Fernandes pass and hit a centre that deflected off Laville and into the path of the onrushing Ormerod.

But the former Blackpool striker could not get a clean touch in front of an open goal and saw Jaaskelainen scoop up the loose ball.

That was the most glaring miss of a game which lacked highlights and was as close as either side came to a winner.

The tension, particularly for Bolton boss Sam Allardyce, rarely lifted.

But one moment of comedy was provided by midfielder Fernandes, who threw himself to the floor in mock indignation at a decision which went against him - and was promptly booked by humourless referee Paul Dowd.

Southampton: Niemi, Telfer, Michael Svensson, Williams, Bridge, Fernandes, Anders Svensson, Oakley, Marsden, Ormerod, Beattie. Subs: Jones, Prutton, Higginbotham, Tessem, Aaron Davies.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Gardner, Laville, Mendy, Bergsson, N'Gotty, Okocha, Campo, Frandsen, Pedersen, Djorkaeff. Subs: Poole, Nolan, Andre, Salva, Charlton.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire)

BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"Neither side did enough to win the game"

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
"A point can still make all the difference in the end"



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