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Saturday, 22 September, 2001, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Bolton hold Gunners
Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp
The Bolton defence frustrate Arsenal's Tony Adams
Arsenal 1-1 Bolton

Bolton, who had to play for over an hour with 10-men after Ricardo Gardner was sent off, left Highbury with a point to stay top of the table.

With just seven minutes remaining substitute Michael Ricketts equalised Francis Jeffers' goal for Arsenal, hooking a volley over David Seaman after good work by Rod Wallace.

Arsenal looked to have clinched the three points when Jeffers scored with a simple tap-in on 74 minutes, after Thierry Henry and Robert Pires had linked well.

If Ricardo Gardner touched Bergkamp it must have been with a feather, but it wasn't even the referee's decision and hiis assistant made it
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce
This top-of-the-table game rarely lived up to its billing.

Arsenal were strangely subdued while Bolton, once they were reduced to 10 men, were content to soak up the pressure exerted by Arsene Wenger's side.

The closest Arsenal came to scoring, before Jeffers' goal, was just before the hour when Sylvain Wiltord headed against the bar.

Important interventions

The game burst into life on the half-hour when referee Clive Wilkes sent off Gardner for pulling Dennis Bergkamp's shirt after the Dutchman had been sent clear by Thierry Henry.

Arsenal, both before and after the dismissal, had struggled to pierce Bolton's defensive ranks.

Sam Allardyce had opted to play Dean Holdsworth as a lone forward, leaving Ricketts and Wallace on the bench.

Sam Allardyce consoles Ricardo Gardner
Sam Allardyce consoles Ricardo Gardner

Paul Warhurst, sweeping in front of the Bolton defence, had a superb match and made a number of important interventions as Arsenal persistently ignored using the wings.

If it was not entertaining, it was certainly effective as Bolton's nine outfield players, working tirelessly, frustrated Arsenal time and again.

I don't think Bolton will finish in the top four because it is hard to imagine they will be able to defend like that for the whole season
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
For long periods the Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was only tested by a succession of tame long-range shots.

But Jaaskelainen did well to save Giovanni van Bronckhurst's shot after the Dutchman had been set up by a swift interchange of passes between Bergkamp and Henry.

Bolton's main threat came from the mazy dribbling of midfielder Jermaine Johnson.

He was making his debut after being signed from Jamaican club Tivoli Gardens on Wednesday.

Arsenal: Seaman, Cole, Adams, Grimandi, Luzhny, Vieira, Parlour, van Bronckhorst, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Henry. Subs: Pires, Ljungberg, Jeffers, Upson, Wright.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Whitlow, Bergsson, Warhurst, Barness, Charlton, Gardner, Nolan, Johnson, Pedersen, Holdsworth. Subs: Banks, N'Gotty, Ricketts, Wallace, Diawara.

Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucester).

BBC Sport's John Motson
"Take Bolton seriously"
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