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Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Boro frustrate Saints
Anders Svensson tries to find a way through Jonathan Greening (left) and George Boateng (right)
Svensson came close either side of half-time
Southampton 0-0 Middlesbrough

Southampton's poor opening-day record continued as they were held to a goalless draw by Middlesbrough at St Mary's.

Saints have won just once on day one of the league in 14 attempts and, despite having the better of the chances, failed to find the net.

Swedish international Anders Svensson had the best openings in either half of an entertaining contest.

But the Southampton midfielder was kept out by the side netting in the first half and Boro goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer 15 minutes from time.

  Key moments
2 mins: Maccarone halted by Jones
23 mins: Svensson hits side netting
61 mins: Marsden long-range effort is spilled but kept out
73 mins: Svensson header fended off by Schwarzer

In contrast, Middlesbrough striker Massimo Maccarone had a disappointing Premiership debut.

The Italian Under-21 striker almost had a dream start as he raced onto Carlos Marinelli's through ball.

But Paul Jones dived at his feet to halt Maccarone on one of just two occasions he successfully broke off the shackles of Claus Lundekvam.

I think we did enough to win the game and I'm happy with the way we played
Southampton manager Gordon Strachan

After Boro's sprightly opening, their energy rapidly dissipated, as the pressure mounted on Schwarzer, who kept his side in the game.

Marian Pahars was a surprise starter for Saints following a groin injury and blasted the home side's first effort over the bar after 11 minutes.

Svensson came closest as he tried to edge the ball in from the tightest of angles, but the shot went just wide.

Boksic burst

The second half started in similar fashion, Middlesbrough looking bright in the early exchanges before Saints once again stamped their authority on the match.

Jo Tessem's arrival for Pahars added extra zip to their attack and almost immediately after his arrival, Chris Marsden unleashed a sharp 25-foot drive.

Schwarzer bundled his initial save but quickly gathered.

Once again, though, it was Svensson who looked on course to score - 15 minutes from the final whistle.

At this stage of the season everybody is bedding in their team and it is satisfactory to come away with a point
Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren

Fabrice Fernandes whipped in the cross for the Swede but his header down lacked the power to trouble Schwarzer.

Alen Boksic's arrival for the final stages of the match turned the tide once again and the Croatian looked the likeliest to sneak a winner.

But Lundekvam, who had capably marked Maccarone out of the game, managed to keep him out too.

Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Lundekvam, Williams, Bridge, Delap, Marsden, Anders Svensson, Fernandes (Telfer 90), Beattie, Pahars (Tessem 59).
Subs not used: Moss, Michael Svensson, Ormerod.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Stockdale, Ehiogu, Southgate, Greening, Geremi, Boateng, Marinelli, Murphy (Cooper 15), Whelan (Nemeth 46), Maccarone (Boksic 74).
Subs not used: Crossley, Boksic, Wilson.

Attendance: 28,341

Referee: B Knight (Kent).

BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"Mid-table comfort lies ahead for this pair"
Middlsebrough boss Steve McClaren
"We got stronger as the game went on"
Southampton's Chris Marsden
"We're happy not to lose and keep a clean sheet"
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