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Last Updated:  Saturday, 22 February, 2003, 14:01 GMT
Solskjaer saves Man Utd
Bruno N'Gotty is mobbed by his Bolton team-mates
Bolton's players mob N'Gotty
Bolton 1-1 Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struck late on to salvage a less than deserved draw for Manchester United at Bolton.

The United striker capitalised on a mistake by Ricardo Gardner to steal a share of the points, but again Sir Alex Ferguson's side failed to draw level with leaders Arsenal.

The Gunners take on Manchester City later in the afternoon with a two-point cushion, which they could stretch to five with victory at Maine Road.

Bolton had taken the lead in the second half courtesy of Bruno N'Gotty and were only denied further goals by the excellence of United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.

WHAT IT MEANS AT THE TOP
1 Arsenal played 27, points 57
2 Man Utd played 28, points 55
Yet United refused to accept defeat and Bolton once more conceded in the dying stages, with Solskjaer popping up with the all-important strike.

Sir Alex made three changes to the side which narrowly defeated Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.

John O'Shea, Solskjaer and Juan Sebastian Veron entered the fray for the visitors.

Yet the shake-up, due in part to injuries to Paul Scholes and Mikael Silvestre, failed to rouse United from the lethargy which had permeated their display in midweek.

KEY INCIDENTS
61 mins: N'Gotty heads Bolton into the lead
63 mins: Jaaskelainen denies Keane
90 mins: Solskjaer equalises for United
Given that United could have drawn level on points with Arsenal with a win, they failed to gauge the magnitude of the game against struggling Bolton.

It was testament to Sam Allardyce's well-organised team that they kept United at bay, limiting their opponents to just one real chance before half time.

Wes Brown, who scored his first goal for United against Juve, could have repeated the feat, but he failed to direct his header on target.

Minutes later, Bolton debutant Florent Laville almost scored an own-goal, goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen retrieving the situation to keep the score level.

Those two moments belied the quality of Bolton's own play, which had been packed with energy and creativity.

Manchester United defender Wes Brown and Bolton player Youri Djorkaeff
Djorkaeff was impressive for Bolton
The hosts had fashioned the better openings in the first half, with Jay-Jay Okocha, Henrik Pedersen, Ivan Campo and Bernard Mendy all going close.

Pedersen should have twice opened the scoring for Bolton, but somehow contrived to waste both opportunities when it looked easier to score.

The Danish forward continued to pose a threat to the United defence after the interval before he was forced off with an injury.

Pedersen's withdrawal did not prove too much of a handicap for Bolton and they deservedly took the lead on 61 minutes.

N'Gotty got the final touch to Djorkaeff's free-kick to send a record Reebok crowd into raptures.

The goal temporarily stung United into action and Roy Keane should have restored parity immediately, but his shot was well-saved by Jaaskelainen.

United pushed forward in search of an equaliser they simply did not merit.

However, it came and was the result of the injured David Beckham's never-say-die attitude and the predatory instincts of Solskjaer.


Bolton: Jaaskelainen, N'Gotty, Bergsson, Laville, Charlton, Okocha, Campo, Gardner, Mendy (Barness 82), Pedersen (Salva 57), Djorkaeff (Nolan 85).
Subs Not Used: Poole, Andre.

Booked: Campo.

Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Brown (Phil Neville 74), Ferdinand, O'Shea, Beckham, Keane, Veron (Butt 80), Giggs (Forlan 57), van Nistelrooy, Solskjaer.
Subs Not Used: Ricardo, Fletcher.

Booked: Keane.

Attendance: 27,409.

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"Bolton were hungry and impressive"


Bolton manager Sam Allardyce
"It's complete and utter dejection"



BOLTON WANDERERS

MANCHESTER UNITED

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