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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 May, 2003, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Bolton seal survival
Per Frandsen celebrates his opener at the Reebok Stadium
Frandsen celebrates his opener
Bolton 2-1 Middlesbrough

Bolton booked a third successive season in the Premiership, despite a nail-biting final half-hour against Middlesbrough at the Reebok Stadium.

Needing victory to guarantee survival ahead of West Ham, Bolton looked to have ensured the Reebok nerve ends were not frayed more than necessary as they raced into a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes.

But former Bolton striker Michael Ricketts came off the Boro bench to score his first goal for Steve McClaren's side and set up a nerve-jangling finale to a remarkable season.

Sam Allardyce's men had grabbed control of their own destiny in an impressive opening spell as goals from Per Frandsen and Jay-Jay Okocha undid Middlesbrough.

From the moment Frandsen opened the scoring with a sweet shot from the edge of the area, Bolton relaxed.

Allardyce's side played with freedom and supporters put their radios away, safe in the knowledge that news from St Andrews was superfluous to their fate.

10 mins: Frandsen lashes home superb opener
21 mins: Okocha free-kick makes it 2-0
60 mins: Ricketts strikes against his former club
78 mins: Queudrue sent off for foul on Campo

But Ricketts' goal on the hour saw the radios return and the nails gnawed once more.

Boro were never likely to be a pushover, with a highest-ever Premiership finish of eighth within their grasp.

They travelled to the Reebok with the best defensive record outside the top five - though more pertinent was their woeful away record of just three Premiership wins and as many draws.

Bolton were quick to increase that travel sickness.

Within five minutes, Bernard Mendy and Henrik Pedersen had both sent shots narrowly wide of a post.

But the breakthrough arrived courtesy of some comical Boro defending.

George Boateng's defensive pass put Jonathan Greening in trouble and the midfielder was robbed by Frandsen, who took two steps forward and lashed a shot beyond Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the box.

Ten minutes later, Greening again had a say in Bolton's crucial second goal.

His awful challenge on Ricardo Gardner rightly earned the former Manchester United midfielder a booking and, more importantly, gave Okocha a sight of goal from the edge of the penalty area.

The Nigerian midfielder needed no second invitation, curling his free-kick beyond the groping hands of Schwarzer to give Bolton an unassailable lead.

That, in truth, should have been that.

But when Brazilian midfielder Juninho's curling free-kick forced a brilliant save from Jussi Jaskelainen, the seeds of doubt were sewn.


McClaren breathed life into Boro's fading challenge with three half-time substitutions, including the introduction of former Bolton striker Ricketts.

It would have been a bitter irony had the big striker snatched away his former team-mates' survival lifeline, having scored seven Premiership goals for the Trotters this season.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man - and with 60 minutes showing on the clock Ricketts finally registered his first goal in a Middlesbrough shirt.

Juninho set Stuart Parnaby clear down the right and his low cross was turned home by the onrushing Ricketts, though the striker seemed offside when the ball was played in.

From a position of comfort, Bolton were suddenly nervous.

But Allardyce's side commendably kept their cool, even when Boro were losing theirs.

Defender Franck Quedrue was unlucky to be booked following an outlandish dive by Ivan Campo on the edge of the Boro penalty area.

But when the French defender sought revenge with a late lunge on Campo seconds later, referee Rob Styles had little option but to produce a straight red.

Bolton were keen to sign off in style, Okocha seeing a stunning volley superbly saved by Schwarzer.

But news of West Ham's lapses signalled the start of the Reebok celebrations, as Bolton celebrated three successive years in the top flight for the first time in 40 years.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, N'Gotty, Bergsson, Whitlow, Gardner, Mendy (Nolan 72), Frandsen, Campo, Okocha, Djorkaeff (Charlton 89), Pedersen (Andre 66).
Subs Not Used: Poole, Salva.

Booked: Frandsen, Mendy, N'Gotty.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Parnaby, Riggott, Southgate, Queudrue, Greening (Ricketts 45), Boateng, Wilkshire, Juninho Paulista, Maccarone (Doriva 45), Christie (Downing 45).
Subs Not Used: Crossley, Davies.

Sent Off: Queudrue (78).

Booked: Greening, Boateng.

Attendance: 27,241.

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).

BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"Bolton played their way out of trouble"

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
"A wonderful display"

Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15



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