Dindane strikes twice but Bolton can taste safety
Bolton Wanderers 2 Portsmouth 2
Aruna Dindane demonstrated why Portsmouth were so anxious to complete delicate international financial negotiations with his French employers this week, his two goals earning a deserved point at the Reebok but also offering his beleaguered club hope for their FA Cup final date with Chelsea.
The on-loan Ivory Coast forward had been kept out of the Portsmouth line-up since the FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham and out of League service since the middle of last month as one more appearance for Avram Grant's relegated side would have activated a permanent transfer and, with it, a £4 million fee to Lens.
However, Portsmouth were able to pay £200,000 to Lens to circumvent the clause in his loan deal, freeing Dindane to turn in a commanding performance that saw his team come from two goals behind and leave Bolton still needing one point to be certain of Premier League survival.
It was an impressive performance from Pompey, save for sporadic defensive lapses, and one which allowed Grant to repeat his plea for the club to be allowed into next season's Europa League, a move that is currently blocked by the FA.
"Those players and those fans are keeping the tradition going," he said. "They deserve a reward and someone at the FA or Premier League needs to give them a reward and not make them suffer because of the mistakes of others. I accept everything else but not playing in Europe I can't accept. This is a Cinderella story and that is what English football is about, not just the rich clubs. I just hope somebody will listen." They appear unlikely to do so, although with Dindane in the line-up, perhaps this "Cinderella story" – Ports-mouth's season more resembles a grotesque Grimm fairy tale – may have a happy ending at Wembley.
Chelsea will need to defend better than Bolton, who watched in the 54th minute as Dindane exchanged passes with Frédéric Piquionne and met the return to finish from 12 yards. In the 67th minute, Dindane secured the point as John Utaka capitalised on Gary Cahill's slip and crossed from the byline.
The goals cancelled out two in two minutes from Bolton. In the 26th minute Ivan Klasnic glanced in a Jack Wilshere cross before Kevin Davies (pictured) doubled the lead from Vladimir Weiss's well-timed pass.
There were numerous other chances, with both sides hitting the woodwork – Tommy Smith from 20 yards in the first half and Davies with a 91st- minute header – although the entertainment was wasted on Bolton's manager, Owen Coyle.
"We've let ourselves down in the second half and I won't accept it; I won't be happy just to stay in this League," said Coyle. "I want players with the same mentality and focus as myself, who want to be the best they can be."
Referee: H Webb
Man of the match: Dindane
Match rating: 7/10
Latest in Sport
A tight game could be in prospect here. Northampton have been keeping things very tight of late and ...
by Gareth Purnell
18 May 2013 02:01 AM
I can’t ever watch games of football or rugby without wistfully wondering what it must be like to be...
by Martin Ayres
16 May 2013 05:10 PM
Since PSG’s exit to Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League quarter-final in April, PSG have been sur...
by Matthew Riding
15 May 2013 02:37 PM
Aleksandar Kolarov accused of abusing Manchester City fans in ugly end to season
The Last Word: As David Beckham bows out, spare a thought for the ordinary players facing a crueller end
Arsene Wenger says Arsenal 'need stability and to strengthen in the summer' after qualifying for Champions League
Sam Wallace: The second coming of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea will be a reunion that can only end in tears
James Lawton: When will Arsène Wenger's Arsenal enter the Champions League as anything but a disposable asset?
- 1 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 2 British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 3 The moral case on tax avoidance is overwhelming - and we all know Google wants to do the right thing
- 4 Sam Wallace: The second coming of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea will be a reunion that can only end in tears
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.