Jaaskelainen stars and surely saves Bolton

Wigan Athletic 0 Bolton Wanderers 0
Click to follow
The Independent Football

If there is one thing declining faster than Britain's credit rating it's the number of points required to stay in the Premier League. Last week it was 40 points, after yesterday it could have receded to 37 which leaves Bolton Wanderers in no-man's land.

They gained a point at the JJB Stadium but whether it was the final push that made sure they will be playing with the elite next season was debatable. Gary Megson's demeanour at the end, jovially shaking the hands of anyone he could reach suggested he was satisfied.

"We are limping across the line but I don't see anyone else sprinting, some are stalling and some are going backwards," he said. "It was a good point because it pushed us further away from the bottom three." For Wigan the result marked an improvement of sorts – they were the only Premier League side to lose every game in April – but it also almost certainly spelt the end of their Europa League aspirations. You suspect they will live with the disappointment. "We should have been out of sight," their manager Steve Bruce said, "but our Achilles heel is that we don't score enough goals."

Bolton's need for points meant they had more to play for but you would not have known it. Within two minutes Jussi Jaaskelainen had to spring low to his left and was fortunate when his save from Hugo Rodallega's shot hit the post and rolled along the line.

Soon afterwards the Bolton goalkeeper beat away Charles N'Zogbia's volley and then astonished Rodallega with a point-blank save after 14 minutes. The visitors had barely made it over the halfway line but a hint of their ability to make the most of limited opportunities came just before Rodallega's second effort. Gavin McCann's free-kick was cleared from the edge of the area where Gary Cahill volleyed. The ball flicked off a defender and hit the bar.

Given this start, the rest of the match was an anti-climax. Jaaskelainen made another good save to deny Mido's 30-yard effort just before half-time and Kevin Davies headed against the bar in the 85th minute but Bolton's captain had already been blown up for a push.

Unfulfilled and physical: it summed up the match. "You've three minutes to discuss the highlights," Bruce said. It did not take that long.

Attendance: 18,655

Referee: Mike Jones

Man of the match: Jaaskelainen

Match rating: 5/10