Bolton 0, Sunderland 0
I`d have taken a point before the game, but we dominated the majority of the game and poor finishing has cost us the maximum and probable safety. In a game where it took 92 minutes for either side to register a shot on target, we leave the Reebok with what looked an unlikely point before the game.
Kieran Richardson turned out to be the guiltiest player, wasting a number of decent opportunities. We had 13 shots on goal, none of which hit the target. In truth, with both teams starting with a 5 man midfield it`s hardly surprising that the game ended goalless.
Sunderland, in truth, had enough chances in the first half to ensure maximum points. But a combination of failure to hit the target and good defending from former Mackem Gavin McCann ensured the game remained goalless entering half time.
Early on, both Richardson and Grant Leadbitter shot wide from outside the box after collecting knockdowns from Kenwyne Jones. Grant then had another chance, cutting inside from the left and sent a drive just wide of the near post.
Kieran than missed another opportunity. Kenwyne did well to push Steed Malbranque's ball into Richardson's path, but could only fire over the bar from 12 yards out.
Yet another chance fell Richardson`s way after knockdown from Jones, but again his shot went over, this time from the edge of the penalty area.
And just before half-time, Richardson found himself with the opportunity to go through on goal after a mistake by former Mag Andy O'Brien, but just as he was going to pull the trigger, McCann slid in with a perfectly-timed challenge.
Bolton came back into it in the second half, but good chances for Richardson for Sunderland and Gary Cahill, Mark and Kevin Davies for Bolton were wasted, as both teams failed to hit the target.
Then, in the 92nd minute, Marton Fulop made himself a hero. With a fantastic diving save to his right to deny former Sunderland target Gary Cahill, pushing the ball out for a corner, Fulop could well have made a save that keeps us in the Premiership.
In more worrying news, Kenwyne Jones left the field with an ankle injury. The extent of the injury remains to be seen, but with us likely to stick with the same formation for the trip to Portsmouth a week on Monday, we have to hope that Kenwyne`s ok, even if he`s just sitting on the bench. However, with both teams possibly requiring a point in that game to guarantee safety I think both sets of fans will be happy with a 0-0 bore draw.
Before that trip, however, all eyes will be focused on Monday night`s game at St James`. If that game ends in a draw, today`s result may just be enough to keep us up. We currently lie in 16th place, moving to five points away from both Newcastle and Middlesbrough, who were joined by West Brom on 31 points after their 3-1 victory today. Meanwhile Hull City slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Stoke with Sunderland old boy Liam Lawrence bagging the second for the visitors, leaving Hull 3 points clear of the relegation zone and now 2 points behind us.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Kevin Davies, Muamba, McCann, Cohen (Mark Davies 46), Taylor, Elmander (Riga 67).
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Smolarek, Puygrenier, Makukula, Basham.
Booked: Cohen, Mark Davies
Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Davenport, Ferdinand, Collins, Whitehead, Tainio (Reid 80), Malbranque, Leadbitter, Richardson, Jones (Cisse 72).
Subs: Colgan, Edwards, Murphy, Healy, McShane
Ref: Rob Styles
Bolton 0, Sunderland 0
Possession: Bolton 37.1%, Sunderland 62.9%
Shots on Goal: Bolton 4, Sunderland 13
Shots on Target: Bolton 1, Sunderland 0
Corners: Bolton 9, Sunderland 3
Offsides: Bolton 1, Sunderland 1
Fouls Conceded: Bolton 12, Sunderland 5