CARLING CUP: BOLTON 1 – SAINTS 0 (AET)
In a night of highs and lows, but only one objective at The Reebok, Saints slipped to a 115th-minute loss that disposed them out of the Carling Cup at the quarter-final phase.
Ultimately, Saints were delegated rue three missed possibilities in the final seconds of regular time.
They got more powerful as the video game went into the final phases and after that into extra-time, but one squashing minute wound up costing them dear.
The first half was a generally uneventful affair which Bolton bossed.
Their dominance came in the midfield, where Ivan Campo beinged in front of the defence directing operations and developing the area out broad for Sam Allardyce’s difficult males to attempt and weave their magic.
After just two minutes, Henrik Pedersen’s header was fantastically saved by Antti Niemi and the follow-up bravely blocked by Michael Svensson.
Niemi likewise needed to be on his defend against Jay Okocha while Stelios and Kevin Davies also threatened.
For Saints, Paul Telfer’s conserved long drive and Agustin Delgado’s difficult near post backheel were as close as they came.
Gordon Strachan will have been pleased to get his side in level at half time.
They re-organised and re-shuffled and looked better.
Svensson made Kevin Poole punch clear at a corner however then Bolton took control of once again with a couple of likelihoods once again.
Okocha drove wide from range while Niemi once again proved why he is the very best keeper in the Premiership by tipping over from Nicky Hunt from distance.
The duel between Okocha and Niemi continued as the Finn again conserved from the Nigerian before ex-Saint Simon Charlton drove the ball on to the bar.
After that, Strachan made two modifications with Delgado, making his very first start given that December 1 2002, being changed by Chris Marsden.
Marian Pahars pushed up front for two minutes before he likewise came off for Neil McCann.
There were a number of walk around with McCann being a striker, then a midfielder, with Rory Delap doing a good task as a makeshift striker.
It assisted as both Delgado and Pahars battle with the rate of the tie and both looked short of fitness on a cold night.
And it had to do with this time that Saints came strong again, and remained the greatest throughout the rest of the game.
Niemi saved from Okocha on 77 minutes and after that, on 82 minutes, Jason Dodd conserved his side with a brilliant far post defensive header as alternative Mario Jardel looked to finish from close quarters.
But then, in the lasts of the second half, Saints had the chances to win the tie – if any of them had entered, there was inadequate time for Bolton to get back into it.
Brett Ormerod’s shot was turned over by Poole before Delap got in a strong header from Dodd’s corner which was hacked off the line by Ibrahim Ba.
Simply seconds later, Ormerod should have done much better when he burst through.
The in-form striker – 3 objectives in 2 games – did well to beat the offside trap and had three males spare in the running ahead of him. The angle wasn’t on for a quick ball but, instead of run at goal and after that shoot or square, he drifted a bit broad and wasn’t able to benefit from the situation.
Then, only seconds after that, Ricardo Gardner was robbed by Dodd who squared to the feet of Delap.
He swivelled and struck the ball very first time, however the shot whistled simply large.
The very first half of extra-time was fairly uneventful with McCann’s ball to David Prutton, whose shot was deflected wide, being the finest possibility.
But in the last 15 minutes of the added time, Bolton grabbed the lead and a semi-final location.
With 115 of the 120 minutes gone, Saints’ hearts were broken.
Youri Djorkaeff’s corner from the left was inadvertently flicked on by Delap. It fell at the far post to Anthony Barness, who had only simply come on.
He fired a wicked very first time effort into the centre of the Saints goal, where Pedersen turned it in from close quarters.
In general, Bolton most likely simply shaded it – however it was still difficult on Saints, whose League Cup hopes have now passed away at The Reebok two times in 3 seasons.
The dream of Cardiff for this season now counts on the FA Cup … we’ve been here before.