FOOTBALL: DEADLY DAVIES; SOUTHAMPTON...1 Pahars 21 BOLTON...........2 Nolan 77, Davies 78 Kevin Returns to Have Big Sam Dancing the Samba
Byline: PETER WHITE
KEVIN DAVIES made sure there was plenty to dance about at St Mary's for the manager who could soon be known as Big Samba!
Davies returned to the club that booted him out at the end of last season to engineer a dramatic late fightback and earn Bolton a victory that looked beyond them until the final 15 minutes.
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce is still hopeful of adding to his multi-national squad by signing World Cup winner Rivaldo later this week.
But even before the Brazilian's possible arrival, there was no need for Big Sam to go nuts as Bolton's hopes of sneaking a UEFA Cup place were given a big lift.
Davies was described by Saints manager Paul Sturrock before the game as Bolton's most influential player this season. And the striker underlined his smart form as he laid on the equaliser for Kevin Nolan before heading home the winner.
Certainly Rivaldo would have relished the sweltering conditions. And as Saints wilted in the sunshine after Marian Pahars' opener, Davies dazzled to steal the points.
Pahars' months of frustration with injury problems were put firmly behind him as he showed the skills that continues to make him a firm favourite with the Saints' faithful.
Following two ankle operations, Pahars admitted he feared at one stage his career was over. But in only his sixth start of the campaign yesterday, he snatched a typical opportunist goal.
The Latvian fastened on to Paul Telfer's raking pass on 20 minutes, skipped past defender Anthony Barness and cleverly clipped his shot beyond keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
But Pahars and Saints had not reckoned with Bolton's determination as they stormed back from the brink of defeat.
Indeed, there was an uncertain start from Saints as Jay-Jay Okocha rattled keeper Antti Niemi's bar with a rasping 35-yarder, before Graeme Le Saux hobbled off in the 10th minute with a recurrence of his hamstring problem.
But after their early surge Bolton found themselves on the back foot as Saints' English strike pair of James Beattie and Kevin Phillips tested them.
Phillips tried a cheeky overhead kick that drifted only just wide, then Beattie met Telfer's corner with a trademark venomous header that flashed inches over the bar. …