Jussi proves he's still spot on with penalty save

Villa fans may disagree but I think we fully deserved the three points on Saturday.

Referee Kevin Friend and his assistants were awful, and had Villa scored from the spot, it would have been game over, and there may well have been a riot.

The world and his wife saw the ball go out of play seconds before David Wheater’s clumsy challenge on Ashley Young.

It is not the first time Friend has had a poor show at the Reebok – he red carded our keeper earlier this season against Birmingham City before going on to anger the Blues fans by awarding us a soft penalty later in the game.

On that occasion, we took full advantage, but luckily, Mr Reliable – Jussi Jaaskelainen – saved our bacon on Saturday.

The Big Finn underlined his quality in the second half with a superb penalty save.

Wanderers’ defence has not been watertight for a good 18 months now and at times, his credentials have been called into question.

All this while Ali Al Habsi’s performances down the road at the DW Stadium for Wigan this season have rightly been earning him rave reviews.

This has led some to question Owen Coyle’s wisdom in letting the Oman shot-stopper go out on loan so readily at the start of the season.

But the two keepers enjoyed mixed fortunes at the weekend.

Al Habsi’s howler gifted Man City a narrow victory over Wigan, while Jaaskelainen’s own game-changing moment brought back memories of Keith Branagan’s penalty save against Reading in the 1995 Play-Off Final at Wembley.

That Jussi has never played for one of the big teams is a travesty – but it is something we should be thankful for.

He has handed us more victories over the years than any top striker – and on Saturday, the 35-year-old proved that after 12 seasons and nearly 500 games as Bolton’s Number 1, he’s still got it.

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