Financial figures can be soporific but they can also focus minds. When the Southampton chairman, Nicola Cortese, took the unusual step of publicising the balance sheet of the last six months of last year on Friday, the value of staying in the Premier League was demonstrated as succinctly as in any team talk.

Up until Southampton's promotion, they were paying out player wages equal to 102% of their turnover, but that figure has since dropped to 58%, despite the club investing heavily in the summer transfer market. And so Mauricio Pochettino's side took to the field at Carrow Road with swashbuckling swagger where they might have been expected to settle for a point.

With Ricky Lambert as a focal point, Pochettino selected an attacking midfield of Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Gastón Ramírez, whose names evoked a sense of exoticism amid Norwich's earnest yeomen. Perhaps not so exotic – Rodriguez is from Burnley, Lallana from St Albans and Ramírez – albeit Uruguayan – counts Fray Bentos as his home town. Nevertheless, they schemed for diminishing returns on a steak and kidney pudding of a pitch amid sleet that solidified into a blizzard.

How Southampton, with 22 shots at goal to Norwich's five, found themselves a kick away from defeat will go down as a minor mystery, but Grant Holt's 90th-minute penalty was saved by the Southampton keeper, Artur Boruc. The Pole could euphemistically be described as one of the game's characters given the path he has taken since establishing himself as among the most coveted keepers in Europe while at Celtic before this spell at Southampton, where he arrived as a free agent three weeks after the summer window had shut amid fears over the form of the incumbent, Kelvin Davis.

Nicknamed the "Holy Goalie" on account of his Catholicism and a taste for blessing himself during Old Firm matches, Boruc seemed determined to become a Saint but his canonisation has been troubled. After the defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in October, Boruc was alleged to have thrown a water bottle in the direction of the Southampton fans, and although he was cleared of any wrongdoing by a club inquiry some antipathy remains.

"We all have a past," said Pochettino. "We all have something that we have done in the past. But basically Boruc's save meant one point for us."

Boruc feels the point will contribute to the club securing a second season in the Premier League. "I'm quite confident that we will stay up," the 33-year-old said. "We don't look like a team who should be relegated and that's the main thing. I think it's a matter of time and we are going to grab points."

Whether Norwich should have been awarded their first penalty of the campaign was the subject of a heated debate between Pochettino and the referee, Mark Clattenburg, who had considered awarding Norwich a free-kick for the trip on Holt before deciding, amid the snowstorm, that the offence had occurred beyond the whitewash. Chris Hughton's side could have moved into the top half of the table with a victory, but instead they had to settle for a sixth goalless draw of the season despite the manager experimenting with a more attacking 4-4-2 formation.

"The table would look an awful lot different without those 0-0s. Even though we weren't as fluent as we would have liked, we played two up front and that is an indication that we are endeavouring to try to get goals," Hughton said.

"At this moment, we are nine points clear of the bottom three. Would we have settled for this at the start of the season? Yes, I think we would."

Man of the match: Artur Boruc (Southampton)