XII) Newcastle United v. Bolton Wanderers

Newcastle welcomed Bolton to St. James’ Park after the International break, having secured a shock 2-0 away victory over a tricky Birmingham side.
With the Magpies sitting comfortably mid-table many fans are expecting a strong push for a European place this season.
Yet the table this year is incredibly tight, and a bad run of games could easily send them back down into a relegation dog fight.
Home matches are therefore becoming more and more crucial in order to pick up the 42 points which should guarantee Premier League football for next season.

In an entertaining first half Bolton were the first to create an opening, Kevin Davies heading wide from a corner in the first minute of play.
Newcastle replied through Leon Best, who again impressed with his all-action display, when he cut inside his defender but sent a curling effort agonisingly wide of the left post.
Typical of the game, Best had a shot blocked in the 9th minute, Bolton immediately setting off an a counter, with Colocinni this time managing to get his body in front of Stuart Holden’s effort.
Løvenkrands produced a fine flick towards goals from a Ryan Taylor cross moments later, though Jaaskelainen pulled off a brilliant stop.
The resulting corner was over hit, however Cheick Tiote kept the ball in play and sent in a dangerous cross, with which Kevin Nolan connected and sent a fantastic header into the far corner.
The infamous chicken dance from the Toon captain followed as he celebrated his first goal against his old club.

A hugely contentious decision soon followed as Best was free on goal and taken out from behind by Bolton defender Paul Robinson.
The Toon fans felt it was a clear penalty, however the linesman’s flag was up and upon viewing replays it was a borderline decision.
Enrique made a great run in the 27th minute and swung in a cross, Løvenkrands just failing to connect and Jaaskelainen getting a hand to the ball.
Best should have put in the rebound that fell to his feet however David Wheater blocked the effort and the danger was cleared.
Best and Taylor both had chances soon after, as the Magpies continued to look like grabbing a second.
However in the 38th minute Bolton took advantage of some sloppy defending to score a shock equaliser.
Colocinni attempted to pass the ball out of defence to Tiote however the usually reliable midfield rock lost out to Elmander, who fed Daniel Sturridge on the edge of the box.
The on-loan Chelsea player still had a bit to do but sent his powerful effort into the bottom corner for his 4th goal in as many games.

The Toon faithful were shocked into silence, while the Bolton fans sparked into life for the first time in the match.
As the Bolton support started singing “You only sing when you’re winning,” the Newcastle crowd gave a huge ironic cheer, immediately repaying the favour with “Your support is f*cking sh*it!”
The Newcastle players tried to get themselves back in front before the end of the half, an Enrique cross just evading the runs of Best and Løvenkrands.
Cheick Tiote received the ball on the edge of the area and immediately the Toon crowd screamed “Shoooooooooot” in reference to his winning effort against Arsenal two weeks earlier.
He did just that however Løvenkrands attempted to flick it on and the ball went just over the bar.
Bolton had the last chance of the first period, Johan Elmander beating the normally solid Enrique down the right hand side though his eventual shot was blocked for a corner.

The second period started where the first left off, with both sides getting forward whenever possible.
However the game was turned on its head in the 54th minute when Toon midfielder Ryan Taylor was red carded for a challenge on Elmander.
A poor touch took the ball away from Taylor and in his desire to regain possession he threw himself into a two legged lunge on Elmander.
While the initial decision looked harsh, replays show that the referee had no other choice.
It was a huge shame for the player, who was making his first start of the season and was Newcastle’s best player in the first half.
Naturally Bolton took control of the match with Gary Cahill forcing a diving save out of Steve Harper.
David Wheater received a yellow card for a terrible foul in the 59th minute, though the Geordie crowd were calling for red.
The referee refused, seemingly intent on increasing their frustration with a string of other dubious calls.

In the 65th minute the fans turned on the referee and his assistants as further infuriating decisions went Bolton’s way.
“The referee’s a w*nker!” was screamed out from all sides of the ground and fierce booing directed his way.
Løvenkrands and Gutierrez left the field in the 67th minute with Ranger and Steven Taylor entering play.
Simpson moved to right wing, while Enrique pushed up as well, and although it seemed like the Magpies were playing a 3-4-2, it was really a 4-3-2 without a left winger with Enrique expected to fill two positions.
Steven Taylor made a brilliant run from his defensive position soon after his introduction, screaming to the right by-line before sending in a neat cross.
Ranger rose well under pressure from Jaaskelainen and although the youngster made good contact he could only direct the ball wide of the goals.
Nolan’s knee was called upon to deflect a Martin Petrov effort over the Newcastle goals while Paul Robinson almost chested a Best cross into his own net.
The Toon fans were on the feet and celebrating when Ranger rose to head in an Enrique cross, however the linesman’s flag correctly ruled him to be offside as the game fizzled out.

The points were shared and it was probably a fair outcome given the circumstances.
It was a good point for the Magpies, especially considering Bolton had beaten them 5-1 in the corresponding fixture, and it took them one more point towards safety.
Sitting on 36 points with 10 games to play is a healthy position, and if the Magpies can finish in the top ten it will be a massive confidence boost and a platform to work from for the next season.

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