Sat 26 Feb 11
at 17:45 PM
Report: Newcastle 1 Wanderers 1
Wanderers extended their unbeaten run to four matches with a creditable 1-1 draw at St James' Park.
It was looking like the 1,642 travelling fans would be in for a long afternoon when Kevin Nolan headed Newcastle in front early on.
But after Wanderers dug deep to keep it to a one goal deficit, Daniel Sturridge made it four goals in four games with a well-taken equaliser before half-time.
Wanderers piled on the pressure after the interval when Newcastle were reduced to ten men following Ryan Taylor's straight red for a wild challenge on Johan Elmander.
But Owen Coyle had to settle for a point - one which moved his side up to seventh in the Barclays Premier League table.
Jussi Jaaskelainen, Johan Elmander and Daniel Sturridge all returned to the starting line-up as Manager Owen Coyle made three changes to his winning team at Fulham.
As for the hosts, Alan Pardew had originally named Joey Barton in his starting line-up, however after sustaining an injury in the warm-up, Ryan Taylor was forced to take the former Manchester City man's place.
Both teams had entered the game on the back of some impressive results, and it was evident from the start that two confident teams were taking to the field.
Right from the first whistle it was end-to-end action as a Gary Cahill back-heel brought Steve Harper into the action inside the first minute, while Daniel Sturridge attempted an audacious 40 yard chip after spotting the Newcastle goalkeeper fractionally off his line.
Leon Best was looking exceptionally lively in the Magpies' frontline and a curling effort from the former Coventry City man landed only inches wide of the post.
With chances aplenty in the opening exchanges, an early goal seemed inevitable and unfortunately for Bolton it was the home team that broke the deadlock.
Kevin Nolan had endured a torrid return to the Reebok back in November when Wanderers triumphed 5-1, but the Newcastle skipper enjoyed better fortune this time around when he nipped in front of his marker to convert Cheik Tiote's cross with his head in the 13th minute.
With near on 50,000 voices roaring the home side forward, Wanderers had to dig in for a ten-minute period as Newcastle launched an onslaught on Jaaskelainen's goal in search of their second strike.
Best continued to cause countless problems, firstly heading over at the far post before having a penalty appeal turned down when tumbling under a Paul Robinson challenge inside the penalty box.
Best again came close when his acrobatic attempt was blocked inside the six-yard box by David Wheater, while full-back Marcos Alonso also had to put his body on the line to stop the hosts doubling their advantage.
But with a forward line boasting Kevin Davies, Johan Elmander and Daniel Sturridge, Bolton were always going to cause problems themselves. And after digging in and defending for their lives at one end of the field, they showed quality at the other when the equaliser was found ten minutes before the break.
Neat, intricate build-up play on the right culminated in Elmander playing the ball into the feet of Sturridge on the edge of the box, and in the blink of an eye the ball was in the back of the net as the Chelsea loanee fired low past Harper with his left foot.
Five minutes later and Bolton could have completely turned the game on its head as Sturridge again was involved in the thick of the action once more. This time the number 15 was the architect as he showed Jose Enrique a pair of quick heels on the touchline before squaring to Elmander, whose goal-bound effort was charged down by Williamson.
After Enrique and Cahill tested their respective opponents' goalkeepers in the opening minutes of the second-half, the contest reached fever pitch on 54 minutes when Ryan Taylor was sent-off for a reckless tackle on Elmander.
Referee Chris Foy had no hesitation in reaching for his red card when, after a poor first touch, Taylor launched into a two-footed challenge on the Sweden international, one which left the Bolton forward requiring treatment from physiotherapist Andy Mitchell.
The numerical advantage certainly played into Wanderers' favour as they were able to get grip on the midfield areas and pin Newcastle back deep into their own territory, to an extent where Alan Pardew replaced roaming winger Jonas Gutierrez with defender Steven Taylor in a safety first approach.
Davies glanced a header wide of the post, Alonso blazed over the bar from 20 yards and Petrov saw a far post effort cleared from under the crossbar from Nolan.
Indeed, Bolton continued to plug away as they sought a way past Harper, and with just over ten minutes remaining Mark Davies was thrown on as a replacement for Muamba to offer more of a spark in centre midfield.
But after soaking up plenty of pressure, Newcastle offered a late rally in which they too could have scored the decisive winning goal.
Long-range efforts from Enrique and Nolan sailed way over the target, while Robinson's chest back to Jaaskelainen had the home supporters off their seats when was the Finland keeper collected the ball no more than a yard in front of his own goal-line.
And deep into stoppage time a linesman's flag came to the rescue when substitute Nile Ranger beat Jaaskelainen to the ball to head into the empty net, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside.
All in all it was a well-earned point for Owen Coyle's men, who have now only conceded one goal in their last four matches and sit well poised in the table with just ten Premier League fixtures remaining.
Newcastle: Harper, Coloccini Enrique, Nolan, Williamson, Ryan Taylor, Lovenkrands (Ranger 67), Simpson, Gutierrez (Steven Taylor 67), Best (Kuqi 90), Tiote (Subs not used: Campbell, Perch, Ferguson, Krul)
Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Cahill, Wheater, Robinson, Petrov (Taylor 85), Muamba (Mark Davies 79), Holden, Elmander, Sturridge, Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Bogdan, Steinsson, Klasnic, Rodrigo, Chung-Yong Lee)