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Match Report


Posted Mon 26 Dec 11 at 17:24 PM

Report: Bolton 0 Newcastle 2

Two goals in as many second-half minutes ensured that it was Newcastle United who delivered the knock-out blow on Boxing Day.

After a tight and even three quarters of the game, substitute Hatem Ben Arfa and in-form frontman Demba Ba struck quick-fire goals to earn a 2-0 win for Alan Pardew's men.

Martin Petrov was a constant threat throughout the 90 minutes, both when he was shooting at goal and crossing from the left flank.

David Ngog

There were two changes on the teamsheet from the win over Blackburn, with Paul Robinson and Dedryck Boyata replacing Marcos Alonso and Gretar Steinsson in the full-back positions. There was also a return on the bench for Sam Ricketts, who had spent the last ten months recovering from a snapped Achilles tendon.

The Reebok was rocking come kick-off as all tickets were sold out on what was a very mild afternoon in the North-West. There was a healthy crowd of 26,080 packed into the stadium, which was the highest recorded home attendance of the campaign to date.

It was a cagey opening to the game, and 15 minutes passed by with very little happening. It was fair to say, though, that the visitors started the brightest and after an uneventful passage of play, Ryan Taylor was a full-stretch Jussi Jaaskelainen save away from breaking the deadlock with one of his trademark set-piece efforts.

After Yohan Cabaye had been hacked down 30 yards out by Fabrice Muamba, the former Wigan man stepped up to whip a brilliant free-kick up and over the wall, but he was denied by Jaaskelainen who flung himself low to his left.

Wanderers began to offer much more from that point onwards, but it was very much a battle of attrition as the two sides slugged it out. Fancy football was hard to come by as Bolton looked to get the ball into the opposition penalty area as much as possible, but on each occasion Tim Krul made confident catches, particularly on one occasion when Martin Petrov beat Danny Simpson and centred from the byline.

Ivan Klasnic was booked for a challenge from behind on Cheick Tiote, before the Newcastle midfielder had his own name taken for upending Nigel Reo-Coker. Niggling fouls was very much the story of the first-half, and it was of no surprise that Bolton's best effort inside the opening period came from a free-kick.

When Reo-Coker was bundled over just outside the box, Petrov struck Ivan Klasnic's lay-off towards goal where he was denied by a fine low save by Krul.

It was very much even going into the final minutes of the half, although Leon Best found himself in an excellent position from which he should have nodded the visitors in front. However, after escaping the marking of Boyata, the former Coventry frontman glanced a yard wide of the far post.

Both team re-emerged for the start of the second 45 minutes sporting the same eleven players, although it looked like Owen Coyle might have to make his first change of the afternoon just five minutes after the restart when Krul - punching clear another dangerous cross from Petrov - caught Klasnic flush on the face.

The Croatian soon found his feet, but he went to ground again in the penalty in Wanderers' next attack after another dangerous ball in from Petrov. There were howls from the crowd for a penalty, but replays revealed that Klasnic had simply slipped and lost his footing.

Petrov fizzed one inches wide of the far post and Gary Cahill's volley was blocked inside the six-yard box. Up at the other end of the pitch, Gabriel Obertan brought a decent save from Jaaskelainen as the action and pace of the game increased as time ticked by.

Both managers felt that the game was there to be won, and while Owen Coyle brought on Chris Eagles, Alan Pardew introduced Hatem Ben Arfa. The fortune was with the Newcastle boss as just ten minutes after entering the fray, the Frenchman put his team one goal ahead on 69 minutes.

Jonas Gutierrez and Ryan Taylor combined down the left touchline and when the ball was played into the mix, Ben Arfa thundered a first-time effort past Jaaskelainen with his left foot.

Two minutes later and Newcastle doubled their advantage, with Demba Ba scoring his 14th Premier League goal of the season from close range.

This time it was down the opposite wing as Obertan twisted and turned past Robinson, before centring for the former West Ham man who bundled the ball into the top corner of the goal from six yards out.

Bolton's front line of Ngog and Klasnic were replaced by Kevin Davies and Tuncay as Coyle went gung-ho in the final ten minutes of the contest.

But Newcastle, with a two-goal lead intact, seemed content to eat up the clock. Two prolonged substitutions and an alleged injury to Ba ensured that time ran out for Wanderers as the game was played out with a low-key climax.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Mark Davies, Muamba (Eagles 66), Reo-Coker, Petrov, Ngog (Kevin Davies 77), Klasnic (Tuncay 77) (Subs not used: Bogdan, Ricketts, Pratley, Wheater)

Newcastle United:
Krul, Coloccini, Cabaye (Perch 87), Simpson, Williamson, Taylor, Gutierrez, Ba, Best (Ben Arfa 62), Tiote, Obertan (Ameobi 86) (Subs not used: Vuckic, Ferguson, Elliot)

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