Date: 21st November 2010 at 2:28pm
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It’s starting to wear thin now but the visit to Bolton was yet another ‘bad day at the office’ for us. In fact, it was like that office nightmare scenario, when you find yourself standing in the middle of the floor naked and exposed for all your work mates to see. Well Newcastle United lived out that scenario as Bolton Wanderers well and truly pulled our pants down yesterday.

And it wasn’t just the emphatic margin of defeat that cut deep but the manner in which the players went about their business, or didn’t in many cases.

Excuses could be made that we were without two of our most important players in the suspended Tiote and Barton. More excuses could be offered for some poor refereering decisions. But there were still 11 blokes against 11 and one side wanted it more than the other, and the four goal deficit proved it.

What unfolded though was more than just a comprehensive defeat. In some worryingly undisciplined play, real cracks appeared to be showing as frustration led to some pretty unsavoury incidents and a resultant and deserved red card for Coloccini.

The stall was set early when Kevin Nolan, returning to his old employers, gifted the home side a penalty with a little help from his friends, both Coloccini and Enrique guilty of fannying on with the ball before Nolan had to intervene and managed to handball in the box. Kevin Davies made no mistake from the spot.

With a lop-sided and lifeless approach to the game, we really looked liked imploding with some awful challenges and shoddy passing. For every pass that went astray, you could sense the frustration growing. Mike Williamson could quite easily have seen red for a needless and cynical block/headbutt on Elmander.

And the writing appeared to be on the wall, when Matt Taylor’s free kick smashed off the crossbar. A static defence didn’t respond quickly enough and Chung Yong-Lee pounced to double the lead.

Half time couldn’t come quick enough but whatever Hughton said to those in blue it didn’t have the desired effect. Within minutes of the restart, Elmander almost walked the ball into the back of the net to just about put the result beyond doubt at 3-0.

The only player in blue that came out of the match with any real credit was inevitably the one person who looked like making any kind of difference. Andy Carroll’s well-taken goal to make it 3-1 was about the first piece of genuine football we had managed in the first 52 minutes.

But that was barely a consolation and when Elmander shrugged off Coloccini to finish well and extend the lead to 4-1, it rubbed salt into the wound of one player you sensed this sort of defeat would really hurt. Carroll never gave up the ghost and put himself about but had nobody in support for the entire game.

Given the ease with which he was shrugged off the ball for the fourth, it was clear that Coloccini had a bone to pick with Elmander. Unfortunately, his cowardly act of elbowing the Swede in the face, is just one more incident to put in our Hall of Shame. Kevin Nolan, not to be outdone tried his own particular brand of obstruction with a ridiculous block, to sum up the kind of forgettable afternoon we were having.

And then just to add insult to injury, Howard Webb, who had been inept all game, added to his own poor performance when he awarded a penalty in the dying minutes. Enrique clearly got the ball, but it was judged to be a foul. Kevin Davies got his second from the spot to make it 5-1.

All in all, definitely one to forget. There had been chances late on at the other end for Carroll and Lovenkrands, but in light of the hiding we took they seemed inconsequential. Despite a good start to the season on our travels, the visit to the Reebok once again proved to be too much.

Much can be taken from this game and conclusions made. Professional and amateur pundits alike can wax about the problems that exist and the tough road that lies ahead. But it’s a funny old club, a funny old season and indeed a funny old game. I wouldn’t put it past us getting a result against Chelsea, so I live in hope, Brian.


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