NEWCASTLE UTD 3 BOLTON WANDERERS 1
NEWCASTLE: Given, Ramage, Elliott, Boumsong, Babayaro, Solano,Parker, Emre (Bowyer 82), N’Zogbia, Shearer, Ameobi (Luque 83).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Faye, Clark.
BOLTON: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, N’Gotty (Pedersen 45), Jaidi,Gardner, Faye, Okocha (Nakata 17), Speed, Nolan, Davies,Giannakopoulos, Nakata (Vaz Te 75).
Subs Not Used: Walker, Ben Haim.
Resurgent Newcastle are on the up, and I dread the day Graeme Souness or his curly-haired side-kick Dean Saunders pop up in the media to say ‘we’d have got it right, just like Roeder’ … because that is utter bollocks. Saunders has already said they are ready for a return, and God help the club that takes them on!
Nobby Solano’s exquisite 34th-minute free-kick and Shearer’s bullet header 11 minutes later put the Toon crowd on Cloud Nine, but it is only what we have come to expect from the team now the Sweaty Sock has gone. These maybe the same players … and let’s not forget we still have that big injury list … but this a different TEAM. The buzz is back at St James’, and boy did we need to feel it. Fat Fred got it sadly WRONG last time … and he had better make up for it with his next appointment … because we don’t want to go through the crap we have had to put up with ever again. A manager who had lost it … and even worse … a chairman who continued to back him!
When Shola Ameobi made it 3-0 with 21 minutes remaining the day was complete, and did anyone notice when Kevin Davies pulled one back on 71 minutes? They may have noticed, but it didn’t spoil anything.
The Toon Army hardly ever sang Souness’s name, but Roeder’s name was chanted in delight at a fifth victory in six games.
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce has a style that bullies the other side out of the game with their physical approach, but United stood their ground and let the Trotters bang their heads against a brick wall. Roeder set out to nullify their strengths and let his side create the invention.
Only once was their any cause for concern, when Robbie Elliott got his head to Nolan’s 24th-minute shot and deflected it against the post, but most of the trouble came at the other end.
Emre was unfortunate to see an improvised 17th-minute effort come back off the upright and Ameobi completely missed his kick after Celestine Babayaro and Charles N’Zogbia had combined to carve open the visitors’ defence 12 minutes before the break.
But Solano curled a superb free-kick past Jussi Jaaskelainen to give United the lead. The second goal, which arrived on half-time, said everything about the quality of the players Roeder has at his disposal. Scott Parker’s quick feet bought him time and space in a tight spot on halfway and allowed Emre to find Babayaro on the left. His pass inside Joey O’Brien gave N’Zogbia time to pick out Shearer at the far post, and although Jaaskelainen got a hand to his bullet header, he could not keep it out.
Emre managed to climb above former Magpie Gary Speed to head the ball on for N’Zogbia to race away with Solano in support on 55 minutes, although the teenager took the wrong option to allow the cover to arrive and snuff out the attack.
Newcastle started to assume control once again as the half wore on with Jaaskelainen at times the only man standing between them and a third goal. That duly arrived on 69 minutes when Ameobi controlled Emre’s shot in front of goal and hammered it home, but when Davies slid home Radhi Jaidi’s header two minutes later, the alarm bells started to ring.
Given had to pull off a superb save to deny substitute Pedersen a second two minutes later and Nolan had an 87th-minute strike ruled out for handball as Bolton went for broke, but it proved too little, too late.
A great performance and a great result.
Newcastle Utd 3 Bolton 1
NEWCASTLE UTD 3 BOLTON WANDERERS 1