Bolton sneak past Newcastle

01 March 2009 12:14
Bolton earned a hard-fought 1-0 win against Newcastle thanks to a first-touch goal from Ricardo Gardner. Gardner had only just been introduced as a half-time substitute when he raced into the box to slot home within minutes of the restart. The game had been an end-to-end affair from start to finish and while Newcastle enjoyed their fair share of chances, Bolton possessed the greater cutting edge that would guide them to victory. Indeed, the goal just after the break came as a big blow to Newcastle and it was only in the last 15 minutes that the away players recovered sufficiently to launch a comeback - however, by then it was all too late. For Gary Megson, the win will be a welcome treat on the day that his new rolling contract with the club was announced, but for Newcastle the threat of relegation now rears its ugly head once again. Bolton almost got off to a flying start with Johan Elmander's effort was scrambled away by Jose Enrique. Elmander should then have put Bolton ahead in the 18th minute when Matt Taylor delivered the cross - but he hoisted his effort over the bar from just yards out. Bolton kept up the pressure, and Mark Davies saw an inswinging free-kick from 25 yards go narrowly wide of the post in the 28th minute. Goalkeeper Steve Harper seemed to have the ball covered, but it finished only a yard or two outside the post. Two minutes later, Taylor tested Harper at the near post following a flick-on from Kevin Davies. Newcastle responded in the 33rd minute when Jussi Jaaskelainen did well to parry a header from Obafemi Martins after a corner from Ryan Taylor. Martins should have perhaps done better three minutes before the break. But, unmarked, he steered a close-range header over the bar following a cross from Jonas Gutierrez. Elmander got into a decent position on the stroke of half-time, after being released by Kevin Davies, but scuffed a shot into the ground. Bolton brought Gardner on for the second half, and the switch paid an instant dividend in the 47th minute. Gardner sent his first-time effort over the head of Harper following a low cross from Taylor. Bolton were growing in confidence, and Kevin Davies tried to pick out Taylor in the 59th minute following a free-kick from O'Brien - but put too much weight on his header. Newcastle hit back a minute later thanks to a surging run from Gutierrez, before he was upended by Gary Cahill. However, Ryan Taylor sent his free-kick wide of the post. Nicky Butt then picked out Martins, and he turned quickly only to send his effort into Jaaskelainen's body. Butt was struggling after coming off second best against Elmander and was eventually replaced in the 66th minute by Geremi. Newcastle suddenly stepped up the pace, and Shola Ameobi saw his effort turned around the post by Jaaskelainen in the 75th minute - after being set up Martins. Geremi then cracked in thunderous half-volley that was only marginally off-target, and a late Peter Lovenkrands overhead kick served to wrap up proceedings when the subsequent deflection was cleared to safety.

Source: SKY_Sports

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