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Bolton 0 Toon 2
Published : 27 Dec 2011 12:26:23Rss feed
Toon fans chanted for Alan Pardew to make changes and replace the ineffective Leon Best with Hatem Ben Arfa ... and guess what! BOLTON 0 NEWCASTLE 2
BOLTON: Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba (Eagles 66), Petrov, Klasnic (Sanli 77), Ngog (Kevin Davies 76).Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Ricketts, Pratley, Wheater.
NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Ryan Taylor, Obertan (Shola Ameobi 84), Cabaye (Perch 88), Tiote, Gutierrez, Ba, Best (Ben Arfa 61).Subs Not Used: Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Vuckic, Ferguson.
Att: 26, 080
Things certainly changed when Pardew took the hint ... two goals in as many minutes from Ben Arfa and Demba Ba earned The Toon their first win in seven league games against struggling Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.
It appeared to be a battle between two struggling sides, because with James Perch at the heart of the Newcastle defence, the goals had certainly been flying in.
But the former Nottingham Forest defender was banished to the bench, and the team gained the benefit from it.
After a shocking first half, the deadlock was broken in the 69th minute when Ben Arfa netted his first goal in more than a year and the prolific Ba doubled the lead soon after.
Defensive woes have been the problem for Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, who was able to call on centre-back Mike Williamson for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury in August.
Yohan Cabaye was back after suspension, while for Bolton Marcos Alonso and Gretar Steinsson were unavailable so Paul Robinson and Dedryck Boyata came in.
In the first half as both sides struggled to string passes together, and Best looked pedestrian (at best). Accused in certain circles for being "lazy and one dimentional", the former Coventry City striker was well of the mark.
In the first 45 minutes there were only two chances of note, one for either side, in almost identical circumstances.
Newcastle dominated the early stages and in the 14th minute Ryan Taylor drew a good save from Jussi Jaaskelainen diving low to his left with a free-kick after Fabrice Muamba had fouled Cabaye 25 yards out.
Bolton's confidence levels were low but they gradually came into the match and were close to taking the lead six minutes before half-time.
Cabaye was harshly penalised for a nudge on Nigel Reo-Coker just outside the box and Martin Petrov's free-kick was heading for the bottom corner until Tim Krul thrust out a hand.
Best had the final chance of the half when he was picked out by Ryan Taylor's corner but he could manage only a glancing header and guided the ball well wide.
Bolton's season was summed up by a sequence of play in the 55th minute. First Robinson found Ngog with a good ball down the left and Klasnic eventually picked up the striker's cross-shot only to trip himself up as he looked to get a shot away.
At the other end, Jaaskelainen blocked an effort from Gabriel Obertan before Newcastle made the first substitution of the afternoon, Ben Arfa coming on for Best.
Bolton were certainly looking more of a threat going forward and Petrov lashed an effort just wide of the far post.
But in the 69th minute they went behind as Newcastle at last put together a move of real quality, ending with Taylor crossing for Ben Arfa to crisply volley in only his second goal for the club and his first since September 2010, shortly before he suffered a broken leg against Manchester City.
And two minutes later the game was all but over as poor defending from Paul Robinson let in Obertan down the right and his cross was clipped in by Ba despite the best efforts of Gary Cahill.
It was Ba's 14th goal of the season, and he almost added another moments later but this time Jaaskelainen was quickly off his line to block, Taylor then fired a free-kick well over the bar.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle threw on strikers Tuncay Sanli and Kevin Davies but it was already a lost cause and even a consolation was beyond the Trotters.
Boos rang out at the final whistle, with the result meaning Bolton stay three points from safety and now only one point above bottom side Blackburn.
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