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Season 2002-03 
Match Report 2002-03 - Bolton Wanderers (a) 

This report is brought to you by Ginsters


Thursday 26th December 2002, 1.00pm

Venue: Reebok Stadium

Conditions: Mild, occasional rain showers.


Bolton Wanderers 4 - 3 Newcastle United


5 mins Dyer appeared to be looking for his lost dog not playing for us, dwelling on the ball and allowing Gardner to seize on it and centre to where Jay-Jay Okacha blasted it past a helpless Given. 0-1

8 mins
  Having now woken up, Dyer was well placed down the United right to take on a Solano pass and turn it into the path of Shearer. He drove the ball home under the keeper's body from just outside the six yard box. 1-1

9 mins
 Questions asked about the placement of our defensive wall as Ricardo Gardner beat Given at the far post with a swooping high-octane effort. The free kick had been awarded for a Caldwell block on Ricketts. 1-2

45 mins
 A Ricketts header extended the lead, thanks in part to a soft defensive header from Ameobi that cheaply lost possession to Frandsen and put our defence under renewed pressure. 1-3

Half time:  Bolton 3 Newcastle 1

63 mins Displaying all the assurance of a striker suddenly back in the old routine, Ricketts seized on a poor Speed pass to easily beat Given. 1-4

72 mins
 With LuaLua stripped and waiting to come on the field, Ameobi danced into the box from the right before trying a low effort not unlike his Barca goal. A timely deflection from Dyer's boot sent it into the opposite side of the goal to the one
Jaaskelainen was diving to. 2-4

78 mins
 Robert touched a free kick to Shearer on the edge of the Bolton area to the keepers' right, at the end where the toon fans were gathered. He leathered it home from 20 yards in typical forthright style. 3-4

Full time:  Bolton 4 Newcastle 3

We Said

Sir Bobby fumed:

"Shearer said to the referee 'before you take a card, go and have a word with (Bolton's Mike) Whitlow'. I have to hold up my hands to Whitlow. He told the referee he had fouled him, he had tripped Lualua.

"But he still gave him a yellow card for diving. Shearer, speaking plainly, got a yellow card as well. Can you explain that to me? Because I will be explaining it to the FA and the Premier League.

"I will now lose Shearer for the West Ham match after his fifth yellow card.

"Not only that we might have got a point if we had got the free kick we had deserved.

"Instead we got two yellow cards which I find is absolutely outrageous - but there is nothing we can do about it."

"I can't understand fans making obscene chants at Alan. He is a nice guy, a great professional and he has captained his country.

"It is a great record and his second goal you won't see a better one anywhere in the world. You can talk about your Peles, your Maradonas, all your great hitters but that is a stunning strike."

Dyer spoke to the Chronicle:

"It was a terrible result, especially after the way other results went. We keep saying it, but to come away from home and score three goals and still not get anything is disappointing.

"No disrespect to Bolton, but we should be beating them. They will be delighted but the goals were self-inflicted. Me and Nobby blundered for the first goal, Speedo has held up his hands for the fourth, while Shola brought the ball down for the third goal but headed it straight to Frandsen who put over a great cross.

"We've only got ourselves to blame. People talk about the defence but it was individual errors that cost us. The only plus is at 4-1 down our heads didn't drop and we almost came away with a draw."

 "I have to take that goal. I don't think it was going in until it hit me and deflected into the other corner."

"We have to get six points from those two home games. We don't fear anyone on our own patch and I firmly believe we can do it."

They Said

Big Sam said:

"It was a magnificent victory and one that was long overdue at home. I always felt that once Michael got back on target more goals would come and so it has proved.

"We showed we've learned our lesson and kept it tight. But that's still 15 games without keeping a clean sheet. That's what we've got to aim for now if we're to claw ourselves away from the bottom.

"When we had two games in a short period of time last year, we may have won the first but always failed in the second. I kept them back for two hours after the Newcastle game so we could warm down properly and focus on the Everton game.

"If we can get a good result there, we could go into January with a mass of points from a short period of time and it could change our season for us. We have made a magnificent start to the holiday period."

Match Stats

Yet another milestone for Alan Shearer with his 350th goal, but once again he was let down by his colleagues and walked off the field a disconsolate man. At Ewood Park and Old Trafford he netted with great efforts to reach personal landmarks, but was unable to savour them as his side lost. Twice is careless, for it happen three times in six away games is plain unacceptable.

After praising our defence for their clean sheet against Fulham last Saturday, we now have to use statistics to beat the lads over the head (all of them, not just the back four).

We have conceded six Premiership goals at home in nine games this season - the best record in the League (shared with Chelsea and Manchester United, both of whom have played a game more).

However, we have conceded no less than twenty two goals on our travels in ten games - even worse than bottom of the table West Ham (twenty) or even the damn mackems (fifteen).

Moving on to our form this season, while we've tightened up at Fortess St.James' and come up with seismic European results like the Feyenoord victory, compared to our away form last season we're in the doldrums.

2001/02: P19 W9 D5 L5 Goals F34 Goals A29
2002/03: P10 W2 D2 L6 Goals F14 Goals A22

So before we change the calendar we've already lost more away games than in the whole of last season and need to do something radical to get near the number of wins on the road we recorded last time out.

That Rotten Rennie Record:

2002/03 Bolton (a) lost 3-4
Man City (a) lost 0-1
Blackburn (a) drew 2-2
Arsenal (a) lost 0-3
2000/01 None -demoted from Prem.
Leicester (h) lost 0-2
Birmingham (a) lost 0-2
Villa (h) lost 0-1
Leicester (a) lost 0-2
Leeds (a) won 1-0
Wimbledon (h) won 3-1
Chelsea (a) drew 1-1
Man Utd (a) drew 1-1
West Ham (h) lost 0-1


Uriah Rennie is a nasty man and doesn't like us. 

Had he not been in charge of this match, we'd now be joint third alongside Manchester United and Bolton would be in the drop zone. Oh aye, and a reindeer really did eat that carrot I left out, and Santy drank all the sherry (then drove off in his sleigh, dressed as a Newcastle footballer...)

While that referee is just a joke, the fact remains he didn't directly contribute to any of the goals we conceded. He didn't blindfold Dyer and called the free kick correctly. He didn't place our wall, shout boo! when Ameobi was climbing to head the ball. He didn't flick mud in Speed's eye.

No, we were eminently capable of imploding all on our own. 

On the basis that your correspondent and a few thousand others dragged themselves up in the middle of the night to get here without any public transport, and paid for a grandstand view of this mess, pausing en route only to post applications for a midweek trek to Spurs, then there's no attempt to make excuses for the players: 

Ameobi may have scored (until that panel meet), but reverted to type and showed no understanding with Shearer. There again, with the exception of Dyer for the first goal, nobody else did (by the way, can anyone explain why Robert refused to go into the final third of the field in the first half and why Dyer was often marking Solano? I certainly cannot...) 

Shearer scores when Shearer gets chances - apart from the penalty miss at home to Fulham and the one over the bar at Southampton, he's putting in what he gets given to him, or crashing in the free kicks. However, there's a continuing lack of decent service to him from either flank.

Shearer aside, set pieces are a joke again - international footballers taking corners and failing to beat the first man at the near post, who is never a Newcastle player. And after trying not to get at Robert in recent weeks, to continue to ignore his fitful contribution is to bury the truth.

I actually think he was trying in the second half here, but just not getting anywhere. He looked almost incapable of finding a man from more than six yards away, and his confidence must be low, despite not being barracked by the Newcastle fans. By barracking I mean crowds of people shouting abuse at him, not individuals sitting in public houses with their heads in their hands or muttering to themselves while stuck in traffic jams.

Problem is that there's nobody else, and he knows that. Unless Bobby overdoses on the blue smarties, in the absence of Bernard and Viana he's not going to put in Quinn, Elliott or Kendrick. No, Robert will continue down the left, living on a reputation earned last season and failing to do damage to flaky, second rate defences like the one Sam Allardyce fielded in this game.

If Robert does want a move, then any watching scouts will hardly be urging their paymasters to open chequebooks on the strength of performances like this. A pocketful of loose change would be more than enough....

That he remained on the field for the duration may have been due to some fervent hope on the part of the manager that he'd belatedly contribute something to proceedings as he did at Derby last season. Fat chance.

This could go on for pages and pages, round and round in circles without ever coming to anything resembling a firm conclusion. While the antics of Dabizas prompted the reverse at Blackburn when heads did go down at Manchester United when they did what they often do, how can one reconcile this scoreline? 

We're not Manchester United - we're not going to squeal on phone ins if we lose to a side below us. But if we have pretensions to do anything other than tread water with the likes of Everton, Spurs and the Smoggies then we just cannot hand out goals to sides like Bolton before we deign to start playing. You just cannot rely on being comeback kings every week.

After having seen almost every variation on what this team can do to it's fans, it's now the exception when the post-match misery lasts more than a few minutes...or pints. However this one sticks in the throat even a day after - still too annoyed to watch the goals on the telly, the papers stayed on the news stands today as well. How did we not get a point against this shower? Bolton might have talent up front, but defend like a side preparing for trips to Rotherham and Palace.

We missed a golden chance to make up ground in the race for the upper slots, on a day when nearly everyone else dropped points. True, results could have been far, far worse but we now heap more pressure upon ourselves to beat Spurs and Liverpool and of course  that game in hand against Bolton now looks slightly less of a gimme than it did before.

While we can trumpet with justifiable pride about our home record, with trips to Anfield, Old Trafford, Highbury and Stamford Bridge behind us does anyone now really have confidence in us taking points at those allegedly "easier" grounds? 

Before the obliging geordies came to Horwich, Bolton hadn't managed a home win in eight attempts. Mighty sides like Bury, West Brom and the mackems could keep out Big Sam's men, but not us.

We now take our travelling bandwagon on to West Ham, a side without a home victory in 11 league attempts since May. Much as i'd love to say we'll go down there and knock them halfway to the Thames Barrier, putting Roeder on the dole in the process, i'd be lying if I did.
One step forward, two steps backwards. Typical bloody Magpies.


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Page last updated 26 December, 2011