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Season 2004-05
 Bolton Wanderers (h) Premiership


Date: Sunday 27th February 2005, 1pm

Venue: SJP

Sunny intervals with interludes of fine sleet.


Newcastle United

Bolton Wanderers

2 - 1



35 mins Bowyer started and ended a well-worked move by heading home Stephen Carr's right wing cross at the Leazes end. 1-0

41 mins Okocha was allowed to make headway towards our goal and he found Davies in the United area, who in turn flicked the ball forward for the returning Gary Speed to nodded down into the path of Stelios Giannakopoulos who volleyed past Given 1-1

Half time:  Newcastle 1 Bolton 1

69 mins
Alan Shearer's shot was blocked but Kieron Dyer lashed the rebound into the roof of the net 2-1

Full time: Newcastle 2 Bolton 1

We Said

Graeme Souness said:

All the successful teams that win things have midfielders who all get near double figures every year. That is an obvious criticism of Kieron - the only criticism, I think."

"But I would think if there is any ex-player that can teach him about scoring goals from midfield, it would be Terry McDermott. He was nearly a 20-goal-a-season man from midfield.

"But he had some good players playing with him......! 

"It is not his strongest point, his heading, but he will get goals from that position, I am sure he will. He has all the attributes to play there. He is extremely athletic - running for him is not difficult, he just floats across the top of the grass. His feet hardly touch the ground, so box-to-box, which you are asked to do as a wide player, is easy for him."

"We have exciting players here and we have got to get the exciting players playing well and exciting the crowd.

"Midfield is a dilemma for me but it's the kind you want as a manager because we have some real quality in that department. We have a lot of midfielders and most of them want to play in the centre. Only Laurent Robert is happy being wide.

"Nicky has not played a lot of football in the last four months, while JJ has maybe played too much as he's been involved in every game more or less. We'd had a game on Thursday and I had that in mind too, so I wanted to freshen things up and I brought Lee back into the side.

"Kieron is a proper little football player. He had a great 90 minutes and he capped that with the goal.

"Alan Shearer probably had his best game of football for me yesterday.

"We are not going to get another pitch for a while so we will just have to make the best of this one. It's had a hard week after three matches and difficult weather to deal with.

"Our ground staff have been working their socks off and maybe we'll just have to go a little bit longer in games because we like to have a good pitch to play a passing game on and right now it's a bit bobbly.

They Said

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce said:

"We were bitterly disappointed because we didn't perform in the second half.

"We recovered well from losing Hunt to take the game by the scruff of the neck. But we forgot the basics in the second half and gave them a chance which they took. We got what we deserved - a defeat.

"We started the game excellently, but we were not so good after that and the second-half performance was way below our standard.

"We have had many setbacks this season and we have come back. We showed what we can do when we came back from 1-0 down. We showed as much skill and ability as Newcastle, particularly in the first half.

"But in the second half, we decided we were not going to do that. We have to get back to the first-half performance next week and make sure it lasts 90 minutes instead of 45 minutes."

"It is a fantastic place to be. It is a superb stadium and a superb crowd, but I made the decision a long time ago, so there were no thoughts of it, to be honest with you."


Our 50th win in all competitions against Bolton, coming in our 106th game against them.

The winning goal was our 2900th top flight conversion at home, coming in our 1499th top flight home game.

That's still only one loss in 2005 for United, while Blackburn on Boxing Day were the last side to score more than once against us in a game. We also ended Bolton's unbeaten 2005 in this game and Bowyer put paid to their shutout record at the 329 minute mark.

But while we've regained the habit of winning in the cups, this was a vital Premiership success - our first in four games and only the seventh victory in the 22 league games Souness has presided over to date (during which we've drawn eight.)

Third goal of the season for Kieron Dyer, matching his total of the previous campaign - and all three have come in his last dozen games. 

Sixth goal of the season for Lee Bowyer - a great improvement on the two he managed last season and his half dozen have all come in his last 15 appearances - an enviable strike rate for Newcastle midfielder.

Recent signing Amdy Faye is still to finish on the losing side after six toon appearances.


While we came back from Dubai with an apparently improved team spirit and have now knocked four successive wins off in eleven days, the same could hardly be said for Bolton's jaunt to Tenerife.

Whether it was the lie of the greens or the lure of the Banana Grove nightclub, the overall effect on our visitors today was debilitating, as they seldom worked up to a pace worthy of their Trotters nickname and were still sauntering when they should have been scampering for scraps in the final minutes.  

And before we go any further let's just take a moment to reflect on the staggering averageness of Bolton and Sam Allardyce - the man who in the run up to this game just couldn't stop himself from casually reminding everyone he turned down the chance to be Bobby's successor here. 

On today's evidence, we can only be grateful for that decision. 

But one swallow doesn't make a summons (!) and while Bolton's run of two draws and five wins was ended at Gallowgate, Gary Speed's current employers collected eight points more in that period than his former ones.

For that reason alone this was a vital victory for United and Souness as we returned to our main task after recent cup diversions. It's always nice to go overseas and come back with a win and we'd commute to the moon for victory over Chelsea, but the league remains the true test.

In truth both sides meandered sleepily through the opening stages of this game as if they'd just come out of church - and the slumbering supporters certainly hadn't been in the choir....

And aside from a neat piece of forward play by Titus and a scooped ball that Dyer should have headed in, the only two noteworthy moves by either side each brought the reward of a goal. Not much return over 45 minutes.

Out on the left Robert was a Gallic irrelevance and looked to be frustrating colleagues and crowd alike, but at least there was a link between defence and attack through Dyer - even if he wasn't quite on the same wavelength as Shearer and Shola.

But what this game will be remembered for is a second half show from the home side that belied our recent hectic schedule. Only one goal was forthcoming to repay our endeavour, but the single-minded determination that the team showed in getting that goal spoke volumes for the improved spirit in the camp, not to mention return of collective confidence.

It wasn't reported what was said in the home dressing room during the interval, but it certainly galvanised us as we mounted wave after wave of attacks and tried to stretch Bolton. It took almost 25 minutes but they belatedly buckled and let us in - Dyer getting the goal and the congratulations, but the number nine no doubt annoyed he'd not converted the first chance.

And although the goal didn't come straight away, the home fans didn't start to get jumpy and transmit that intangible fear to the pitch. Instead, the evident effort on display was transmitted to the stands and people began to get behind their team - not fully, but a damn sight more than they had in recent Premiership games.

Of course that good old sense of injustice helped, with Dyer stopped in mid-gallop on the edge of the Bolton box by Hierro amid loud appeals for justice from all four sides of the ground. 

Add to that some continued grumbling as goalkeeper Jaaskelainen ran the clock down and yet more pained shouts as the nasty opposition didn't retreat the requisite distance from dead balls and it was a canny day for moaners.

Next up come Liverpool, who arrive with question marks over their mental state after the extra-time agony in Cardiff, not to mention one eye on a Champions League trip to Leverkusen the following Wednesday.

They'll meet a Newcastle side in better nick than of late and they'll also hopefully get on the wrong side of a Tyneside public in better spirits and good cheer than at Anfield last December when we were ragged, not rugged.

We were deprived of the services of Bellamy moments before kickoff that day and with Shearer also out, showed little up front save for an offside goal allowed for Kluivert. It's fairly safe to say there's much room for improvement in this rematch.

But as Bolton were more of a threat that docile Dutchmen, then so Rafa and his boys possess the potential (at least) to ask many questions of our revitalised side than Allardyce's bunch - of which 
attacking down the left flank and pressurising Carr may be one possible ploy.

That's just the start of another packed week though that sees us fighting on three fronts, two on our own slightly shop-soiled new pitch. The mood in toon is lifting and people are starting to see the positives and virtues of this side, not just the shortcomings - of which there are a number. 

As Kieron Dyer did proved today, the best way to win people over is by playing a good game, not talking it. Let's hope he and his colleagues remain in the mood to keep doing it - and not just in 45 minute patches. 

The prizes are there and the opposition is beatable; with effort, application and organisation - not just talent and attitude, as some elements of our squad still seem to believe.  



Page last updated 27 February, 2012