Bolton Wanderers (a) Premiership
37mins: In front of the Newcastle fans, Nicky Hunt curled a ball in from the Bolton right, and El Hadji Diouf rose at the far post to head in from six yards, with a team mate behind him also waiting for to pounce. 0-1
Half time: Bolton 1 Newcastle 0
Graeme Souness said:"Up until the second goal went in - which was offside - there was nothing in the game. We may have started better than them, but in the end they won comfortably, scoring two goals at a great time - just before and just after half-time - with the second goal seeing us off.
"It's no secret what area we feel we need to improve in. Michael (Owen) would make us a different animal altogether. He has a track record of scoring goals and I'm sure he would here if he chose to join us.
"We've played three games and tonight is the worst we've played so far. To get a result here you need to scrap. The next game cannot come quick enough for us. It is a big game.
"Being turned over by Bolton is never a nice feeling. We just did not have the cutting edge and that is something we are trying to address.
"The fans were
behind the team tonight and as always we can never argue with the kind of
support we get. But it is time
to roll our sleeves up. We need to have a real go and make sure in the next
game we come out throwing punches."
"Confidence is not very high at the moment. I would be lying if I said anything else. We battled away at times but we are not creating chances and this is very disappointing.
"The time to worry is not when you are missing chances but when you are not creating them, and that's what is happening now.
"Yet when we have our strongest 11 out we are a match for anyone, but when we have two or three players injured, we are finding that we don't have the strength in depth.
scratching our heads at this moment in time as we all know we need bodies in
to help us along."
Sam Allardyce commented:"We overcame a lot of obstacles which we thought may have caused us a problem.
"Certainly my praise goes to Henrik Pedersen first and foremost. He played at full-back and it's the first time he's played there in the Premiership.
"After all that, Radhi Jaidi picked up an injury and Abdoulaye Faye came in for his first Premiership appearance. After that early chance for Bowyer we went from strength to strength.
controlled the game, but in a different way to that against Everton on
Sunday. Then, we bombarding them without getting a goal, whereas this time
we were more patient."
"It was a much-needed victory for us. We hadn't won either of our first two games but thankfully we got the win.
"I don't know why I went back on the line for Lee Bowyer's shot as the majority of the lads were going out - thankfully it came straight to me and I kept it out.
"We know how Newcastle feel - we felt like that after our first two games. But there are only three games gone and a few teams have had poor starts.
"As an ex-player,
Newcastle don't need me to tell them what's wrong, but they've got too many
quality players to stay down there for long."
Already the mood of cautious optimism
tinged with relief that could be sensed after the season opener at Highbury
seems vague and distant.
Quite simply, this was one of those games
one looks back on in wonderment at how we managed to fill almost 100 minutes
of play with absolutely nothing admirable or memorable to show for it.
That old testament line about planks in eyes was never more apposite - there were certainly plenty off-cuts lumbering around in our side tonight, notably the inert midfield featuring the three stooges Faye, Bowyer and Jenas, all eclipsed by veteran Gary Speed - who also managed to have more shots than our entire team in the game.....
Then as now Bolton were no great shakes,
but possessed sufficient quantities of fight and basic footballing
intelligence to outwit our numbskulls. And unlike us, they had a stomach for
From behind the goal it was impossible to see whether the Newcastle Chairman was present to hear the sporadic abuse and calls for his departure from a good number of those Toon fans present.
Souness was at pitchside though, acknowledging chanting of his name from the away contingent, in
the manner of a fallen pop star in the ID parade on Never Mind the
Buzzcocks - grateful for an unexpected curtain call.
Old boy Alan Gowling playing the part of
Gary Speed that afternoon in Bolton, as a collective yellow streak as wide
as our banana away shirts saw us ship four goals and barely cross the
Tonight we looked devoid of confidence,
with the body language of a walking corpse.
Back to tonight though and it has to be
asked - exactly what good would a certain M.Owen esq. have done us? I
know he's good, but even Peter Beardsley failed he tried to set up attacks
and get on the end of his own passes.
The Chairman, the Manager, the Coaching Staff and the players are taking this club to new depths and dragging us all down with them.
Never in the 113 year history of Newcastle United has a league campaign got off to a hat-trick of goalless games but after another pathetic performance at the Reebok Stadium this current shower has made unwanted history.
A goal in each half for the Trotters ensured that after three games we join Wigan and the mackems in the Premiership relegation zone. The opening season drama is now turning into a crisis.
And what can we expect in the next seven days? More transfer heartache as Owen et al fend us off with their bargepoles, a home defeat to Manchester United and then the ritual sacrifice of the Manager?
That won't wash anymore, something really drastic needs to happen for this club to gain any credibility from its fans and the football community at large.
A new Manager or the arrival of Michael Owen would only be like putting a sticking plaster over a festering sore. This club is rotten to the core - a whole barrel of bad apples, not just the odd one or two that have already been discarded.
All we need now is for Freddy Shepherd to tell us (via Sky) that "it's never dull here". Don't you bloody dare....