Result: Bolton Wanderers 1 (0) – Newcastle United 3 (3)
……………Anelka (50) …………………………. N’Zogbia (11) Martins 2 (22, 27,)
(English Premier League, August 11th, 2007)
Oba Martins – scintillating form
Newcastle United got the job done today as they held out in the second half to run out 3-1 worthy winners against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok stadium this afternoon. Newcastle were totally dominant in the first half as they ripped Bolton apart and were deservedly 3-0 up after only 27 minutes with goals from N’Zogbia and a brilliant brace from Martins, who looked scintillating throughout.
In the second half Newcastle took the foot off the accelerator a little â€“ probably too much – and to Bolton’s credit they came back fighting in the second half and got a goal after 50 minutes through Anelka who looked classy.
Newcastle tried to protect their lead in the second half and played to obvious directions from their manager and ran out 3-1 worthy winners and a good 3 points to start the season. Newcastle’s performance was very good and when you consider we have 6 senior players missing through injury, there is a lot of quality in the side. There will also be some competition for places as some supposedly reserve players like N’Zogbia were simply outstanding.
Sam Allardyce handed full debuts to Rozehnal, Geremi (captain), Smith and Viduka.
Sammy Lee handed full senior debuts to Jlloyd Samuel, Gavin McCann and Gerald Cid for todayâ€™s Barclay’s Premier League opener against Newcastle United.
Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Faye, Cid, Samuel, Speed, McCann, Nolan (capt), Vaz Te, Anelka, Davies. Subs: Al Habsi, Helguson, Diouf, Sinclair, Alonso
Newcastle United: Harper, Carr, Rozehnal, Martins, Nâ€™Zogbia, Milner, Smith, Geremi (capt), Butt, Taylor, Viduka. Subs: Forster, Cacapa, Solano, Ameobi, Ramage
Referee: Mr C Foy
Newcastle United got off to a fantastic start to their season when they literally tore into Bolton Wanderers this afternoon at the Reebok and were 3-0 up after 27 minutes. The team started like a steam train with everyone supporting each other, and immediately started to boss the midfield. The Magpies seemed to take Bolton by surprise by starting the game so aggressively and at such a fast pace.
After 11 minutes they went ahead through a 30-yard effort by Nâ€™Zogbia out on the right from a free-kick. Jaaskelainen should have done better but was distracted by Rozehnal charging through. Roz didn’t get any contact on the ball and it alluded Bolton goalkeeper and landed in the back of the net.
Newcastle were running Bolton off their feet at this stage in the game and not allowing them to get into any sort of rhythm. It seemed like Allardyce knew exactly how to beat his old team as Newcastle kept the tempo high and the pace electric.
After 21 minutes Newcastle went 2-0 up when Martins â€“ who was demonstrating lightning speed – found himself 8 yards out with the ball bouncing in front of him. Oba somehow then hit the ball over his head with an acrobatic right foot shot that flew over Jaaskelainen and into the net. It was a fantastic goal by Martins who was looking class up front for the Magpies.
After 24 minutes there was a scare for Newcastle as Rozehnal stopped the ball on the line with his body, following a Bolton free kick. There was an appeal for a penalty which was turned away by the referee and then the ball was stopped on the line again, this time by Steven Taylor. The ball went rolling to Harper to collect and end the danger. This was a lucky escape for Newcastle.
Then after 27 minutes Martins hit a ball speculatively from 30 yards out. It took a deflection off a Bolton player and went to Jaaskelainen’s right as the goalkeeper was moving to his left. The ball hits the back of the net and Newcastle are 3-0 up and dominating Bolton completely. There were worried looks coming from manager Sami Lee and Chairman Phil Gartside as Bolton were being taken apart at this juncture by Newcastle’s all action play.
Itâ€™s a good first half for Newcastle as the whistle goes after 2 minutes of added time. Sam Allardyce couldnâ€™t have hoped for a better start from his new side.
With a game seemingly won at half time it’s always difficult for a team to retain their concentration and now we were going to see if Newcastle could be professional enough to ensure they bag all three points.
Bolton started the second half much better and would you believe it they pulled one back after only 5 minutes but it was a poor goal for Newcastle to concede. Following a Newcastle corner Bolton cleared the ball quickly and Geremi was stuck in no man’s land. A through ball was played expertly though to Anelka in the inside right channel that cut Geremi completely out of the play. Stephen Carr came across to try to cover but Anelka outpaced him and hit a beautiful cross shot past Harper to bring Bolton back into the game.
Another goal from Bolton at this stage and they were right back in the game. Bolton looked rejuvenated and continually came at Newcastle who were now falling back to protect their lead. Diouf playing wide on the left against Carr was causing all kinds of trouble for the Newcastle defense and often beat two or three Newcastle players at once, with his consummate skill and determination.
He seemed to be the man Bolton were pinning their hopes on but Newcastle defended calmly as they allowed Bolton more of the ball in midfield as they covered more at the back. Bolton were playing much better now and picking up some confidence as Newcastle continually dropped back obviously under strict orders from Big Sam. Solano came on for Martins after 69 minutes.
Bolton’s attacks were breaking down in the last third of the pitch and they didn’t seem to have that quality to beat Newcastle when it mattered. Only Anelka and Diouf seemed a real threat to the Newcastle defense. Allardyce then brought on Ameobi for Viduka after 72 minutes. Viduka turned in a workmanlike effort for Newcastle and will do well for the club this season as his experience showed throughout this game.
The performance of Newcastle in the second half had obviously been drilled into them as they tried to block every shot and took absolutely no chances with their defensive clearances. It wasn’t delightful stuff but it’s what Sam had said will be needed to secure wins. And it did as Newcastle played out the clock to record a very good win and an excellent performance in their first game.
Nobody really had a bad game and we would pick out N’Zogbia, Rozehnal (great acquisition by Sam) and Martins probably as the star players. The midfield of Smith, Geremi and Butt were dominant especially in the first half. But the satisfying thing about this performance is that it was a complete team effort and Newcastle looked extremely well organized and knew exactly what they had to do at all times.
While the second half slowed the game down Newcastle were nothing less than scintillating in the first half. Can’t wait for that first game at St. James next Saturday at 5:15 pm. Great start in Sam’s first game.
Comments very welcome.