Newcastle got what could turn out to be a valuable point at St. James’ Park this afternoon, after Ryan Taylor was sent off after 55 minutes and Newcastle battled on for a good point, and almost won it.
But bad news hit Newcastle before the game even kicked off, when Joey Barton suffered an injury in the warm-up session, and he was replaced on the right by Ryan Taylor, just back from his broken foot, and young Shane Ferguson came onto the subs bench.
And Ryan made a dramatic if drastic return to the first team, as he was sent off for a bad foul on Joan Elmander in the second half, but the Newcastle side, never short of guts these days, hung on to clinch a point and gain a point on Sunderland who lost against at Everton for the fourth game running.
It’s interesting that Newcastle were the side that came closest to winning it when young Nile Ranger brilliantly headed home in injury time but his effort was ruled offside.
At the Reebok Stadium in November, Fab Coloccini was sent off for elbowing the same player, Elmander, and Mike Williamson was suspended for three games for butting the big Swede in the chest – so the man has cost Newcastle this season, that’s for sure.
In fact three suspensions of three games each – maybe we have to sign him in the summer – and get him on our side.
When Newcastle kicked off in the first half, they attacked immediately and within the first few minutes Leon Best went close twice, and then Peter Lovenkrands almost scored on 12 minutes when he almost flicked the ball into the goal, but the Bolton goalkeeper made the save.
From the resulting corner, Newcastle got the ball into the net, and Cheick Tiote got to the corner and his cross was easily put into the net by captain Kevin Nolan, who is now top scored with 11 goals – not bad for a midfielder.
The Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper made a bad mistake on 26 minutes that almost gave Bolton the equalizer as the goalkeeper mis-kicked straight to Johan Elmander, who played it through to Daniel Sturridge.
Sturridge had a golden opportunity to score but missed badly with a poor shot.
And immediately after Newcastle could have been two goals up as Jose Enrique surged forward and his cross was dropped by Jaaskelainen, but Best’s follow up shot which was headed for the net, was stopped by David Wheater – an important block by the former Middlesbrough man.
The game was end to end throughout the first half and Newcastle should have scored more than the one goal they got from captain Kevin Nolan, his 11 th goal of the season, after just 13 minutes.
But with eight minutes to go to the half time whistle, Newcastle gave up the equalizer as Tiote’s pass was intercepted by Elmander, who quickly put Sturridge though and this time the Chelsea man made no mistake as he drilled the ball past Harper. Alan Pardew will not be too happy at the way this goal was conceded.
Newcastle started the second half gung ho again, as they surged forward, but then on 54 minutes Newcastle were reduced to 10 men, when Ryan Taylor, who had looked to be in sparkling form on his return, lunged at Elmander and got a straight red card from the referee, Chris Hoy.
This means that Ryan will now miss 3 games, and that’s hardly good news for the Newcastle side, especially since he has just returned from an injury he picked up way back in October.
Alan Pardew again showed his understanding of the game as he made a double switch after 67 minutes, with Steven Taylor and Nile Ranger coming on for Gutierrez and Lovenkrands, and Newcastle playing three at the back and were still looking to win this game.
And after 72 minutes the winner almost came when Steven Taylor and Ranger combined well, and Taylor’s cross was met by Ranger who beat Jaaskelainen to the ball, but his header was off target.
Amazingly it was still end to end stuff as Newcastle were showing tremendous courage moving forward and looking for a winner, even though they were a man short.
And then in injury time, Newcastle almost scored a dramatic winner when Nile Ranger headed the ball into the net, but he was ruled offside – otherwise Newcastle could have had a really memorable win.
You cannot blame the lads today – they fought like Lions once again, and they were simply unlucky to be reduced to 10 men, otherwise they would surely have wrapped up all 3 points.
But it’s clear in every single game remaining this season this Newcastle will fight to the depth for every single point of the now 30 points remaining to be won.
Please vote for your man of the Match on our home page.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Steve Harper; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique; Ryan Taylor, Cheick Tiote, Kevin Nolan (c), Jonas Gutierrez (Steven Taylor 67); Leon Best (Shefki Kuqi 90), Peter Lovenkrands (Nile Ranger 67)
Subs not used: Tim Krul, James Perch, Sol Campbell, Shane Ferguson
Bolton (4-4-2): Jussi Jaaskelainen; Paul Robinson, David Wheater, Gary Cahill, Marcos Alonso; Johan Elmander, Fabrice Muamba (Mark Davies 79), Stuart Holden, Martin Petrov (Matthew Taylor 85); Kevin Davies (c), Daniel Sturridge
Subs not used: Adam Bogdan, Gretar Steinsson, Rodrigo, Chung-Yong Lee, Ivan Klasnic