Bolton 0 Newcastle 2: Toon quick to land double blow on Coyle
Joy for Newcastle, despair for Bolton, and a definite case of Ba humbug for Owen Coyle as he saw his Christmas ruined at the Reebok Stadium.
Two goals in as many minutes – Hatem Ben Arfa”s first since recovering from a double leg break nearly 15 months ago, and a killer blow by Demba Ba with his 14th of the season – saw Newcastle end a run of six games without a win.
This was also their first away victory on Boxing Day since 1988.
Boxing clever: Newcastle”s Leon Best (centre) beats Paul Robinson and Fabrice Muamba
BOLTON: Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, M. Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba (Eagles 66), Petrov, Klasnic (Sanli 77), Ngog (K. Davies 76). Unused Subs: Bogdan, Ricketts, Pratley, Wheater.
NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Taylor, Obertan (Shola Ameobi 84), Cabaye (Perch 88), Tiote, Gutierrez, Ba, Best (Ben Arfa 61). Unused Subs: Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Vuckic, Ferguson.
Goals: Ben Arfa 69, Ba 71
Referee: Peter Walton
For Bolton, the statistics do not make such pleasant reading.
Defeat in front of their biggest crowd of the season was their eighth in nine games at home this season.
Wolves are the next visitors here on New Year”s Eve in what is now a crucial match in the fight for Premier League survival.
It”s amazing to think Bolton”s 5-1 win at home to Newcastle just over a year ago briefly lifted Coyle”s side into the Champions League places.
What made this even harder for the Bolton boss to take was that he felt the wounds were self-inflicted.
Substitute Chris Eagles gave away possession in the build-up to Newcastle”s first goal in the 69th minute,and veteran defender Paul Robinson was equally careless when the visitors doubled their lead almost immediately.
“I feel frustration, anger, whateveryou want to call it,” said Coyle, who was hoping the derby win over fellow strugglers Blackburn last week would kick-start Bolton”s season.
“We gave the ball away cheaply under no pressure. Soft is an understatement. Within 90 seconds we made the same mistake. It was horrible. Two goals are self-inflicted and that”s hard to take.
“When you shoot yourself in the foot it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.”
Leaning Leon: Best holds off Bolton”s Fabrice Muamba
Cheik mate: Tiote (left) battles with Fabrice Muamba (right)
“We had character from a few but not enough, if the truth be told. I don”t know whether one or two are fragile in terms of confidence. I”m from the old school that people should stand up and be counted, and we didn”t do it well enough today.
“If some of the kids are ready to play then so be it. It”s a horrible feeling as a manager, but it”s happened and we have to change it.”
It has to be said, there was little goodwill on show.
Boxing Day: Gary Cahill hauls back Demba Ba (left) while Martin Petrov cowers under Tiote”s challenge (right)
Gary Cahill and Ba were involved in arunning battle that left the England defender with swelling around his left eye before he clattered Newcastle”s top scorer twice in the second half.
Nigel Reo-Coker and Cheik Tiote were also chipping away at one another, Tiote finally picking up a booking before Ivan Klasnic also went into Peter Walton”s book for bringing downthe Ivory Coast midfielder.
A free-kick at each end were the onlygenuine efforts on goal in the first half, with Jussi Jaaskelainen getting down well to turn away Ryan Taylor”s 25-yard effort before Tim Krul produced an even better stop to deny Martin Petrov in his 100th Premier League game.
Arms race: Newcastle”s Ryan Taylor (right) Mark Davies tussle
Christmas Cheer: Ben Arfa
But the breakthrough came after Taylor won back possession thanks to a heavy touch from Eagles. Jonas Gutierrez spotted Taylor”s overlapping run down the left and the defender clipped the ball back to the penalty spot where Ben Arfa, who had only been on the pitch for eight minutes, composed himself before burying a fine left-foot finish past Jaaskelainen.
“It was nice to see him score becausehe had a terrible injury and it”s been a long road for him,” said Newcastle boss Alan Pardew.
The away side doubled their lead lessthan two minutes later, with Robinson the culprit this time as his misplaced pass was intercepted by Tiote.
He fed Gabriel Obertan, whose low cross to the edge of the six-yard box picked out Ba”s run.
Cahill got in a challenge but the ball looped up over Jaaskelainen and in off the underside of the bar.
“You”re getting sacked in the morning,” Newcastle fans taunted Coyle asTV cameras picked out a stony-faced Bolton chairman Phil Gartside up inthe stands.
Pardew knows how he feels.
It was after a defeat here against Bolton in December 2006 that he was sacked as West Ham boss.
On the slide: Hatem Ben Arfa (right) loses out to Dedryk Boyata
It”s a wrap: Hatem Ben Arfa celebrates his opener for Newcastle
“In the Premier League you don”t want to create pressure for yourselves with a winless run like we were on, so I”m delighted,” he said.
For Coyle, there is no escaping the pressure now.
Demba delight: Ba (left) scores his side”s second goal