Monday 9 April 2012 3pm
Newcastle United 2 (Ben Arfa 73, Cisse 83)
Seventy terrible minutes of mundane football broken by a goal to grace any football stadium…..anywhere.
Hatem Ben Arfa picking the ball up some seventy yards from goal, resisting at least two chances to go down, before sliding it into the net.
A lovely reminder of exactly why we call it ‘The Beautiful Game’.
I wasn’t too upset by what I’d seen go before, I’ve seen far too many rubbish matches to go over the top.
Football is often a war of attrition and patience is often a virtue, so after sitting through an hour plus of desperate play, we got more than our reward.
Tim Krul had paved the way with a couple of routine (for him) saves which meant that we could get back on track whenever the team got going, which eventually we did.
Tiote had clearly been missed as Newcastle struggled to get going in the first half and Perch made way for Ferguson after half-time, with Gutierrez moving inside.
Coloccini was giving his usual master class in defending and it was a case of sticking in there and doing nothing stupid.
Ben Arfa made the breakthrough and then ten minutes later a rejuvenated Shola cleverly turned his man and put the second on a plate for Cisse, game over.
Newcastle United may not be the finished article but what they are is a team/squad with hidden depths, hidden depths that may yet see us in the Champions League.
That sometimes is where victories over Bolton will get you.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon, Yohan Cabaye, James Perch (Shane Ferguson 46), Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa (Ryan Taylor 85), Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba (Shola Ameobi 64)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling
Bolton Wanderers: Adam Bogdan, Gretar Steinsson, David Wheater, Tim Ream, Sam Ricketts, Chris Eagles (Ryo Miyaichi 78), Nigel Reo-Coker, Mark Davies, Darren Pratley (Ivan Klasnic 82), Martin Petrov, Kevin Davies (c) (David Ngog 78)
Subs not used: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Marcos Alonso, Zat Knight, Marvin Sordell
Referee: Mike Jones