Premiership: Toon come back to beat Bolton

Newcastle moved into second place in the Premiership after twice coming from behind to beat Bolton at St James' Park.

Newcastle 3-2 Bolton

Newcastle moved into second place in the Premiership after twice coming from behind to beat Bolton at St James' Park.

In a frenetic first period, Alan Shearer equalised after terrific goals from Ricardo Gardner and Nicky Southall, yet Craig Bellamy scored a magnificent winner to keep the Magpies clinging onto Manchester United's coattails.

Bobby Robson's side remain two points behind the defending champions, but leapfrog Arsenal, who could only draw at home to Southampton.

Gardner shocked the home crowd with a splendid opening goal on 19 minutes. The livewire Jamaican international stole the ball off Jamie McClen and drove into the box before finishing with style, his lofted effort sneaking in off the post.

They held the lead for just four minutes however, as Newcastle got a controversial equaliser. Referee David Elleray gave the Magpies an indirect free-kick, ruling that goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen held onto the ball for longer than the alloted six seconds. By the letter of the law, he was correct, but it happens 10 times a game and rarely are the 'keepers punished for it.

From the resultant free-kick, Nolberto Solano touched the ball to Shearer, who fired a fizzing shot into the bottom corner from 17 yards as the Bolton wall disintegrated.

Yet the Trotters never let their heads go down and went in front once again just after the half-hour mark. Sylvain Distin's clearance only reached the edge of the box after Michael Ricketts had caused havoc in the box and Southall lashed a ferocious, rasping drive into the top corner.

Gardner almost helped double the lead, playing in Simon Charlton following a mazy 60-yard run, but Shay Given parried his shot well and Andy O'Brien cleared before Gardner could pounce.

Once again, the lead lasted only a few minutes as Shearer levelled for a second time. McClen floated a cross towards the far post and the former England skipper sent a diving header into the roof of the net.

Both sides had chances to win take all three points in a quieter second-half. Given was called on to make a fine save from Gardner's swerving effort, while his Bolton counterpart Jaaskelainen pulled off an even better stop from a Robert shot that seemed destined for the bottom corner.

It was the home side that took the points, as Bellamy's header finished off a flowing move. Solano controlled a long pass on his chest and flicked the ball to the overlapping Aaron Hughes, whose volleyed cross found the Welsh striker unmarked at the far post.

While Newcastle continue to keep the pace at the top of the table, things aren't looking good for Bolton at the other end. This was their 12th Premiership game without a win, while relegation rivals Ipswich and West Ham both picked up vital wins.

They showed a great spirit at St James', as they have in many games this season, yet still went home empty-handed. Unless they start getting points from matches like this, they'll be back in the Nationwide league next season.

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Craig Bellamy (Newcastle)

The exciting Welshman scored yet another winning goal as his pace and directness troubled Bolton all day.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien, Dabizas, Distin, Solano, McClen (Acuna 81), Speed, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy.

Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper, Ameobi, Bernard.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Barness, Bergsson, Whitlow, Southall, Farrelly, Nolan (Pedersen 81), Charlton, Gardner, Bobic (Holdsworth 85), Ricketts (Hansen 88).

Subs Not Used: Forchelet, Poole.

Booked: Jaaskelainen.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox