Back to earth with three points!

By Lee Ryder on Aug 23, 08 07:17 PM

OK hands up who got carried away after Man United?

I'd have to say I was in that group but quickly came back down to earth today at about 15:12 BST.

A home crowd that was 5,000 short of capacity probably didn't get the Newcastle United performance they were looking for against a plucky Bolton side who are again look happy to suffocate their opponents rather than play the beautiful game the way it should be played.

Gary Megson's boys wouldn't allow Newcastle to do that either today but had Newcastle been allowed to play the pretty stuff and not emerged with three points, then perhaps Newcastle's great start to the season at Old Trafford would now count for nothing.

However, despite Bolton's attempts to smother the Magpies in their own nest they were the ones who headed home with nothing to show for their efforts.

And in a game that was pretty awful to watch if we are honest, Newcastle United's players would probably take this every week if they were offered it.

That wouldn't please the fans of course but let's get one thing straight - thankfully, not every team in the Premier League play like Bolton who even after the departure of a certain Big Sam, are happy to ride their luck, get in the faces of the opposition and nick points away from home.

Yet from Newcastle's point of view there big guns in Shay Given and Michael Owen did what they do best at the crucial moments.

Steven Taylor handed Bolton a penalty but Given proved his class by guessing the right way and pulling off a great save.

Had Kevin Nolan's effort gone in, United had given no evidence before the spot-kick that they would somehow find two goals to win the points.

And as it happened the Given save probably lifted St James's Park.

Owen simply gets on with his work on the quiet and then delivers and just like he has throughout his career grabbed the goal at the right time.

Surely his new contract talks should be sorted ASAP?

It leaves Newcastle heading to Coventry in the Carling Cup feeling in upbeat mood and knowing that they can round off an unlikely good start in the Premier League (given the fixture list they were handed at the start) by picking up an even more unlikely result in the shape of a point at Arsenal.

Yet after the less than luke warm response to the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford nobody will be getting carried away this time.



Paul Patterson said:

You caught me Lee,- My hand is up.

The crowd is a disappointment, as the one thing this club could always count on was a sell out every week, I just hope we get the squad sorted out in time for the end of the window.

Our two ‘little ‘uns’ up front certainly have a knack of jumping up and getting good valuable headers for the club.

Martins jumps like a gazelle (Doesn’t he rind you of Asprilla a bit) and Owen just knows where to be at exactly the right moment. This is useful as defenders tend to watch for them on the ground. Sadly we still need another striker as, like Kevin says ‘We have trouble keeping them fit’

In future, I’d like to see Spiderman run at a few more people and his work rate will always be a valuable asset. I’m not convinced that Guthrie and Butt will be the answer in the middle long term, but hey- points matter.

This was always the game I was worried about, more than the Manchester United game in fact- simply because this is a game, if we want to do anything this season, is a must win. Now whilst we played poorly, it’s the match we would have lost under the previous regimes.

Talking of previous regimes, I bet Sam Allardyce was laughing his back off when Bolton got that penalty.

I must again, pay tribute to one man, whilst Owen scored the goal to win the game, I simply can’t not mention this guy, he has helped Newcastle United to countless points over the seasons, whilst the Shearer’s were scoring the goals and the Solano’s were providing the craft,- usually in the past, the defenders were causing the damage- only to be backed up by the man behind them - Shay Given.

Finally, after seeing Spur’s again fail to deliver, as well as Aston Villa, (them two are probably our main rivals for any European spot) coupled with Arsenals defeat at Craven Cottage, there doesn’t appear to be anything in this league that scares me.

I just hope we play our part and beat the teams we are ‘supposed’ to.


Sam said:

have to agree mate, today went in the best possible way. Not only did we get the points, but we also put an end to the ridiculous hype that had been following us around for a week. Another plus point was Jonas' performance. The number 18 managed to play well, but not set the game alight, which will also put an end to all the hype that has been following him the past week. Lastly, with Arsenal losing today the pressure is on them next week. Who is up for another upset? Ho'way the lads!

band waggon said:


1-0 to the toon army.

we are 4th in the league, i say we are 4th in the league!!!!


But just hang on lads lets not get carried away!

Anonymous said:

Bolton Wand.; is probably the most uninteresting game of the season at SJP.Who wants to pay good money to watch them ???..Boring spoilers for 90 minutes.They are one of my 3 tips for the drop, Who would miss them ??
A very good start by Newcastle, they have hit the deck ,running for once.A couple of injuries today but the bench looked quite impressive.

Charles said:

Pretty good, pretty bad is all I can say in the game against Bolton.

Firstly, I don't know why there were more than 5000 seats left on the stadium, probably a peaceful strike against Ashley. The fans were not too noisy as they should be, and to be frank, I think Bolton actually played fair game.

The passing was not too good, needs more improvements on that. Credit to Owen though, having scored the winner while Given saved the penalty on the other side, I thought it was magnificent that Owen scored in his first game of the season as a sub. Proved as much that we need a striker who heads balls into the net.

The thing was, Newcastle's ground passing needs a lot of work while their crossing was good. Crosses to man like Owen or Martins can always get you in a good mood.

One thing to mention, is Zog actually playing left wing or left back? Sounds to me that Jonas is doing all his dirty work for him as well as maintaining a good run for midfield.

Bolton playing the 'Hold the line' game against us and capitalized on the team's disorganization after the counter. Really could have done better against a team like that, one of them is to cross good balls in the center and wait for a striker to aim and head it down into the net.

Overall, a good performance that still needs improvement on passing and shooting ground level goals.

Hopefully Ashley's WOW signing is a signing and not a sighing. So far as he said those words, we've seen nothing and we despearely need a good striker now. A creative midfielder and a striker would be perfect. And...please give KK the keys to the chest or there won't be a chest to open in the future.

Brunahl the Viking said:

Wasnt at the game. My son however said it was a great atmosphere and we played well in the second half. Which part of the game was awful, Lee

On another note. If we are still looking for signings why not look to Usian Bolt, he has pace he is 6ft 5 and hasnt got a club! If Romero can make the transition from rowing to cycling why not suggest that Usian Bolt switches from sprinter to Toon Striker. Think outside the box Kev.

Peter Harper said:

Why oh why does KK persist in playing N'zogbia at left back. N'zogbia is totally devoid of any defensive positional sense and, sooner rather then later,if he continues in the same role Newcastle will pay the penalty.N'zogbia is an attacker-end of story.Jose Enrique must wonder what he has done to be out of the team.
Secondly I would say that Danny Guthrie is one for the future not for the present.This is the Premier League and he's not up to it.He is the midfield equivalent of Ameobi-reliable for an emergency but no more.There was a Steven Taylor lookalike sitting in front of me with his attractive girlfriend and I can say without fear of contradiction that his moves were much more inventive than Guthrie's.We desperately need creative ingenuity if we are to progress.Without it we will be at best mid table.
There is no doubt we are moving in the right direction but we need to spend
money now to link defence to attack.Without investment in the right area we can look forward to a season of safety but mediocrity.

Bill Beaumont said:

Much as he usually disapoints me, you have to credit Geremi's crossing. I thought Guthrie was a) too easily knocked off the ball b) wanted too much time on the ball and was punished for it and c) plays a similar game too Butt. He looks very promising, but we desperately need a creative central midfielder - and have for many seasons.

We also need another sriker. Duff isn't up to it. Yeah, he looks fitter, but he's easily knocked off the ball and rarely goes past his man.

Coloccini looks like a monster buy!

There was a major problem with the re-organisation of the crowd. Suddenly, large groups who preferred to stand appeared in areas that this doesn't normally happen. Surely it's time to create a standing area? I've got nothing against the idea of standing, but there were families behind me who couldn't see; we stayed seating to help their view, but we ended up only see one half of the field. Surely the re-organisation could've been organised better?!

ronnie lambert said:

Yesirree Bob, good win but very nervey from where I was sitting, behind Shay's goal in the Gallowgate. Boy were we lucky not to conceive at least one goal, and I don't mean the penalty. Collocini was the difference between last season's dodgey defence as Taylor continues with his death wish. Somebody please get him a straight-jacket or put him in goal so he can handle without worry. He might easily have been sent off for two blatant hand-balls. Last week's great 11 man effort was today put into context with some very poor performances from Butt, Martins and Duff who was aware of his shiter and virtually begged to be subbed. Thank goodness for the professionalism of Geremi and Owen who rescued us from a crowd boo-ing at the final whistle. O.K. so Bolton are the worst spoilers in the premiership and came to kill the game, but on last week's team effort, this was definitely after the lord mayors show. How Given got man of the match ahead of Gutierez beats me, someone who made that choice is probably a girl with a crush who only lifted her head from her knitting to watch the pen. Get these other 3 signings quick, including this wow man cos at least 3 are panicking already. A very good three points though, after Bolton tried their hardest to get back in and were unlucky not to do so.

M. Sebastian T. said:

Before getting too carried away Toon fans should consider that currently their team has the same record as Hull. Perhaps if NUFC are near the top in November people on Tyneside can realistically start to dream. In the same way it will be silly to get too down in the dumps after losing two games in a row (which will happen).

Some years back Carlisle were top after 3 games but got relegated in the end.

rich said:

The press seemed to take delight in mentioning we were missing 5000 supporters. What they conveniently forgot to add was that it was still the weekends highest attendance in English football, not bad for a team tipped to by the same people to struggle this year...

Tad Caster said:

Try Jonas centre midfield to partner Butt, who, hopefully, can stay alert for the full 90. Jose at left back; Charlie wide left; Milner wide right. Owen and Martins up front - except I see the latter is out for two or three weeks. Duff cannnot cut it up front. I'd sooner see Shola play there for the next few games, if we don't flog him. Maybe even Smith. Then again...

Unless, of course, KK sticks with Milner and Owens and plays Geremi wide right.

One point about the game. What planet is Megson on when he suggests Bolton should have at least had a draw? They came out well at the start of the second half and had that purple patch at the end when it suddenly dawned on them that they were not going to get a draw - and that was that. They came to stifle our style of play and largely succeeded, but we had more possession and more chances and, let's be honest, Martins and Milner ought to have put away their chances and Owen could have had another one. Didn't they whine a lot too?

I agree with the above comments about Guthrie; he needs time and we need a creative midfielder (and a proven striker). Butt can be sloppy at times, especially as the second half pogresses. I thought Charlie had a good game yesterday, both defensively and in attack.

Stuart said:

Wasn't a pretty game at all, was never going to be. An ugly win was the best we could hope for and we got it.

If we look at the corresponding fixtures from last season a 6-0 loss and 0-0 draw, we have seen a vast improvement. 4 points instead of 1, and a +1 goal diff instead of -6.

Now we go to Coventry for what I consider a must win. I'm not sure what their style is, but we should be in good shape to win given the style of opposition we have faced.(Man U flair, and Bolton boredom)

Don't be surpised too see us come home from Arsenalt with nothing. Fulham did us no favours. When was the last time Arsenalt lost 2 in row?, But hey a win at Coventry and a good display at the emirates will keep me in a positive mood!

Siomi said:

Who'd pay to go and watch Bolton? 10 men behind the ball clogging up the final third. Boring boring Bolton!

I was interested though to see lots of empty seats at other grounds this weekend. I think this is the Olympic factor; football somehow looks jaded and overblown next to the excitement and effort shown by the athletes on the other side of the world. Should the Premier league be worried? Probably not. As winter draws in, interest will return, but it is a timely warning!

rita taylor said:

I agree with Ronnie Lambert about the man of the match. The 'keeper can't be man of the match with only one save to make [not Shay's fault of course]. Jonas should be a bonus but he is covering up for disappointing performances from 3 or 4 others.
Surely it is worth a try having N'Zogbia 'up front' with little Michael at Coventry and Enrique at full back.
Ronnie is wrong about one thing though. Just because you knit, it doesn't mean that you don't know a good player when you see one.

iain said:

crowd was disapointing but there are plenty of reasons that explain it. new seating/ticket system, poor economy, price inecrease, bank holiday weeked etc etc.

and it was still i think the 2nd highest attendance of any pl fixture that weekend.

lee your right a little bit of quality goes a long way, but it cuts the other way as well. as a little bad of very poor play from poor players can drop you in it when your coasting through a game. ie duff doing nothing makes it extra harder for others as they have to do more he at times even gets in the way as his movement is so bad, tbh its non existent. butt might hit 60yrd passes ala becks but at times his backwards passing on the deck is suicidal esp for a player with no pace to get back on goal side of the opo players hes just passed to.

we need 3 new players desperatly just to keep our really bad ones out the team. geremi is winning me over albiet though as a usfeull squad player, but when he can cross like he does for owens goal how can he never get his set pieces past the first man. 9m for milner from villa looks very tempting on the basis that its rumoured chelsea would take 10m for swp. although a better option imo is to buy a good lb put zog lw jonas rw and bench milner on the basis at his age (how is he still and u21 ???) he will still come good and learn how to cross the ball

gordon said:

Just pleased with the 3 points today but we desperatly need another quality centre back,taylor is nothing more than average and almost give bolton a 3-0 lead due to very poor defending.

Ray said:

Can't agree about Taylor. He made some very timely interceptions/tackles blocks. His double save gave Shay the chance to keep it 0-0. He will only get better with his current reliable partner. There are half a dozen players/positions worth criticism before slagging off ST.

Jonnie said:


I remain optimistic after Saturday.

We were top of the league after the first game last year after beating Bolton on their patch 3-1. Even so I think we've had arguably a better start than we did to last season. It may have been hyped up but the draw at Man United was a major major boost. We have to go to Arsenal now and expect to get a similar if not better result. After all, we can only play better than we did last Saturday.

Come on Newcastle!!!!


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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