Pav Fails To Make Textbook Return

Last updated : 27 December 2006 By Footy Mad - Editor


Tuesday Boxing Day 2006

BOLTON: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Meite, Faye, Ben Haim, Nolan,Campo, Speed, Diouf (Pedersen 90), Anelka, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Gardner, Vaz Te, Tal.

NEWCASTLE: Srnicek, Edgar, Ramage, Taylor, Huntington,Dyer (Emre 55), Butt, Parker, Milner (Rossi 65), Sibierski,Martins.
Subs Not Used: Krul, Luque, Pattison.

Att: 26,437

Newcastle target Nicolas Anelka claimed his third goal in as many days as Bolton recovered from an early goal from Kieron Dyer to beat the Magpies for the second time this season.

United started so well, and should have come away with something, but the young defence contributed to their own downfall. With an average age of 20, no-one can be too critical of a back-line that was playing together for the first time, with 19-year old David Edgar making his debut. How frustrating it must be for Glenn Roeder, to unearth the genuis of Nobby Solano at right-back only to find him join the injury list just when things were looking up.

To add to the defensive problems, Shay Given's groin problem meant Pavel Srnicek got his chance. So the prospect of facing Anelka and El-Hadji Diouf must have been frightening for all concerned. However, for 32 minutes Edgar and his team-mates were on top and had the Bolton fans rather concerned.

Dyer fired the Mags in front within eight minutes, capitalising on a careless defensive header by striker Kevin Davies to sprint into the box and fire past the helpless Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Obafemi Martins might have doubled the lead on 17 minutes when he blasted a left-foot drive beyond the keeper's dive but just wide of the far post, and James Milner threatened on more than one occasion as Bolton looked repeatedly vulnerable at the back.

But just as UNited started to anticipate a victory, Pav let the Trotters back into the game. Ramage waited until he could wait no longer for Srnicek to come for Gary Speed's hopeful header into the box and, with Kevin Nolan bearing down on him, the defender tried to head the ball back to his keeper but succeeded only in putting it into his own net.

Dyer joined Martins and Antoine Sibierski in a three-man frontline after the break, but just 12 minutes into the second half Davies flicked on Ivan Campo's long throw, Diouf scuffed a shot across the face of goal, and Anelka arrived at the far post to slam the loose ball into the net.

Pav's uncertainty after such a long spell out of football caused panic at the back and although he got a punch to Diouf's 61st-minute free-kick, he needed help to complete the job.

Nolan might have made it 3-1 with a 77th-minute flicked header, but the visitors were preparing a late assault of their own.

Substitute Giuseppe Rossi poked a shot into Jaaskelainen's arms and fellow newcomer Emre, on for Dyer, sent a dipping long-range effort just over in quick succession.

But it was Butt who went close six minutes from time, forcing the keeper into a diving save with a shot from distance as Roeder's men battled all the way to the whistle, but did so ultimately in vain.