Newcastle United 0 Bolton Wanderers 0

Last updated : 19 January 2008 By Footymad Previewer
Kevin Keegan's eagerly anticipated return ended in a great anti-climax as Newcastle United were held to a disappointing goalless draw by Bolton Wanderers.

If ever there was such a thing as home banker it had to be this match as Keegan marked his third spell at St. James' Park and second as the club's manager.

On his first occasion as a player, 'Special K' marked his debut with the only goal of the game against QPR and it got even better on his managerial debut as Newcastle thumped Bristol City 3-0.

Bearing in mind Keegan had won his opening fixture in charge of England, Fulham and Manchester City, there could surely be only on result.

But the expected three points for the Geordies never materialised against a defensive-minded Bolton, who almost had the audacity to snatch a last minute winner.

After watching the 4-1 demolition of Stoke City in the FA Cup on Wednesday, this was Keegan's team selection and he named Michael Owen as skipper.

But Keegan had to reckon without the suspended midfield trio of Nicky Butt, Alan Smith and Emre plus the African Nations' quartet of Geremi, Habib Beye, Abdoulaye Faye and Obafemi Martins along with Joey Barton.

Keegan pulled off something of a surprise when handing Shola Ameobi his first home start in the league this season in what was only his second Premier League start on the back of two Carling Cup appearances.

Gary Megson meanwhile had both his new signings Matt Taylor and Gretar Steinsson - who played against Newcastle for AZ Alkmaar last season - in from the start.

Wanderers packed their midfield and Newcastle looked totally devoid of ideas in the first half as how to find a way through the middle of the park.

It was this lack of creativity in the midfield that was to prove costly for Newcastle as they failed to penetrate Bolton with the necessary cutting thrust.

Jussi Jaaskelainen did not have a shot to save, while Shay Given was called upon only twice in the opening 45 minutes to keep out early efforts from Joey O'Brien and Kevin Nolan.

Newcastle upped the tempo after the break in front of a full house but chances were few and far between with only the odd flash from James Milner and Ameobi.

At least Keegan managed a goalless draw but at the same time knows there is a long, hard challenge ahead of him.