United Lose At The Reebok

Reebok Stadium

Bolton Wanderers 2: Diouf 36; Stelios 50
Newcastle United 0:

Final Update: 90mins (8pm kick-off)

Ian Willis reports from The Reebok Stadium

NEWCASTLE United's miserable start to the season continued when they crashed 2-0 against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium.

El Hadji Diouf broke the deadlock nine minutes before the interval when he headed in a deep cross from Nicky Hunt.

And five minutes after the turnaround, Stelios tapped home from close range after United old boy Gary Speed glanced a Diouf cross across the face of goal.

The closest United came to notching their first goal of the season came after just four minutes when Lee Bowyer turned and shot, but Speed was well positioned on the line to nod the ball away with Jussi Jaaskelainen well beaten.

Shola Ameobi returned to United's starting line-up at the Reebok Stadium after completing a drawn-out three game ban following his red card at Everton in the penultimate game of last season.

Ameobi's return saw James Milner drop to the bench to make way for the striker.

In the only other change from the goalless draw with West Ham, Charles N'Zogbia had to be content with a place on the substitute's bench as Amady Faye returned to the side in midfield.

Former Magpies star Speed was in Bolton's starting line-up, while summer signing Abdoulaye Faye - no relation to United's Amady - was on the bench.

Japanese star Hidetoshi Nakata, who signed from Fiorentina last week, did not receive international clearance in time for the game. 

United, wearing their all-green away kit, got the game underway defending the stand housing the travelling supporters. Shearer was operating, as usual, down the middle, with Ameobi to his left and Lee Bowyer in a more advanced role down the right in a 4-3-3 formation.

Bolton won a corner in the first two minutes after Speed's free kick from the right flank was headed away. Given easily gathered Stelios' inswinging flag kick.

Newcastle almost took the lead from their first attack when Speed headed Bowyer's effort off the line on four minutes after Shearer nodded down a cross from Babayaro.

A free kick quickly followed for the visitors 25 yards out, but when Parker rolled the ball into the path of Shearer his powerful drive was blocked by the wall.

Moments later, a corner was cleared as United continued their bright start, then at the other end an ambitious effort from an acute angle by Okocha just dipped over Given's crossbar.

Diouf tried to con referee Rob Styles on 11 minutes as he theatrically tumbled to the floor under a challenge from Babayaro just inside the box.

On 13 minutes a foul on davies by Taylor gave Bolton a free kick just on the edge of the visitors' penalty area in a central position, and after a delay while the Bolton players argued that the wall wasn't back 10 yards, Okocha swerved the ball over the bar.

Bolton had to make a change on 23 minutes when Jaidi, who appeared to pull a hamstring earlier in the game, limped off to be replaced by Faye.

Amady Faye saw a shot on the turn deflected for a corner by his namesake on 25 minutes after a pass from Bowyer, but Taylor's header from Bowyer's flag kick was easily swept away by Okocha.

Boumsong needed treatment after landing awkwardly following an aerial collision with Davies on 27 minutes, but was able to return after getting attention from Paul Ferris.

Bolton won a corner on 28 minutes when Okocha's cross was nodded away by Taylor, but Speed's inswinger was punched away by Given and Ameobi booted the loose ball to safety.

Carr blazed wildly off target just after the half hour after Babayaro picked him out with a crossfield ball, then as Bolton broke in their next attack Taylor was shown a yellow card for pulling back Stelios.

On 36 minutes Bolton took the lead, when a deep cross from Hunt picked out Diouf at the back post, and he rose above Carr to power a header past Given. 

Jenas then screwed a left foot shot well wide after Shearer teed him up a minute after the goal before Parker raced out of the wall to block a Bolton free kick from Okocha at the other end.

Two minutes of time were added on at the end of the first period, and there were no further opportunties at either end as United went in trailing at the break.

Five minutes into the second half it got worse for United when Diouf kept a deep cross in play on the near touchline and whipped in a cross that Speed glanced on to give Stelios a simple tap-in at the back post.

Shearer had penalty claims waved away on 52 minutes after a challenge from Hunt as he tried to get on the end of Bowyer's cross.

Okocha arrowed a long range drive just wide of Given's left hand post on 58 minutes after the home side broke quickly down the left following a Newcastle free kick, then Speed had a shot charged down by Taylor after Diouf's pass picked him out 25 yards from goal.

On 59 minutes United made a change, with Lee Clark replacing Faye in the middle of midfield.

On 65 minutes Taylor did well to get behind a stinging cross from Okocha with Davies lurking in the box, then a minute later Bowyer made way for James Milner.

Taylor nodded Nolan's cross away for a corner on 69 minutes, and Carr had to head Speed's inswinger off the line at the back post to prevent the Bolton midfielder from scoring against his old club straight from the flag kick.

Davies was replaced by Ivan Campo on 70 minutes as Sam Allardyce made his first change of the evening.

A trip by Faye on Ameobi gave Newcastle a free kick in a dangerous position on the right corner of the penalty area on 76 minutes, and Jenas' quickly-taken effort clipped off Stelios and went out for a corner. Milner swung the corner in, but Boumsong was adjudged to have handled and Bolton regained possession with a free kick.

A 25 yard drive from Shearer on 81 minutes was palmed away by Jaaskelainen as the skipper tried to find a way back into the match for The Magpies, then in the next attack Carr's cross was headed away by Faye.

Ameobi fired over from the edge of the box on 84 minutes, then three minutes later Mexican striker Jared Borgetti made his Bolton bow from the bench when he replaced Diouf for the last few minutes.

United: Shay Given, Stephen Carr, Steven Taylor, Jean Alain Boumsong, Celestine Babayaro, Jermaine Jenas, Lee Bowyer (James Milner 66), Amady Faye (Lee Clark 59), Scott Parker, Shola Ameobi, Alan Shearer Subs (not used): Robbie Elliott, Steve Harper, Charles N'Zogbia

Bolton: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Nicky Hunt, Tal Ben Haim, Radhi Jaidi (Abdoulaye Faye 23), Kevin Nolan, Gary Speed, Stelios, Jay Jay Okocha, Henrik Pedersen, El Hadji Diouf (Jared Borgetti 87), Kevin Davies (Ivan Campo 70) Subs (not used): Ian Walker, Ricardo Vaz Te


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