St. James' Park
Barclays Premier League
By Anthony Marshall, at St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Nolan 12)
Bolton Wanderers 1 (Sturridge 39)
Newcastle picked up an important point at home to Bolton this afternoon with a 1-1 draw, having played the final 35 minutes with 10 men.
Ryan Taylor was sent off early in the second half for a late lunge on Johan Elmander, but the hosts saw out the remainder of the game to move ever closer to guaranteeing their top flight status for another season.
However, the Magpies will have felt that they should have been out of sight by the time the sending off occurred, but they squandered a number of good first half chances.
As it was, Kevin Nolan's 11th goal of the season was cancelled out just before half-time by Daniel Sturridge, with the Bolton man firing home from the edge of the area after a rare Cheick Tiote error.
The home side suffered a set-back before the game had even kicked off, with influential midfielder Joey Barton suffering an injury in the warm-up. He was replaced on the right hand side of midfield by Ryan Taylor, with Shane Ferguson coming on to the bench.
But Newcastle didn't seem to be affected by that blow and came close to opening the scoring inside five minutes. When Ryan Taylor was fouled in the middle of the park, referee Chris Foy played a good advantage and Jonas Gutierrez strode through the middle of the park.
The Argentine slipped the ball right to Leon Best, who cut inside and curled a low effort inches past the far post.
The same players were involved just minutes later as only some desperate last-ditch defending denied Best. Gutierrez fed the front man inside the box and he twisted and turned past challenges before his eventual effort was well blocked by the Bolton rearguard.
Peter Lovenkrands wanted in on the action and forced Jussi Jaaskelainen into action in the 12th minute, cleverly flicking an effort towards the near post until the keeper's intervention.
But it was from the resulting corner that they finally broke the deadlock. Although the initial delivery was too deep, Cheick Tiote rescued the ball and his cross was glanced home by the head of Nolan against his former employers.
And although the midfielder - who now has 11 goals to his name this season - started to perform his trademark funky chicken celebration, he soon cut it short in respect for his time at Bolton.
A Steve Harper mistake in the 26th minute almost gifted the visitors an equaliser. The stopper shanked his kick straight to the feet of Johan Elmander, who in turn played through Daniel Sturridge.
The on-loan Chelsea striker raced into the area, but miscued under pressure as he pulled the trigger and fired wide.
Newcastle raced straight up the other end though and almost made them pay with goal number two. Jose Enrique was afforded time and space to gallop forward and when his dangerous was fumbled by Jaaskelainen, the follow-up shot from Best was brilliantly blocked by David Wheater.
But for all their pressure, the Magpies couldn't find a second and six minutes before the break Bolton grabbed an equaliser.
Tiote's misplaced pass to Enrique was cut out by Elmander, who quickly fed Sturridge, and the striker took a touch before drilling a low left-footed effort past the reach of Harper.
If Newcastle's confidence was dented by that leveller it didn't show as the sides came out for the second half. The home side were on top again in the early stages, with Enrique and Gutierrez both forcing Jaaskelainen into saves after raids down the left flank.
Bolton centre-back Gary Cahill almost edged them ahead, however in the 52nd minutes, latching on to a Kevin Davies' flick before rifling a low shot straight at Harper.
Alan Pardew's side were dealt a second blow of the afternoon just two minutes later. Ryan Taylor, so impressive on his return to first team action, took a heavy touch in the middle of the park before launching into a challenge on Elmander.
The midfielder was late and referee Chris Foy had no hesitation in producing a straight red card for the player who was only brought into the starting line-up at very short notice.
Wanderers went straight on the attack in an attempt to make the most of their numerical advantage, and winger Martin Petrov stung the palms of Harper from distance.
But if anyome thought Newcastle would try and just sit on a point and try to wind the game down, then they were mistaken - as shown by Pardew's double substitution midway through the half.
Switching to a 3-4-2 formation, Steven Taylor and Nile Ranger were introduced for Gutierrez and Lovenkrands as they still thought a winner could be on the cards.
That almost arrived on 71 minutes when the two subs combined - Steven Taylor racing down the right to send a hanging cross over, where Ranger rose above Jaaskelainen but could only head off target.
It was becoming end to end stuff and Nolan was forced to clear Petrov's cross-cum-shot from almost underneath his own bar as the visitors threw everything forward.
Elmander lashed over the top from a tight angle, while at the other end efforts from Enrique and Nolan ended with exactly the same outcome.
Ranger thought he had won it for the Magpies deep into stoppage time when he beat Jaaskelainen to Enrique's cross and headed in, but the linesman's flag denied him what would have been a truly memorable goal.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Steve Harper; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique; Ryan Taylor, Cheick Tiote, Kevin Nolan (c), Jonas Gutierrez (Steven Taylor 67); Leon Best (Shefki Kuqi 90), Peter Lovenkrands (Nile Ranger 67)
Subs not used: Tim Krul, James Perch, Sol Campbell, Shane Ferguson
Bolton (4-4-2): Jussi Jaaskelainen; Paul Robinson, David Wheater, Gary Cahill, Marcos Alonso; Johan Elmander, Fabrice Muamba (Mark Davies 79), Stuart Holden, Martin Petrov (Matthew Taylor 85); Kevin Davies (c), Daniel Sturridge
Subs not used: Adam Bogdan, Gretar Steinsson, Rodrigo, Chung-Yong Lee, Ivan Klasnic
Referee: Chris Foy
Attendance: 48,062 (1,623 Bolton fans)