Sports Direct Arena
Barclays Premier League
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At the Sports Direct Arena
Newcastle United 2 (Ben Arfa 73, Cisse 83)
Bolton Wanderers 0
A second half wonder goal from Hatem Ben Arfa helped Newcastle United record a 2-0 home win over Bolton Wanderers on Easter Monday.
An uneventful match at the Sports Direct Arena appeared to be heading for a stalemate until the 73rd minute, when the French forward embarked on a mazy dribble from inside his own half before producing a nonchalent finish past Trotters keeper Adam Bogdan.
Prolific striker Papiss Cisse then secured the win with time running out as he tapped home from a couple of yards, to give United their fifth consecutive Premier League win.
The Magpies have now seen off Norwich, West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool, Swansea and Bolton in successive games, and the last time they achieved that feat was in April 2006.
Strugglers Bolton will feel hard done by having matched Newcastle throughout, with Martin Petrov, Chris Eagles and Darren Pratley all threatening for the visitors.
But Ben Arfa will take all the plaudits - and deservedly so - for a goal which will be talked about on Tyneside for years to come.
The opening exchanges of the game saw plenty of huff and puff from both sides, with little end product in the final third, and it took until the 15th minute for the first chance to be created.
At the other end, fit-again United skipper Fabricio Coloccini did well to block an effort from Sam Ricketts, after the Bolton left-back found himself racing into the area with the ball at his feet, while Bolton defender David Wheater glanced a deep corner wide at the far post.
Chances were few and far between, but on 31 minutes Trotters winger Martin Petrov created something out of nothing, weaving past a couple of challenges before smashing a low shot at Krul, which the Dutch stopper did well to gather at the second attempt on a rain-soaked surface.
A couple of minutes later Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan was also called into action, plucking Coloccini's long-range curled strike out of the air before it found its way into the top corner, while the Hungarian youngster was fortunate to escape soon after as he punched a cross against the head of his own defender, with the ball ending up behind for a corner.
In a bid to improve a quiet first-half performance, young left-sided Northern Ireland international Shane Ferguson was introduced at half-time, replacing James Perch.
But it was the visitors who should have finally broken the deadlock three minutes after the restart. United were unable to properly deal with a couple of crosses into the box, and when Chris Eagles jinked into the box and found himself a couple of yards of space, only the legs of Krul prevented the ball from hitting the back of the net.
On 53 minutes, Darren Pratley was inches away from connecting with Petrov's low left-wing cross. The midfielder, sliding in only a couple of yards out, only needed to get the slightest of touches and the visitors would have taken the lead.
Shola Ameobi was Newcastle's next replacement, coming on for Demba Ba, but again it was the visitors who almost struck within seconds of the change. Kevin Davies' hanging cross from the right was allowed to bounce in the middle of the area, and namesake Mark was unable to get a solid enough contact on it, with Krul pouncing on the ball.
A rare second half sight of goal from United saw Hatem Ben Arfa curl a 25-yard free-kick over the wall but agonisingly the wrong side of the upright, with Bogdan seemingly beaten.
It looked as though a moment of brilliance was going to be needed for either side to break through, and that arrived on 73 minutes courtesy of an outstanding individual goal from Ben Arfa.
Receiving the ball well inside his own half, the forward turned away from Ricketts with a superb piece of skill and then proceeded to race towards goal, slaloming past countless challenges before poking the ball past the helpless Bogdan and into the back of the net at the Gallowgate End.
From that point it looked like game over, and all three points were confirmed seven minutes from the end as Cisse netted his tenth goal in United colours - from just nine games.
The goal owed much to the persistence of substitute Ameobi, who outmuscled Bolton defender Tim Ream to race onto a ball over the top from Cabaye, before putting a low cross on a plate for Cisse to tap home.
It was job done for United, who had made hard work of it at times against a tough Bolton side, but despite some late pressure they held out to seccure a fifth successive win - with each of the last three finishing 2-0.
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Yohan Cabaye, James Perch (Shane Ferguson 46), Jonas Gutierrez; Hatem Ben Arfa (Ryan Taylor 85), Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba (Shola Ameobi 64)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling
Bolton Wanderers (4-5-1): Adam Bogdan; Gretar Steinsson, David Wheater, Tim Ream, Sam Ricketts; Chris Eagles (Ryo Miyaichi 78), Nigel Reo-Coker, Mark Davies, Darren Pratley (Ivan Klasnic 82), Martin Petrov; Kevin Davies (c) (David Ngog 78)
Subs not used: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Marcos Alonso, Zat Knight, Marvin Sordell
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Attendance: 52,264 (1,000 Bolton)