Thursday, August 25, 2005

All white on the night

Bolton 2 - 0 Newcastle

Blankety blank - again. Fred: get out your chequebook and pen. NOW.

Just think what you could accomplish in the best part of 500 minutes. And now reflect on the fact that it's not long enough for one of our multi-millionaire "stars" - or "useless cunts" as they are more frequently called round these parts - to find the back of an opposition net in the Premiership.

The last player to achieve the feat - "achieve the feat"? That makes it sound on a par with climbing fucking Everest - was Shola Ameobi against the mighty Fulham, and we welcomed him back after suspension fervently hoping that he'd be the man to end the drought. But no - like the rest of his colleagues, he displayed a pathological fear of hitting the target.

Also brought into the side was Faye, ostensibly to toughen up the midfield, but of course the demotion of N'Zogbia and Milner following Saturday's snore-draw meant that we had no width whatsoever and consequently precious little service for the front two.

That our best opportunity came in the sixth minute speaks volumes about the performance. Bowyer swivelled neatly and his powerful volley beat Jussi Jaaskelainen only for ex Mag Gary Speed to head it off the line.

In the report of this fixture last year, I noted that "the taste of victory must have been all the sweeter for Speed, perhaps Bolton's star performer against the club which he served so well but which deemed him surplus to requirements in the summer". A bad case of deja vu, then. Not only did he foil Bowyer, he also had a vicious and goalbound inswinging corner knocked away from under the crossbar by Carr and played a key role in his side's decisive second goal. But more of that in a moment.

The Trotters dominated the first half, our players once again struggling to cope with their muscular and effective approach play. Taylor was booked on the ground on which he made his Premiership debut two seasons ago, and shortly afterwards Bolton were ahead. Nicky Hunt swung over a long cross and the Senegalese Spitter aka El-Hadji Diouf was one of several players queueing up to nod the ball into the net, Carr and Given too culpably statuesque.

The home side only had to wait for five minutes after half time to double their advantage. Diouf crossed, Speed got a flicked header to the ball and the supposedly unsettled Stelios Giannakopoulos couldn't miss the gaping net from a yard out. Replays suggested he was offside, but then our players deserved to know they were two goals worse than the opposition.

They continued to create chances, whereas after Bowyer's volley our only effort of note was a Shearer piledriver that Jaaskelainen showily fisted away. And this against a defence with a striker (Henrik Pedersen) playing the whole game at left back and first choice centre back Raidi Jaidi off the pitch injured since the 23rd minute...

Another abject defeat at the Reebok Stadium to chalk up with those of the last three seasons.

Right, that's all you're getting - I haven't got the strength to carry on, and neither, I suspect, have you.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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