Bolton expose Souness'triking flaws

Bolton Wanderers 2 Newcastle United 0

Goals from El-Hadji Diouf and Stelios Giannakopoulos piled the misery on Souness, who at this alarming rate of decline will need more than Michael Owen to save his job.

Newcastle and Souness have taken just one point from their opening three matches, one less than at the same stage last season under predecessor Sir Bobby Robson who was eventually sacked before August was out.

The Scot could easily follow, particularly with Manchester United next up at St James' Park on Sunday, and currently with two strikers in form in Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney.

With Newcastle also drawing a blank for the third successive Premiership game, there is no doubt Souness desperately needs a player of Owen's calibre as his side continue to underachieve.

Owen's preferred option, if all else fails at Real Madrid and if Liverpool fail to make the move he hopes for, is to join Newcastle on a season-long loan - and that would appear to be the safer option for the England international striker should the Magpies prove to be his escape route from Spain.

The Magpies are currently a shambles of a side, lacking in imagination and inspiration, and that could ultimately prove the downfall for Souness as he has players of quality in the squad but is currently unable to draw the best from them.

Bar one third minute chance for Lee Bowyer, United struggled for the remainder of the opening half as Bolton pressed, worked together as a unit and ultimately gained their reward.

In truth, Bowyer was a shade unlucky as former Magpie Gary Speed just happened to be in the right place at the right time to head the midfielder's left-footed drive off the line, with Jussi Jaaskelainen well beaten.

It was also Newcastle's best-worked move of the half, involving Amdy Faye, Celestine Babayaro and captain Alan Shearer whose far-post knock down found Bowyer with his back to goal before he cleverly worked the opening.

Bolton soon countered, with captain Jay-Jay Okocha driving narrowly over from an acute angle, while referee Rob Styles was unmoved to the penalty claims of Diouf when he took a tumble on the edge of the area as Celestine Babayaro challenged.

By the half-hour mark Newcastle were struggling to escape from their own half, with one rare raid in the 33rd minute resulting in Stephen Carr firing wildly over from 20 yards after fine approach play from Babayaro and Bowyer.

Admittedly, by that stage, Bolton had not created many chances of their own as Newcastle were hardly being torn apart, but the home side were comfortably in control and did not look a team ready to relinquish their dominance.

Nine minutes from the break they deservedly broke the deadlock, with Nicky Hunt taking a lay-off from Stelios and delivering a piercing cross to the far post where Diouf powered home a header from four yards in off the right-hand post for his first of the season.

Within five minutes of the second half Souness was wearing the look of a worried man as Bolton doubled their lead with comparative ease.

Diouf chased down an overhit Hunt right-wing cross, and given time to pick his spot with his own ball, he found Speed at the near post for a flick to the far where Stelios tapped home from a yard.

There followed the inevitable cries from the Newcastle fans of 'We want Souness out, we want Souness out' - with a large section of Bolton supporters adding weight to the chants.

Bolton fans will be hoping that is not one of the last acts they see from Stelios as he continues to be linked with a move away, with Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez confirming his interest and now seemingly in a tussle with Manchester City for his services.

Wanderers could have added a third in the 70th minute, but Carr first headed away from underneath his own bar an inswinging Speed corner.

From the subsequent corner, Diouf was narrowly wide with a stabbed shot before United rallied in the closing stages as Shearer and Ameobi both went close - but by that stage it was too little too late.

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Hunt, Jaidi (Diagne-Faye, 23), Ben Haim, Pedersen; Nolan, Okocha, Speed, Giannakopoulos; Davies (Campo, 70), Diouf (Borgetti, 87). Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Vaz Te.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Carr, Boumsong, Taylor, Babayaro; Bowyer (Milner, 67), Jenas, Faye (Clark, 60), Parker; Ameobi, Shearer. Substitutes not used: Elliott, Harper (gk), N'Zogbia.

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own