Brilliant Ben Arfa goal keeps Newcastle's Champions League dream alive

Newcastle 2 Bolton 0

Hatem Ben Arfa produced a moment of genius to maintain Newcastle's unlikely bid for Champions League qualification.

The Frenchman lit up a disjointed display by his side with a breathtaking 73rd-minute run and finish to finally break Bolton's stubborn resistance.

Papiss Cisse made sure of the win seven minutes from time by converting substitute Shola Ameobi's cross - his 10th goal in nine appearances for the club - to take the Magpies to 59 points for the campaign, their best Barclays Premier League haul since the 2005-06 season.

But the visitors headed back across the Pennines knowing it might have been so different had either Chris Eagles or Mark Davies managed to beat keeper Tim Krul in an impressive start to the second half.

They remain deep in relegation trouble, in sharp contrast to their hosts, whose dreams of European qualification refuse to die.

The respective ambitions of the two sides ahead of kick-off could hardly have been in starker contrast with Newcastle intent on sustaining an unlikely charge for Europe and Bolton simply looking for the points they need to extend their Premier League stay.

But with the locals having arrived hoping for a free-flowing attacking display from their side in the wake of Friday night's battling win at Swansea, what they got was a drab, joyless opening 45 minutes which would have delighted Wanderers boss Owen Coyle.

Cisse, who has put better defences than that boasted by today's visitors to the sword in recent weeks, was subdued as he and Newcastle's flair players failed to fire in the face of a determined rearguard action.

In addition, recalled veteran Bolton frontman Kevin Davies kept the returning Fabricio Coloccini and central defensive partner Mike Williamson busy throughout.

It said much about the opening period that the only half-chance came with 38 minutes gone, and that the result of an error by visiting keeper Adam Bogdan which, fortunately for him, went unpunished.

French midfielder Yohan Cabaye had a brief glimpse of goal with 15 minutes played when the ball broke to him on the edge of the box after full-back Danny Simpson's charge had been halted, but he fired high over.

Sam Ricketts saw a long-range shot deflected wide by Coloccini four minutes later, but Krul and Bogdan were never stretched as Bolton managed to frustrate their hosts.

Krul had to get down well at his near post to collect Martin Petrov's 31st-minute strike, but there was never any real chance of the ball eluding his grasp, and his opposite number was similarly unworried by Coloccini's curling effort from distance two minutes later.

The only moment of note came seven minutes before the break, and perhaps fittingly, was something of a comedy of errors.

Bogdan got to Ben Arfa's inswinging free-kick under no pressure, but contrived to punch it straight at team-mate Ricketts with the ball, to his immense relief, flying wide of his unguarded goal.

There was almost an audible sigh of relief when referee Mike Jones blew for half-time with the home fans hoping the restart would bring much, much better.

In the event, it very nearly brought much worse.

The home side, who had replaced utility man James Perch with Shane Ferguson at the break, found themselves pinned back inside their own half after Williamson had been penalised for a foul on Darren Pratley.

Newcastle dealt with the initial free-kick, but simply could not clear their lines, and Krul had to make a fine block after Eagles had controlled a bouncing ball inside the box, side-stepped Coloccini and gone for goal left-footed.

But the Holland international was mightily relieved to see Petrov's 53rd-minute cross elude Pratley after it had flown past him inside his six-yard box.

Mark Davies was unable to make the most of Kevin Davies' 64th-minute cross to allow Krul to block his scuffed shot, and Pardew opted to make a further change.

He withdrew Demba Ba, who was not best pleased, and replaced him with Ameobi, but it was Ben Arfa who sent a 68th-minute free-kick wide of Bogdan's left post.

But the France international was not finished, and won the game with a run and finish which oozed class 17 minutes from time.

Ben Arfa picked up the ball from Cabaye deep inside his own half before setting off on an unstoppable run which saw his slip away from Mark Davies and in between central defenders David Wheater and Tim Ream before nonchalantly poking a shot past the advancing Bogdan.

The game was over 10 minutes later when Ameobi turned Ream wide on the right and sent a cross to the far post where Cisse, who looked suspiciously offside, tapped home his now customary goal.

PA

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice