Loan star Sturridge keeps goal-a-game run going for Bolton
Newcastle United 1 Bolton Wanderers 1
While Fernando Torres misfires at Chelsea, Bolton continue to benefit from the presence of a forward who Carlo Ancelotti believes is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge in the final months of the season.
Daniel Sturridge earned a deserved point for Bolton by scoring his fourth goal in four matches since joining them on loan from Chelsea, and showing why manager Owen Coyle believes he will develop into one of the country's outstanding strikers.
"He's a natural goalscorer, but he's more than that — he's a natural footballer," said Coyle. "Daniel is so exciting. I want to be entertained and when he gets the ball, anything can happen. That's what we want in this league."
His pace, mobility and imagination made Sturridge the outstanding figure in a match where a number of players made significant contributions, not least Kevin Nolan, who scored Newcastle's goal against his former club.
Less impressive was Ryan Taylor, whose deserved dismissal for a challenge on Johan Elmander forced the home side to play with 10 men for the final 38 minutes. Newcastle's manager Alan Pardew said: "Ryan made a mistake by going in with too much venom. There is not a malicious bone in his body, but he wanted to make up for a bad touch."
United still survived to emerge with a point, the right result, but one which does not enhance either team's faint prospects of a top-seven finish and a Europa League place next season.
The match had a remarkable opening that could have seen at least two goals by both teams before Newcastle led in the 13th minute when Cheik Tiote's cross from the left was headed in by Nolan for his 11th goal of the season.
Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands, an attacking pair gelling nicely, both went close to adding a second goal but, with Stuart Holden prompting intelligently from midfield, Bolton were still in the game – and they always had Sturridge.
The striker miskicked with one opportunity in the 26th minute but equalised seven minutes before the interval. Tiote's mistake gave Elmander time to find Sturridge just inside the area and his quick footwork and early shot enabled him to beat Steve Harper low into the keeper's left-hand corner.
Elmander was less convincing when he had to track back and was exposed again when Jose Enrique broke past him after the break, but the full-back's drive was saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Taylor's lunging challenge on Elmander brought his red card in the 54th minute but Wanderers failed to capitalise as Pardew switched tactics to play three at the back and retain two strikers. Martin Petrov went closest to a winner but Bolton were relieved when a stoppage-time header by Nile Ranger was disallowed for offside.
Pardew said: "We saw two good teams with plenty of confidence. It was a good Premier League game and the right result."
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the match: Sturridge
Match rating: 7/10
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