More misery for Bolton as Ba seals Magpies win

Bolton 0 Newcastle 2

Two goals in as many minutes from Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba earned Newcastle their first win in seven Barclays Premier League games against struggling Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.

The Magpies had taken only two points from their previous six games while Bolton's victory over Blackburn in midweek ended a run of five straight defeats, and in the first half it appeared very much a battle between two struggling sides.

But the deadlock was broken in the 69th minute when Ben Arfa netted his first goal in more than a year and the prolific Ba doubled the lead soon after.

Defensive woes have been the problem for Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, who was able to call on centre-back Mike Williamson for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury in August.

Yohan Cabaye was back after suspension, while for Bolton Marcos Alonso and Gretar Steinsson were unavailable so Paul Robinson and Dedryck Boyata came in.

If fans were hoping for a Boxing Day treat they certainly did not get it in the first half as both sides struggled to string passes together.

There were only two chances of note, one for either side, in almost identical circumstances.

Newcastle dominated the early stages and in the 14th minute Ryan Taylor drew a good save from Jussi Jaaskelainen diving low to his left with a free-kick after Fabrice Muamba had fouled Cabaye 25 yards out.

Bolton's confidence levels did not seem to have been improved by Tuesday's win but they gradually came into the match and were close to taking the lead six minutes before half-time.

Cabaye was harshly penalised for a nudge on Nigel Reo-Coker just outside the box and Martin Petrov's free-kick was heading for the bottom corner until Tim Krul thrust out a hand.

Leon Best had the final chance of the half when he was picked out by Ryan Taylor's corner but he could manage only a glancing header and guided the ball well wide.

Bolton's season was summed up by a sequence of play in the 55th minute. First Robinson found Ngog with a good ball down the left and Klasnic eventually picked up the striker's cross-shot only to trip himself up as he looked to get a shot away.

At the other end, Jaaskelainen blocked an effort from Gabriel Obertan before Newcastle made the first substitution of the afternoon, Ben Arfa coming on for Best.

Bolton were certainly looking more of a threat going forward and Petrov lashed an effort just wide of the far post.

But in the 69th minute they went behind as Newcastle at last put together a move of real quality, ending with Taylor crossing for Ben Arfa to crisply volley in only his second goal for the club and his first since September 2010, shortly before he suffered a broken leg against Manchester City.

And two minutes later the game was all but over as poor defending from Paul Robinson let in Obertan down the right and his cross was clipped in by Ba despite the best efforts of Gary Cahill.

It was Ba's 14th goal of the season, and he almost added another moments later but this time Jaaskelainen was quickly off his line to block, Taylor then fired a free-kick well over the bar.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle threw on strikers Tuncay Sanli and Kevin Davies but it was already a lost cause and even a consolation was beyond the Trotters.

Boos rang out at the final whistle, with the result meaning Bolton stay three points from safety and now only one point above bottom side Blackburn.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee