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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 August 2007, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Bolton 1-3 Newcastle
By Paul Fletcher

Obafemi Martins celebrates a goal in spectacular style
Martins celebrates scoring in spectacular style
Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce celebrated his first league game in charge with victory over former club Bolton.

Charles N'Zogbia scored the first of three first-half goals with a curling free-kick that eluded everybody.

Obafemi Martins hit a spectacular overhead kick and then saw a long-range strike deflect past Jussi Jaaskelainen as Newcastle led 3-0 at the break.

Nicolas Anelka finished a blistering break five minutes after the restart but the Magpies deserved their win.

And although the result marked a miserable start to Sammy Lee's first full season in charge of Bolton, he can have no complaints about the scoreline.

Newcastle, with summer signings Mark Viduka, Alan Smith, David Rozenhal and skipper Geremi in the side, started the new season with real intent.


They were at Bolton from the opening whistle, hustling and harrying and finding plenty of space in and around the home team's defence.

Bolton, in contrast, came out of the blocks like a hamstrung sprinter.

They were ponderous on the ball, surrendered possession far too easily and struggled to find any fluency in attack.

Defensive hesitation almost resulted in a goal after just four minutes but Gerald Cid managed to deflect Viduka's strike over the crossbar.

The visitors, however, were soon in the lead when N'Zogbia, who did not score at all last season, delivered a looping free-kick from out wide that eluded everyone before nestling in the bottom corner of Jaaskelainen's goal.

Martins' opening goal was brilliant, chesting James Milner's cross with his first touch before executing a brilliant overhead kick that the Nigerian did superbly to keep on target from close range.

However, he had been gifted far too much time for a striker inside the opposition six-yard box.

The game might have changed had Smith and then Steven Taylor not both played their part in clearing a fierce Gary Speed strike off the line after the Bolton player-coach made a crisp contact from the edge of the area.

Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce
Allardyce cut a dignified figure as he returned to Bolton with a victory

But the momentum was firmly with Newcastle and when an optimistic long-range strike from Martins took a slight deflection, Jaaskelainen was left wrong-footed and unable to kick the ball clear with his foot.

Bolton trailed 3-0 with just 27 minutes gone and, though Ricardo Vaz Te and Gavin McCann had shots that flew comfortably wide of Steve Harper's goal, the scoreline remained the same at the break.

In stark contrast to the first half, however, Bolton played with purpose after the resumption and soon pulled a goal back through Anelka.

McCann started a pulsating break that saw Kevin Nolan play Anelka into space before the French striker slotted the ball through Harper's leg with his second touch of the ball.

The crowd, who had booed Bolton from the pitch at the break, suddenly got behind their team.

El Hadji Diouf had come on at the break and Lee introduced Heidar Helguson and Mikel Alonso during the second half.

But despite ensuring a much more even contest in the final 45 minutes, the home team did not seriously threaten Harper's goal again after Anelka's strike.

Bolton manager Sammy Lee when asked to explain his team's awful start:
"I don't think you can.

"It was disappointing. All the preparation goes out of the window at an early stage.

"I'm far from happy to be beaten 3-1 on the opening day of the season but I have to take the positives and there were a few in the second half."

Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce:
"It is a great start to the season for me and my players," said Allardyce.

"The application by the players was terrific and I think that the quality of the finishing was the difference between the two teams.

"I'm not sure what level these players are at yet but they are starting to hit a standard I don't want them to drop."

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Cid, Faye, Samuel, Nolan, McCann, Speed (Alonso 74), Vaz Te (Diouf 46), Anelka, Davies (Helguson 58).
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Sinclair.

Booked: Helguson.

Goals: Anelka 50.

Newcastle: Harper, Carr, Taylor, Rozehnal, N'Zogbia, Butt, Geremi, Smith, Martins (Solano 69), Viduka (Ameobi 72), Milner (Ramage 86).
Subs Not Used: Cacapa, Forster.

Booked: Geremi.

Goals: N'Zogbia 11, Martins 21, 27.

Att: 25,414

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

Saturday's football photos
11 Aug 07 |  Premier League


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