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St James' Park, England

Referee: A Wiley | Attendance: 52250

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 0


Newcastle 0-0 Bolton: Keegan return goalless

Kevin Keegan's homecoming ended in disappointment as battling Bolton denied him a victory on his return to St James Park.

The visitors might even have headed home with all three points had Shay Given not produced a fine late save to deny substitute Jlloyd Samuel on a frustrating afternoon for the Magpies.

Keegan saw his side struggle to impose themselves before the break and then meet stern resistance when they made a second-half charge.

The 56-year-old had tasted victory in his first game as a Newcastle player and again when he took over as manager in 1992, but he could not complete a hat-trick with a crowd of 52,250 roaring his side on throughout.

• Keegan disappointed with start

But in truth, they rarely threatened to produce the brand of football Keegan is determined to deliver with Jussi Jaaskelainen having to turn away a dangerous James Milner cross and Ricardo Gardner taking the ball off Shola Ameobis toe when he was handed a rare sight of goal.

After a solid first half the visitors retreated deeper and deeper after the break in an attempt to keep the Magpies at bay and will be more than satisfied with a point on a day when perhaps a little realism returned to St James Park after an emotional few days.

Billionaire owner Mike Ashley arrived in the Directors Box having abandoned his Alan Smith shirt in favour of one bearing the legend `King Kev as he prepared to witness what he hoped would be the dawn of a new era.

Keegan spoke passionately of the need to entertain the clubs long-suffering fans when he was unveiled yesterday, and admitted it would take him time to re-establish the reputation the Magpies had enjoyed during his previous reign.

Just how long that will take may have become a little more evident in his first 45 minutes back in the hot-seat as his admittedly makeshift side were successfully blunted by a Bolton outfit cast in the image of the former manager of both clubs, Sam Allardyce.

Wanderers make no apologies for their abrasive style of play, the very antithesis of Keegans philosophy.

They close down space, they do not allow opponents time on the ball and when they manage to get it in and around combative lone striker Kevin Davies, they provide him with support from midfield.

Newcastle, with central defender David Rozehnal playing in midfield - Keegan had only 11 fit senior players from which to select after Mark Viduka went down with a calf problem - simply could not break the visitors down in a frustrating first half for manager, players and supporters alike.

Michael Owen, captaining the side as his former England boss attempted to dispel talk of a rift between the two, found himself dropping increasingly deep as he and strike partner Ameobi saw too little of the ball to do any real damage.

Kevin Nolan, Gavin McCann and Joey OBrien worked tirelessly to starve the dangerous Charles NZogbia, Damien Duff and James Milner of meaningful possession, and all too often, it was Rozehnal who ended up in the role of ball carrier to little effect.

At the other end, Claudio Cacapa had his hands full with Davies, and it was Bolton who created to only chances of any note, former Magpie Andy OBrien and Nolan testing Shay Given from distance, although not to any great extent.

Bolton resumed in equally determined fashion as Davies continued the pressurise the home defence, but Newcastle started to find a spark.

They mounted their most promising attack of the game to that point on 51 minutes when Milner ran on to Ameobis lay-off to fire in a shot which was well blocked by Andy OBrien, with Stephen Carr slicing high and wide in the resulting melee.

OBrien got himself into the right place at the right time once again three minutes later to prevent NZogbias well-struck effort from reaching Jaaskelainen.

The Frenchman curled a 59th-minute free-kick over the bar after Andy OBrien had fouled Ameobi with his side belatedly mounting a charge.

Gardner had to make a fine tackle to deny Ameobi a clean shot at goal three minutes later after Cacapa and NZogbia had combined to open up the Bolton defence for the first time.

Jaaskelainen tipped a Milner cross over as it threatened to sneak under the bar, but having come so far, Bolton were in no mood to surrender.

They almost snatched all three points in injury time when Samuel span on a loose ball inside the box and fired towards goal, where Given made an excellent block to preserve his clean sheet and hand Keegan at least some reward.

  • Keegan disappointed with start<

    Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi hailed the effect Kevin Keegans return has had

    on Tyneside.

    Keegan was appointed Newcastle boss for the second time earlier this week

    although the Magpies could not celebrate his return with a win, but they eked

    out a goalless draw with Bolton at St James Park.

    There were few clear-cut chances and the Magpies were grateful to Shay Given

    who saved Jlloyd Samuels point blank shot at the death.

    However, Ameobi said: ' Bolton played really well and

    defended really well. But that is the start of things to come.

    It is the second time for us, the fans and the manager.'

    Keegan had watched the Magpies beat Stoke 4-1 in an FA Cup replay on the day

    his return was announced and Ameobi claimed the players had responded to his

    arrival with better performances.

    The striker said: 'I think you can see that in the two performances since

    hes been here.

    It has lifted the crowd and the city. Its fantastic to have him here and

    play for him.'

    Bolton defender Andy OBrien was thrilled to have taken a point against his

    former club.

    'We knew we had to concentrate on ourselves, our away form has not been good

    this year', he said.

    Striker Kevin Davies added: 'We are delighted with the point especially

    coming away from home.

    We've managed to drag ourselves back into it down there.'

    Keegan admitted he was disappointed not to have not marked his return with a

    victory although he admitted Wanderers had made life difficult.

    'You hoped it wouldn't be a 0-0 type of game,' Keegan said. 'The stadium

    was rocking but Bolton came here and were very well disciplined and very well

    organised by Gary (Megson) and we weren't good enough to break them down.

    'There was plenty of effort, plenty of endeavour, trying so hard - maybe too

    hard - to make things happen.

    'We missed a lot players today. Take that into consideration and forget the

    hype and it's actually quite a good result for us.

    'It will improve from here. Maybe we will get players in. We are a quality

    squad but we are a small squad.'

    Bolton manager Gary Megson said: 'It was a good point but when we play as

    well as we did in the first half we need to sustain it a lot better than we


    'We are making substitutions not because of technique but because of the

    fitness work we need to do.'

    Asked if he would be signing any more players in the transfer window, Megson

    added on Setanta: 'Everybody is of the same mind but what we won't do is bring

    in players who will be expensive but won't improve us.'

  • Scoring Summary

    • Newcastle United
    • Bolton Wanderers

    Match Stats

    • Newcastle United
    • Bolton Wanderers
    14(5) Shots (on goal) 7(5)
    14 Fouls 15
    9 Corner kicks 6
    1 Offsides 4
    54% Time of Possession 46%
    1 Yellow Cards 2
    0 Red Cards 0
    3 Saves 1


    • Newcastle United
    • Bolton Wanderers
    Yellow Cards
    Damien Duff (57')