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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 January 2008, 19:13 GMT
Newcastle 0-0 Bolton
By Phil McNulty

New Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan shouts from the touchline
New Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan shouts from the touchline
Kevin Keegan's return as Newcastle boss turned into a damp squib with a desperately poor goalless draw against Bolton at St James' Park.

Keegan promised entertainment on his return to Newcastle, but there was little on offer in this drab encounter.

Newcastle did not force a single save from Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and quickly ran out of ideas.

And Bolton almost snatched the win in injury time, with Shay Given blocking a close-range shot from Jlloyd Samuel.


If Keegan can gain any crumb of comfort from his first match, it will be that Newcastle kept a rare clean sheet.

Keegan was given a predictably rapturous reception before kick-off - but it was all downhill from there in a game that flouted its billing as so-called entertainment.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley got into the party mood by wearing a Newcastle shirt with the words "King Kevin" emblazoned on the back, but the atmosphere soon fell flat.

The home side did not muster a shot on target in the first 45 minutes. Bolton were no better, although Kevin Nolan did at least force Given into action with an easy low save.

Newcastle exerted a measure of control after the break, but Jaaskelainen was still untroubled as Stephen Carr fired wildly across goal and David Rozehnal headed over.

Bolton had barely fashioned an attack in the second half, appearing content to soak up Newcastle attacks and wait for Keegan's side to run out of ideas.

Shola Ameobi gave Newcastle hope with a looping header from Carr's cross, but it drifted over the bar.

But it was Bolton who almost snatched it in injury time, with Given making a vital block from substitute Samuel, who seemed certain to score from only six yards out.

  • Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan:
    "I told the players not to be disappointed.

    "We were missing a lot of players. Take that into consideration and forget the hype and it is actually a good result.

    "It will improve from here. Maybe we will get players in - we are a quality squad but we are a small squad."

  • Bolton boss Gary Megson:
    "It was a good point for us and it was a good performance - but we have still got to improve.

    "When we play as well as we did in the first half, we need to sustain it a lot better than we did.

    "We are making substitutions not because of technique but because of the fitness work we need to do."

    Newcastle: Given, Carr, Taylor, Cacapa, Jose Enrique, Milner, Rozehnal, N'Zogbia, Duff (LuaLua 80), Owen, Ameobi.
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Edgar, Troisi, Carroll.

    Booked: Duff.

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Andrew O'Brien, Michalik, Gardner, Joey O'Brien, Nolan (Campo 67), McCann (Cohen 75), Guthrie, Davies, Taylor (Samuel 79).
    Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Giannakopoulos.

    Booked: Nolan, Taylor.

    Att: 52,250

    Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Bolton's Kevin Nolan 7.07 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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