Ben Arfa helps Magpies to victory

Hatem Ben Arfa

Hatem Ben Arfa

First published in National Sport News © by

Hatem Ben Arfa produced a moment of genius to maintain Newcastle's unlikely bid for Champions League qualification as they recorded a 2-0 victory over Bolton.

The Frenchman lit up a disjointed display by his side with a breathtaking 73rd-minute run and finish to finally break Bolton's stubborn resistance.

Papiss Cisse made sure of the win seven minutes from time by converting substitute Shola Ameobi's cross - his 10th goal in nine appearances for the club - to take the Magpies to 59 points for the campaign, their best Barclays Premier League haul since the 2005-06 season.

The visitors headed back across the Pennines knowing it might have been so different had either Chris Eagles or Mark Davies managed to beat keeper Tim Krul in an impressive start to the second half.

French midfielder Yohan Cabaye had a brief glimpse of goal with 15 minutes played when the ball broke to him on the edge of the box after full-back Danny Simpson's charge had been halted, but he fired high over.

Krul had to get down well at his near post to collect Martin Petrov's 31st-minute strike, but there was never any real chance of the ball eluding his grasp, and his opposite number was similarly unworried by Fabricio Coloccini's curling effort from distance two minutes later.

In the second half, the home side, who had replaced utility man James Perch with Shane Ferguson at the break, found themselves pinned back inside their own half after central defender Mike Williamson had been penalised for a foul on Darren Pratley.

Demba Ba was not best pleased to be replaced with Ameobi, but it was Ben Arfa who sent a 68th-minute free-kick wide of visiting keeper Adam Bogdan's left post. The France international was not finished, and scored the opening goal with a run and finish which oozed class 17 minutes from time.

Ben Arfa picked up the ball from Cabaye deep inside his own half before setting off on an unstoppable run which saw his slip away from Mark Davies and in between central defenders David Wheater and Tim Ream before nonchalantly poking a shot past the advancing Bogdan.

The game was over 10 minutes later when Ameobi turned Ream wide on the right and sent a cross to the far post where Cisse, who looked suspiciously offside, tapped home his now customary goal.

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