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Fit-again Owen lifts Magpies

SoccerNews in English Premier League 23 Aug 2008

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Michael Owen marked his return from injury to hand Newcastle their first win of the season with a 1-0 home victory over Bolton on Saturday.

Owen, 28, missed Newcastle’s pre-season preparations and their difficult Premier League opener at Manchester United due to the calf problem and a bout of mumps.

But the England star proved to boss Kevin Keegan he was ready to return to action after coming off the bench in the second half at St James’ Park to score the only goal of the game.

Owens came on for the injured Obafemi Martins and snatched victory when he sent a deft header past Jussi Jaaskelainen from Geremi’s cross in the 71st minute.

Goalkeeper Shay Given also played a key part in Newcastle’s success after earlier keeping out a Kevin Nolan penalty.

Nolan’s misery was compounded when he sent a late header wide of the post to leave Keegan and his players breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Keegan’s side powered forward early with Bolton doing well to weather an early storm from the Magpies.

Bolton, who lost summer signing Johan Elmander through injury with just 15 minutes gone, played with Kevin Davies as a lone striker.

And it was Bolton, who crushed newboys Stoke last weekend, who missed a chance to open just before the break when JLloyd Samuel’s effort curled over the bar, and Fabrice Muamba was blocked.

Geremi came on after the break after winger Damien Duff hobbled off following a challenge by Andy O’Brien, with Owen coming on after 52 minutes to replace Martins, who suffered a groin injury.

Bolton had a glorious chance to go ahead when Steven Taylor handled a cross midway through the second half, but Given saved Nolan’s spot-kick.

Owen had his first effort on goal after 60 minutes from a James Milner cross, but Jaaskelainen blocked that and a subsequent rebound from Argentina defender Fabricio Coloccini.

Newcastle piled forward and Owen finally broke the deadlock with a back post header after 71 minutes following a Geremi cross for his eighth goal in ten Premier League appearances.

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