GRAEME Souness's honeymoon period at Newcastle ended at Bolton's Reebok Stadium in October with his first defeat and, as his skipper Alan Shearer admitted, the result still 'rankled'.

Dubai is a popular destination for many newly wed couples, and it appears that Souness is threatening to start a second love affair with the Geordie public following his squad's mini-break there.

Since the much-criticised trip to the sun-kissed playground Newcastle have won four out of four games with yesterday's 2-1 victory seeing the Magpies move up to 11th spot.

Souness is threatening his chairman with another expensive trip there and, if the current form continues, Freddy Shepherd will no doubt be more than happy to shell out.

The Newcastle boss was in no mood to hand out the bouquets to Sam Allardyce five months ago so yesterday's victory will be far sweeter than the 2-1 scoreline might suggest.

Sweeter because Newcastle refused to let Bolton's rough-house tactics knock them off their stride. Sweeter because Bolton ended the game with 11 men when Fernando Hierro should surely have been sent off for a cynical foul on Kieron Dyer as the midfelder was tearing into the box.

It was Souness's midfield duo of Dyer and Lee Bowyer who scored the goals that ensured Stelios Giannakopoulos's first half leveller was rendered inconsequential.

Shearer laid down the gauntlet to his team-mates to 'stand up and be counted' against Bolton and many were counting Bolton's numbers after Hierro's foul.

They should surely have had ten on the pitch after referee Steve Dunn appeared to brandish a red card to the former Real Madrid player after he cut down Dyer who had broke at pace from midfield.

But it was in fact yellow and the injustice drove Dyer on to score the winner in 69th minute.

Souness made three changes from the side which successfully negotiated the Magpies route into the last 16 of the UEFA Cup with a 2-1 second leg win over Heerenveen. Jean-Alain Boumsong, Celestine Babayaro and Lee Bowyer replacing Andy O'Brien, Aaron Hughes and Nicky Butt.

The relatively early afternoon start and the exertions of Thursday night appeared to take their toll on Newcastle who looked leg weary from the off and allowed the visitors to take the game to their hosts.

Thankfully ideas appeared thin on the ground in the Bolton side and the only real goalmouth incident of the first quarter of the game involved a free kick from Jay-Jay Okocha which was wide of the target and a penalty shout when Giannakopoulos went over under challenge from Titus Bramble.

The omens for Newcastle looked good when just before the quarter hour Bolton were forced into a reshuffle.

Nicky Hunt appeared to damage his shoulder in an innocuous challenge with Amdy Faye - Khalilou Fadiga replacing him.

Ten minutes later and Newcastle should have been in front.

Bramble showed great determination down the right and his first cross was cut back to Shearer in the 'D' of the penalty box. His effort low to Jussi Jaaskelainen's left was pushed away but the ball fell straight back to Bramble on the right of the box.

His second cross, if anything, was even better finding Dyer unmarked six yards out. With the whole goal to aim out his header was weak and straight at Jaaskelainen.

With the concept of team play appearing alien to the home side it took a piece of individual quality to break the deadlock in the 35th minute.

Bowyer picked up possession on the halfway line and took Speed and Stelios out with a lovely piece of skill before feeding Stephen Carr on the right.

Instead of admiring his handiwork the former Leeds man continued his run into the box in time to literally barge Dyer out of the way to get on the end of Carr's cross and direct a powerful header into the right hand corner of Jaaskelainen's net.

Unfortunately for Newcastle the lead lasted barely six minutes thanks to some sloppy defensive play.

Bramble went off with five minutes of the half left for some treatment on a dislocated finger and returned just in time to see the Trotters draw level.

Okocha cut inside from the left, Bowyer was left on his backside by a superb switch of possession from one foot to the other by the Nigerian who fed Kevin Davies on the edge of the box.

Davies lifted the ball up for Speed to easily head in to Stelios's path six yards out and he made no mistake.

An apparent communication breakdown in defence was all too typical of the Magpies Premiership season.

The second half began in controversial fashion with Hierro's foul on the edge of the area cutting Dyer down in his tracks with the goal at his mercy.

Robert's resulting free kick from the edge of the area was off target but that was merely a side-show with the Newcastle players demanding an explanation as to why Hierro was still on the pitch.

With the crowd now awoken from their Sunday slumbers and the Magpies enjoying the lion's share of possession it appeared a matter of time before the home side regained control.

Robert was causing problems down the left and Dyer's pace was terrifying the Bolton defence but Souness's side were still struggling to find that all important opening.

On the hour Dyer broke free from midfield for the umpteenth time and drew the foul from Ricardo Gardner just outside the right hand side of the box by the goal-line.

Robert's delivery was good enough to find the head of Boumsong but his effort was cleared off the line.

Allardyce decided to switch his Spanish contingent in the 64th minute when Ivan Campo replaced Hierro, with the Bolton boss certainly thinking the midfielder was one challenge from an early exit.

Four minutes later and the crowd's frustration was ended by Dyer.

Babayaro hit the long ball into the box, Shearer managed to flick it on at the second attempt and this time Bowyer was out-muscled by the former Ipswich midfielder who volleyed home from eight yards.

Bolton's inventiveness remained limited and their only real chance of an equaliser came when Vincent Candela was allowed to waltz through a couple of challenges in the 71st minute only to fire horribly over from the edge of the box.

Bowyer had a late deflected effort saved by Jaaskelainen and Shearer shot wide through a crowded box, but no matter how narrow a victory it was, it was deserved all the same