He came to his team's rescue by denying Chris Eagles and Mark Davies.
The cultured centre-back was head and shoulders above his colleagues in defence, midfield and even attack until Ben Arfa struck.
The Italian looked better going forward than he did in defence where he kept getting caught out by Chris Eagles.
He did everything that was asked of him at the heart of the Toon defence.
The utility player did not have the guile to make a difference in a packed midfield and an early knock saw him taken off at the break.
Time is running out for the full-back to win a new contract and he failed to offer a convincing case for a fresh deal in attack or defence where Martin Petrov gave him a torrid time.
H. Ben Arfa
It took him until the second half to get going but when he did there was no stopping him and the standing ovation he received following his breathtaking goal said it all.
He was as industrious as ever but failed to penetrate the Bolton defence.
The France international failed to give Newcastle the creative edge in midfield.
The Senegalese striker hardly got a look-in but still managed to record his 10th goal in Toon colours.
He has not scored in over two months and wasted a glorious opening to get back amongst the goals in the first half before being taken off just after the hour.
It's no wonder Jussi Jaaskelainen can't get a game because he was an re-assuring last line of defence and dealt with virtually everything thrown at him confidently until Hatem Ben Arfa struck.
The right-back made sure that Jonas Gutierrez was anonymous as an attacking force.
The left-back had a torrid second-half when Newcastle finally got going.
The American coped well with Demba Ba but stopping the mercurial Ben Arfa was a entirely different proposition.
The tall centre-half was a tower of strength in the air and hardly put a foot wrong on the deck but was powerless to prevent the winner.
The Bulgarian looked like making things happen whenever he got the ball.
The combative midfielder did his best to knock Newcastle out of their stride with a tenacious display.
He ran his socks off to take the game to Newcastle but faded after the break.
He was always a willing outlet and knitted play together well for the visitors but failed to take a very good chance and then failed to stop Ben Arfa's wondergoal.
He saw plenty of the ball down the wing but failed to make the most of possession and wasted a glorious chance.
He rolled back the years to spearhead the Bolton attack expertly but ran out of steam after the break.