Newcastle United 1-1 Wolves
Another day of misery on Tyneside as Newcastle managed just 15 minutes of decent football against a side that looked like they’d played in Europe midweek, and they had.
That 15 minutes at the end of the first half was enough to give United a 1-0 lead following a Lascelles header from a Fernandez cross going into the break. True to form, however, there would be no second goal and an equaliser from Jonny that looked very preventable looked for all the world like the start of another Wolves away victory at St James Park. This time, Newcastle would hang on for a draw.
Quite what Steve Bruce had said to them, or didn’t, at half time to make the team go further into their shells (if that’s possible) in the second half god only knows. The one bright spark, Saint-Maximin, who might be our only hope of nicking unlikely goals and points this season.
A late red card from Sean Longstaff, who can have no complaints really after an out of control tackle saw his studs connect shin high on Neves. No intent, for sure, but a learning point for a young man keen to at least try and turn Newcastle’s fortunes around.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Willems, S Longstaff, M Longstaff (Atsu, 90), Saint-Maximin (Gayle, 90), Almiron, Joelinton (Shelvey, 85)
Steve Bruce was forced into just the one change for this one with Fernandez coming in for Schar who picked up a knock last time out. That would mean a continued partnership for the brothers Longstaff in midfield whilst any thoughts that Almiron would be dropped also proved unfounded with Gayle once more making the bench although Carroll would also have to sit this one in the stands after picking up his own knock.
Wolves came into this one on the back of 4 wins in 5 games, and an unbeaten stretch of 7 games.
And early in the game Newcastle had the chance to put that record under serious threat with two good chances, both falling to the confidence stricken Miggy Almiron. First, a volley sliced toward the corner flag when unmarked not he corner of the 6 yard box after a Newcastle set piece would set the tone. His second, perhaps more difficult chance, saw him race onto a fantastic through ball from Sean Longstaff only for his first touch to be a little too heavy and his toe poke then only into the side netting.
On the other flank Saint-Maximin looked busy. Full of tricks and with a burst of pace that would frighten any defence, the Wolves team had little choice but to double up on him when he had the ball. Time and time again he still managed to find time and space to break through the Wolves midfield, the issue, of course is there was nothing up front for his to play with.
Joelinton casts a lonely figure up front. Devoid of any decent service or support in a manner that would suit his game. The one time that Almiron did provide some decent service for him, Wolves were well placed to head clear before the Brazilian had a chance to nod home.
The goal came from two centre halves, up for a set piece. And when Wanderers back line only managed to clear toward the touch-line the resultant centre from Fernandez was gratefully headed in by the towering Lascelles. His first goal for over a year and a welcome one.
1-0 then at half time and perhaps the chance to go on and take all three points.
No such luck. Both teams came out with a different approach in the second half.
Newcastle looking, for want of a better word, scared. Wolves, hungry, like they’d just had a rocket put up them.
It was a long half for those in black and white.
As the clock ticked past 70 minutes there was thought that United might be able to hang on. But a cross palmed directly into the path of Jonny by Dubravka for the former to slam home put pay to that thought.
Two minutes later there was one rare foray forward for the home side. Willems cutting in from the left touch time and unleashing a fierce shot that beat both the keeper but unfortunately the also the outside of his far post.
The red card for Longstaff followed on 82 and with United hanging on there was almost the sting in the tail, when a through ball to Jimenez was cut back to Doherty who only managed to head over when well placed to score on 93 minutes.
A draw then. The least goals of any teams in the Premier League. Yet to score more than one in a game. Hopeless and clueless from Board to Manager.
On the positive side, that another 90 minutes of pain completed and out of the way before the inevitable!!