Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United
Heartbreak for United as Wolves grabbed an equaliser in time added on to injury time at the end of a game that Newcastle had probably deserved to win.
The Magpies had done such a good job to nullify a Wolves side that had been on fire recently. And whilst most would have taken a draw before the game to be so close to the three points is gutting.
A fairly quiet first half had seen Newcastle perform well with both sides limited to just a few half chances each.
In the second half Hayden would given the visitors the lead. A great break forward and lovely through ball from the in form Schar helping make the breakthrough.
But with Newcastle within touching distance of the finishing line a high hanging cross from Traore was missed by Dubravka to allow Boly to somehow bundle the ball into the unguarded net.
An unchanged side had gone into this one with record signing Almiron starting on the bench which also saw Diame returning to sit next to him. No place for Barreca however who didn’t make the squad.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Hayden (Diame, 86), Longstaff, Perez (Manquillo, 91), Atsu (Almiron, 71), Rondon
Playing in their blue away kit the Magpies started positively and not immediately dropping into their expected deep defensive shape. Some loose passing did invite early pressure whilst Rondon would also see a snap shot easily saved.
In truth the only danger posed by Wolves in the early stages was from Newcastle defensive mistakes as they failed to find an early rhythm, with the away side dominating possession in much of the early spell.
A fantastic challenge from 17 minutes from Atsu was the first major incident. His challenge on Jimenez inside the box looked for all the world a penalty, but replays showed the referee had made a fantastic call as Atsu clearly took the ball from the striker before the Wolves player momentum caused him to fall over the Newcastle number 30.
The noise levels raised as a result seemed to spur on the home side and create some extra nerves in the Magpies ranks in equal measure.
It would take Wolves 35 minutes to get their first shot on target. A cracking ball from Neves would pick out Jimenez again, this time his turn and run into the box would allowing his to get a shot away but Dubravka was also equal to it, despite a slight deflection, and the ball was cleared.
At the other end a Hayden cross to Rondon would create Newcastle’s second effort on target. Again too close to the keeper. Otto would then test Dubravka again with the Newcastle stopper equal to it and holding onto he ball in a crowded box.
Protests that went too far from Ritchie, after a couple of decisions went against including his claims for a penalty were turned away, would lead to a booking for the Scotsman.
Then just before half time a huge chance for Newcastle. Perez, again having a good game would link up well with Rondon but just as it seemed the big man had found a yard for a shot, Wolves centre half Coady would make a goal saving lunging block to force the ball out for Newcastle’s first corner.
0-0 at half time.
Longstaff to the rescue in the opening stages of the first half. Only his foot in front of the head of Doherty stops what seemed to be a certain goal from a Wolves corner.
A not so special mention for DeAndre Yedlin. You’d have hoped either the required rocket of the words of comfort to calm him down would have been had at half time to help him drag his performance up to an acceptable standard. Er. nope. Words of not, the lad was having a stinker. Longstaff on the other hand, calm and composed beyond his years.
On 55 minutes the deadlock was broken, and a huge goal for Rafa and Newcastle United.
Some good work from the visitors, switching the play quickly gave Schar the chance to surge forward, and some great movement from Hayden gave him the space to race into the box and fire past Rui Patricio. A well deserved goal and lead.
Straight up the other end an Dubravka had to warm his hand a couple of times in as many minutes as Wolves looked for an immediate reply. The best being a great low stop from a stooping Dendoncker header.
A first look at Almiron, on to replace Atsu on 71 minutes.
And whilst the debutant would make a couple of decent forward forays it was clear that Newcastle’s game plan was to close the game down. Space at a premium. Keep it tight.
Wolves of course were doing everything they could to stretch the game, and they almost got their reward on 82 minutes when, after Newcastle failed to clear a cross, the ball made it’s way back to the edge of the 6 yards box where Jimenez somehow managed to completely miss the target when totally unmarked.
Relentless pressure before the end, and a succession of corners were the source of real nerves for the travelling fans and watching Magpies.
Devastation. 4 minutes of injury time held up on the board. 94:32 on the clock and one big cross, one missed catch. Goal Boly.
Newcastle and Rafa furious that the whistle hadn’t gone earlier, but no excuse for the Newcastle stopper, who had to do no more than palm the ball over the bar.
A great point away, or two dropped points. Only time will really tell but for now this one is a heartbreak.