Backs to the wall as forwards go backwards!
Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United
Unconventional, unorthodox, unorganised madness ends in a Murphy free kick saving a point for Bruce and his Magpies.
From Steve Bruce’s pre-match press conference with this statement of ‘we’ve going with what we have’, to the on-pitch antics of a side cobbled together with six attacking players in it. It seemed a case of ‘if we don’t know what we’re doing, how could Wolves’.
Bruce’s men largely looked like they’d not played together. Certainly any thought of passing to a teammate seemed like a foreign concept for large spells.
Yet again, whilst the Magpies would somehow hold fast until the last ten minutes, Bruce and his men would seemingly shoot themselves in the foot after conceding a late goal. Jimenez looking to have nicked all three points for the home side after lashing home a partly cleared free-kick beyond Darlow on 81 minutes.
But after another shocking display, a late free kick won by Wilson would allow Jacob Murphy to step up and rescue a point for the Magpies. His clever free kick would be 'passed' around the wall and into the Wolves goal. A loverly finish.
Another poor display, but another point.
Steve Bruce would make a host of changes for this one as Almiron would finally make his much anticipated return to the starting line up with Shelvey and Hayden ruled out with injury. A place too for Fraser as he would make his first Premier League start of the season, whilst Murphy and Schar would also come in as Bruce switched to a back 5.
Bruce confirmed that his lineup was forced on him and that he had 'no choice' but to play an attacking line up with Sean Longstaff also 'ill for a couple of weeks.
Full starting line up and other in-match details can be seen in the FactFile at the foot of this page.
With the league tightening up, the outcome of this one had the possibility of seeing Newcastle 4th or 5th bottom after the full round of fixtures.
And whilst Fulham, Sheffield United, Burnley and West Brom continue to struggle at the foot of the table it is critical that United continue to keep putting some points on the board.
The first real action of the game would be a smart save from Darlow, Podence testing the United keeper inside 5 minutes as Wolves start much the better of the two sides.
Newcastle, when the did manage to get the ball back, seemingly happy to launch the ball long in the general direction of the Wolves half, even if Wilson was the only man anywhere near their half.
Podence would try his luck again 5 minutes later, this time firing over after hesitation in what some would call Newcastle’s ‘midfield’.
There first chance for the clack and whites was a nice ball behind the Wolves back line by Murphy for Wilson to run onto, but just as he was looking to pull the trigger an outstretched leg from Kilman would see the ball behind and safe for Wolves.
Newcastle were at least starting to get something in terms of a % of possession as the game moved into its second quarter. The main issue being that despite the wealth of attacking talent on the pitch for the Magpies, Wilson would remain a largely isolated figure up front when Newcastle did manage to push forwards.
But for a flicked header from Schar in his own area Wolves would certainly have been ahead on 37 minutes, his intervention taking the ball of the Wolves attackers head after a cut back from inside the area. From the break, Allan Saint-Maximin should certainly have done better after being found on the right and with players in the box, this time smashing his cross high and behind Rui Patricio’s goal.
The Frenchman would do much better moments later, again seizing on an attack from Wolves. This time cutting in on his right after a Wolves free kick was cleared. His deflected effort momentarily wrong footing the Wolves keeper who did well to readjust and stop with ultimate ease.
0-0 at half time.
Into the second half and we were pretty much back to where we left off. Wolves with plenty of the ball but not looking particularly dangerous and wasteful in the last third. For Newcastle it was a case of, could they complete a pass?
Next it would be Neto who would be wasteful. A cross from Podence finding the Wolves player 16 yards out and central only to fire just over the bar.
On the hour mark Newcastle would manage to sting some play together. That passage of play ending in Murphy forcing his way to the edge of the Wolves area before crossing to Wilson and then Fraser who would see his effort blocked and safely gathered by Rui Patricio.
Wolves, much like Newcastle (at their occasional best), are a hard nut to crack. Well organised when they don’t have the ball and always with enough numbers at the back to nullify most that teams can through at them. So as the games moved into the final 15 minutes it looked like yet another where a single moment of magic or lunacy would decide it.
And the moment of magic would come, unfortunately from Wolves and Jimenez. A free kick on the Newcastle right would be headed clear to the edge of the area and the Wolves striker would do the rest with a wonderfully sweet strike that Darlow could only push into his own goal.
But just as it seemed United would be going home with nothing once again, Jacob Murphy would curl a lovely effort around a misplaced Wolves wall to rescue a point. Murphy a shining light in what was otherwise another horrid display from Bruce's men.