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Wolves 1 Newcastle United 1 – Report and pictures

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published: | Last Updated:

Willy Boly headed an injury-time equaliser as Wolves salvaged a point against Newcastle at Molineux.

Raul Jimenez and Salomon Rondon had the best chances of the first half and the Matt Doherty headed over with the goal gaping shortly after half-time.

Newcastle made Wolves pay a couple of minutes later when Aaron Hayden beat Rui Patricio with a soft strike.

It looked like it wasn't Wolves' day but another keeper error, when Dubravka spilled an Adama Traore cross, allowed Boly to headed home in the 95th minute.

Analysis

Last year Wolves returned from a week-long jaunt to Marbella to produce a season-defining three-game winning streak that got their title charge back on track.

This year...not so much, writes Tim Spiers at Molineux.

But amid a below-par display they somehow salvaged a point in the fifth minute of four added on at a stunned Molineux.

Wolves have been a lot of things this season – adventurous, attacking, inventive, organised and courageous.

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They've earned plaudits galore for the football they've played and the results they've pulled off – and rightly so.

Perhaps more than anything, though, they are wonderfully spirited.

Wolves 1 Newcastle 1 - Tim Spiers and Nathan Judah analysis

They've now scored six goals in the 90th minute or later (two against Newcastle). And 14 in the 80th minute or later. Yes, 14.

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It highlights their battling qualities, their never-say-die attitude and their character. In a theme instilled by Nuno that's carried on from last season, they don't know when they're beaten.

A point wasn't the result they were looking for, but not many teams in this league would have earned it.

What you certainly couldn't put the offish performance down to was lethargy or a lack of effort or attacking endeavour.

Indeed they created enough opportunities to win two matches, but spurned a glut of decent chances with Raul Jimenez, so prolific in recent weeks, forgetting his shooting boots. Matt Doherty, having the season of his life in front of goal, also missed from just a couple of yards (albeit under pressure from the impressive Longstaff).

In the end they had to settle for a point – but it felt like a win.

Match report

Nuno's team news was entirely predictable – he named the same XI that beat Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park nine days ago, with Diogo Jota having recovered from the knock he picked up in that game.

Rafa Benitez left new club record £20million signing Miguel Almiron on the bench, with Albion loanee Salomon Rondon starting up front.

Past games between these teams have had a bit of bite to them, what with the Jonjo Shelvey/Romain Saiss racism incident of two seasons ago and also controversy in the reverse fixture three months ago when Matt Doherty scored a last-minute winner and Benitez was left furious at his team being down to 10 men.

While the first half was devoid of such controversy, it continued the pattern of there being little to choose between these sides in recent meetings.

Wolves came into the clash with the fifth best defensive record in the league and Newcastle the sixth.

That certainly showed in a first half in which defences were mostly on top, although both sides will feel they should have scored.

The Magpies were unashamedly defensive at Spurs last weekend but showed much more adventure here iun the opening stages, albeit without testing Rui Patricio.

Wolves fashioned the first opportunity when Jonny Castro Otto rolled the ball fractionally ahead of the lurking Raul Jimenez in the six-yard box, before the pair combined again for Otto to cut the ball back for the Mexican who shaped to shoot but was cut out by Christian Atsu with a crucial intervention.

Jimenez was involved once more when Matt Doherty picked him out with a precise low ball from the right – in his current form you'd have backed him to score, but Jimenez lashed wildly over from 12 yards.

And the striker was at it yet again when he took a delicious Neves pass, took on DeAndre Yedlin and found an angle from the left to test keeper Dubravka, who palmed clear.

Wolves were going through the gears, but instead of making their dominance count they took their foot off the throat and it was Newcastle who ended the half stronger.

The visitors, for whom Schar had drilled wide in their best effort of the half to date, went close through the dangerous Rondon who took on Conor Coady to fire goalwards in the box – but Coady got a crucial toe on the ball to deflect it wide.

Sloppiness crept into Wolves' play with several misplaced passes and a few dodgy clearances (Willy Boly was guilty of both) and the half-time whistle came at a good juncture for the hosts.

They made a positive start to the second half and should have taken the lead when an outswinging Moutinho corner was flicked on by Jota towards Doherty, who, under pressure from Longstaff, headed the ball over from just a couple of yards with the goal gaping. It was excellent defending, but having got there first Doherty had to score.

And the miss proved oh so costly just a couple of minutes later when Newcastle took the lead via the softest of goals.

Patricio misplaced a pass out of play and from the resulting throw the Magpies worked the ball to Aaron Hayden, who got half a yard on Boly and then beat Patricio at his near post with the keeper only able to help it into the net.

Wolves responded well – Jota fired one at the keeper from 18 yards and then a Jimenez cross was met by Dendoncker whose header was well saved.

The excellent Jimenez then showed great strength to get to the byline and pull back for Doherty, but his shot was blocked by Moutinho.

Nuno called for the summer 2016 vintage of Ivan Cavaleiro and Helder Costa, with Dendoncker and the limping Jota departing as Wolves went 3-4-3.

With 15 minutes to go Wolves' play was becoming more rushed and frenetic, but with organised Newcastle now happy to sit deep there were few gaps to exploit.

On came Adama Traore as Nuno went for broke, with the £18m man replacing Doherty at wing-back.

The Spaniard's first touch was a shot from a deep Cavaleiro cross – it was blocked and the ball fell perfectly for Jimenez who got his angles all wrong and headed miles wide.

It looked like it wasn't going to be Wolves' day, especially when the clock ticked past 94 with only four minutes added.;

But in the last seconds a deep Traore cross was missed by Dubravka and Boly couldn't miss from a yard out. It was the second goalkeeping error of the night – and it earned Wolves a deserved point at a grateful Molineux.

Key moments

45 - The Magpies almost take the lead! Doherty loses possession and ex-Albion man Rondon bursts into the box. He wraps his left foot around the ball, but Coady crucially gets a toe on it to send it out for a corner.

49 - How has that stayed out?! Moutinho's corner finds Jota at the near post. His glancing header falls to kindly to Doherty, who somehow heads over from a few yards out - albeit under pressure from Longstaff. Wolves should be leading.

56 - Goal! Newcastle go ahead through Hayden. Patricio needlessly gives away a throw-in with a poor clearance and the ball is then worked to Hayden, who finishes from a tight angle. Soft one to concede.

82 - Big chance for Wolves! Cavaleiro's cross to the far post is met by fellow substitute Traore. He does not connect well with the ball, but it deflects to Jimenez, who heads well wide from the penalty spot.

90+5 - GOOOOOAALLLLL! Wolves salvage a point right at the death! Traore gets to the byline and floats a cross to the back stick. Dubravka flaps at the ball, allowing Boly to head it into the net from no more than a couple of yards out.

Teams

Wolves (3-5-2): Patricio; Bennett, Coady (c), Boly; Doherty (Traore, 81), Neves, Dendoncker (Costa, 68), Moutinho, Otto; Jimenez, Jota (Cavaleiro, 68)

Subs not used: Ruddy (gk), Vinagre, Saiss, Gibbs-White

Goals: Boly (90+5)

Newcastle (5-4-1): Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles (c), Lejeune, Ritchie; Perez (Manquillo, 90), Hayden (Diame, 85), Longstaff, Atsu (Almiron, 72); Rondon

Subs not used: Woodman (gk), Fernandez, Kenedy, Joselu

Goals: Hayden (56)

Attendance: 30,687

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

League position

7th (39 points from 26 matches)

Next up

Wolves face Bristol City away in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday, kick off 1pm. Their next league action comes the following Saturday away at Bournemouth, kick off 3pm.

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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