The Joe Edwards debrief – Wolves 1 Newcastle 1
Wolves left it right until the end to grab a point against Newcastle at Molineux.
Willy Boly’s header sealed a 1-1 draw, after Matt Doherty’s stoppage-time winner in the reverse fixture in December.
Better late than never!
Well, you’d like to think those who used to leave Molineux early to try to beat the traffic now remain firmly glued to their seats.
After all, Wolves have developed quite the knack for grabbing important goals with seconds left on the clock.
Willy Boly’s header from point-blank range joined a long list of late goals for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side this season – 14 in the 80th minute onwards, six of those in added-on time.
And for that, fitness coach Antonio Dias deserves credit.
It is one thing wanting to carry on going until the very end, but it is another actually having the legs to do it. With the ability and energy Wolves have at the moment, it is no wonder they are doing so well. They do not know when they are beaten.
Traore’s tricky crosses
Club record signing Adama Traore has split opinion since joining Wolves last summer.
And while he may not be the most naturally-gifted player to grace old gold, once he gets going down that right flank, he has proven almost impossible to stop.
His approach of bursting past his marker, getting to the byline and floating crosses into the danger zone is not exactly mind-blowing, but it works a treat.
The Spaniard set up a last-gasp goal for Doherty at Shrewsbury a couple of weeks ago in the FA Cup, and a similarly lofted delivery caused Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka to panic, allowing Boly to nod the ball into the net.
We would have liked Traore to be on more goals now considering his £18million price tag, not just sitting on one – his winner at West Ham early in the campaign.
There are other flaws in his game too but, although it is easy to forget given the man mountain he is, he is only 23 years of age.
Like him or not, you cannot argue Traore is a unique talent who truly brings something different to the table for Wolves.
Honestly, you would be hard pressed to find a more dangerous impact substitute in the Premier League. Who would want to mark him?
Ruing Rui’s kicking
Don’t get me wrong. Rui Patricio is a highly-talented shot-stopper whose career achievements, most notably being a Euro 2016-winner, speak for themselves.
But it must be said his distribution has been raising eyebrows for a fair few weeks now.
And it was the main factor behind Newcastle’s goal.
Patricio needlessly gave away a throw-in with a wayward clearance and from that the Magpies were able to feed the ball to Isaac Hayden, who then beat the 30-year-old at his near post.
The former Sporting man certainly did not cover himself in glory and, while his kicking cannot quite be classed a glaring weakness in this Wolves team, it is a point of concern.
Wolves worked very hard to get him in the summer and, after some of the top-drawer saves he has made, you can see why.
His footwork though, with the free-flowing style that has been adopted under Nuno, is not at the expected standard, so let’s hope it sharpens up sooner rather than later.
More Moutinho magic
While he did not come up with an assist in this encounter, the Portuguese pass-master was his usual brilliant self.
It has been said many times over the past couple of months, and I’ll say it again, how on earth did Wolves manage to get him for £5million in this day and age?
He may be 32, but Joao Moutinho has shown no signs of being over the hill as he continues to be the main creative influence in this Wolves side.
And he puts in plenty of hard yards.
Moutinho could often be seen racing back to prevent Newcastle from breaking away on the counter-attack and then getting Wolves back on the front foot.
He is like a fine wine, getting better with age, and it is a pleasure to watch him perform week in, week out.
Still in seventh heaven
A few players were below par against Rafa Benitez’s side, but they still got a point to make it four unbeaten in the league.
Wolves got a result despite not being at their best and, as the adage goes, that is the mark of a top team. Excitement levels are rising, and so they should be.
Hopefully, Nuno’s charges can keep up dreams of a Cup tilt at Bristol City – another place where Wolves struck at the death last season, sparking famous celebrations from Nuno – on Sunday.