Newcastle earned a vital point in their relegation battle as they drew 1-1 against Wolves, meaning they cannot drop into the bottom three this weekend.
Newcastle needed a big performance coming into Saturday’s game and were superb in the first half. Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin – who were both injured during the match, along with Emil Krafth – both went close and Wolves saw their own openings before half-time.
The hosts finally found the breakthrough seven minutes after the break as Jamaal Lascelles (52) powered a header home. However, with the last four league meetings between Newcastle and Wolves having ended in a 1-1 draw, it was no surprise when Ruben Neves also nodded home (73) to see the points shared once again.
It is an important point for Newcastle, who now cannot drop into the bottom three ahead of Fulham’s game against Crystal Palace on Sunday, and remain in 17th. Wolves remain in 12th on goal difference, level on 34 points with Arsenal.
How Newcastle and Wolves drew again
Newcastle began well, with Isaac Hayden sending a free header into Rui Patricio’s hands early on before Almiron hit the woodwork. He was sent down the right wing by a fine Jonjo Shelvey pass, catching the Wolves defence out. Almiron then drove into area, sending the ball past an on-coming Patricio, but it pinged off the back post.
The Wolves goalkeeper was in action again soon after. Joelinton forced a palmed save from Patricio and he was involved as Newcastle had a goal ruled out for offside. It was a sensational run from Saint-Maximin as he danced through the area, before setting up Joe Willock. His shot was saved by Patricio with Saint-Maximin lurking to turn the loose ball home, but he was flagged for offside.
Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Krath (6), Lascelles (7), Clark (7), Lewis (7), Willock (6), Hayden (6), Shelvey (7), Almiron (7), Joelinton (7), Saint-Maximin (8).
Subs used: Fraser (6), Murphy (6), Ritchie (6).
Wolves: Patricio (7), Dendoncker (6), Coady (7), Saiss (7), Semedo (7), Neves (7), Moutinho (6), Jonny (6), Neto (6), Jose (6), Traore (8).
Subs used: Silva (n/a), Hoever (n/a), Ait-Nouri (n/a).
Man of the match: Adama Traore.
Wolves started to find their feet as the half went on though, with the returning Martin Dubravka making a vital save just after the half-hour mark. Neves floated a cross towards the back post, but Adama Traore’s header was stopped by the goalkeeper low down, who turned the ball onto the crossbar.
Minutes later, Traore used his pace to burst past Krafth on the left, bursting into the area before cutting the ball back for the waiting Pedro Neto at the top. However, he dragged his effort wide. In the first minute of two added on, Neto played a fizzing ball across the face of goal, but Ciaran Clark made a vital touch to send the ball away from danger.
- Newcastle made one change with Martin Dubravka replacing Karl Darlow in goal for his first appearance of the season after returning from injury.
- Wolves named the same starting XI that beat Leeds. The only change came on the bench with Fernando Marcal dropping out of the matchday squad.
It took just seven minutes for Newcastle to finally find the net after the break. Saint-Maximin did well to dig out a cross, which was nodded away by Romain Saiss. However, it only went as far as half-time substitute Ryan Fraser, who floated the ball back into the area. It was then powerfully headed home by Lascelles for his first Premier League goal since the exact same fixture in October 2019.
But Wolves were pushing for their equaliser and it finally arrived in the 73rd minute. Willian Jose made a wonderful, driving run through the midfield before picking out Neto on the right wing. His cross was then thundered home by Neves in the middle, scoring his first ever header for Wolves.
By now, Newcastle had lost Almiron, Saint-Maximin and Krafth to injury, but could have snatched a late winner. Jacob Murphy picked out Joelinton, with the Brazilian looking for the far corner. The effort beat Patricio but Saiss was there, unwittingly, to deflect the ball over the bar.
But Newcastle had to defend with everything they had as five minutes of added time was shown after a litany of injuries. The pick of the efforts came when Fabio Silva headed goalwards from a Wolves corner, with Dubravka pulling off a stunning save to send the ball onto the crossbar and ultimately earn his side a point.
Man of the match – Adama Traore
It was another good performance from Traore. He was the creative spark in most of Wolves’ attacking play, particularly in the first half, and drew four fouls. The first two were yellow cards for Newcastle and he continues to show how dangerous he is for Wolves.
Traore made four key passes – the highest of his team – 71.4 per cent of his 28 duels. While the performance may not have been perfect, it was a continued improvement from Traore.
What the managers said
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said: “For the first half an hour until Miguel [Almiron] picked up his injury, I thought we were excellent. We had created three or four big opportunities and at this level, you have to take them. So we’re a bit disappointed with that and the injuries again have disrupted us badly.
“We had enough big chances, especially in the first half as I said, to get a couple of goals and unfortunately we didn’t take them.
“When you look at the goal, we should stop the cross and when the goalkeeper [Dubravka] looks at it again, he’ll probably think ‘could I have done better?’. So it was a frustration for all of us.
“They [the players] are frustrated because they played very well and unfortunately, we’ve given a poor goal away. They’ve got a good right to be disappointed but again, there are a lot of positives that we can take out of it. We could do with a bit more luck in the injury situation that we’re picking up, but we’ll have to get on with it.
“A point could be enough but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo said: “I’m disappointed with the way we conceded in the second phase after a set-piece. It’s something we have to look at because honestly, I felt that we were in the game, we started well in the second half.
“In the first half, Newcastle started really strongly, created some problems but I think after the team settled down, we controlled the game. We played well and had chances in the last push [at the end of the second half], but the way we conceded was disappointing from our point of view.
“But I think we did well and the reaction of the boys was amazing after the goal. They kept playing, kept searching for the spaces and achieved a very good goal from Ruben.
“We had many situations in the box that required better finishing, but we will keep on working.
“The expectations are always very high because I honestly think we have very talented players that can do very beautiful things so our expectation is to reach that high standard. But we have to be aware that the attitude to do so is here so I believe it will come with a bit more time and try to achieve this consistency in the game and the competition.”
- Newcastle and Wolves have both scored in all 12 Premier League meetings between the sides, the most played fixture in the competition with neither side keeping a clean sheet.
- Of all the Premier League fixtures to have been played at least 10 times, Newcastle v Wolves has seen the highest percentage of games finish in a draw (75% – 9/12). Each of the last five league meetings between the sides has finished 1-1.
- No team has scored a higher share of their Premier League goals in the second half this season than Newcastle (67% – 18/27).
- Nuno Espirito Santo took charge of his 102nd Premier League game at Wolves, overtaking Mick McCarthy (101) as the most matches in charge of the club in the competition.
It’s a big relegation battle for Newcastle next weekend as they travel to West Brom on Sunday March 7; kick-off 12pm. For Wolves, they travel to in-form Manchester City on Tuesday evening before facing Aston Villa next Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.