Wolves battled back from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils at St James’ Park yesterday, and if I’m being honest it was no less than Terry Connor’s men deserved.
Buoyed by the recall of first choice central midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote, Newcastle set about establishing a two goal lead in the first 18 minutes.
Papiss Demba Cisse, making his full home Premier League debut, put the home side ahead on six minutes after some good attacking play. Yohan Cabaye stole the ball of Cristophe Berra and crossed for Demba Ba who saw his clever backheel saved by Wayne Hennessey in the Wolves goal. The rebound fell just beyond Cisse who stabbed the ball out to an onrushing Cheik Tiote to shoot at goal. The Ivory Coast international saw his shot deflected in to the path of Cisee who stabbed home with his left foot.
It could have been worse for Wolves just minutes later when Danny Simpson forced a fine save from Hennessey after a rasping long range drive, but the home side weren’t to be denied much longer and when a cleared corner fell to Jonas Gutierrez outside of the box he made it two with a stunning strike leaving the Wolves keeper with no chance.
So two goals up in 18 minutes without so much as breaking sweat then. You could have expected Newcastle to go on and really punish Wolves but it didn’t work out that way. Collectively the NUFC players just seemed to switch off and allowed Wolves to retain the ball. They had chances of their own, but I’m not mentioning them on purpose. You’ll see why later.
Against the relative run of play, Newcastle reached half-time with a 2-0 lead. A chance to regroup and refresh before reapplying themselves one would think, but that wasn’t to be the case as Wolves found a way back into the game just five minutes after the restart courtesy of a Matt Jarvis shot which deflected off Danny Simpson beyond Tim Krul.
David Edwards could have equalised after the entire NUFC defence just watched him coast in from midfield, but fortunately the ball just evaded him and Newcastle escaped. Not for long though as Kevin Doyle capitalised on some shoddy defending to prod home the equaliser on 66 minutes. Granted Alan Pardew committed the cardinal sin of making a substitution at a set piece, but neither Danny Guthrie or Hatem Ben Arfa can be blamed for the goal really and instead our centre backs should shoulder the bulk of the criticism. Again, more on that later though.
Newcastle did try and grab the winner but the closest we came was from two shots by Hatem Ben Arfa which drifted wide of the left then right post of the Gallowgate goal. 2-2 it ended to round off what was a disappointing display by Newcastle United.
I wasn’t being blinkered when I failed to mention the chances Wolves created. I did it for a reason, and that reason is because it was the same players responsible for it time and time again.
The first chance was in the opening minutes when Mike Williamson showed Kevin Doyle inside allowing him a free shot at goal. Luckily Doyle scuffed it and Tim Krul saved comfortably.
The second one involved both Danny Simpson and Mike Williamson again as Matt Jarvis beat Simpson in the air, then beat him to the loose ball before whipping the ball in for Kevin Doyle who beat Williamson in the air. Fortunately the ball just scraped wide although I don’t know how.
Next up is Danny Simpson against Ashley Ward. Simpson showed Ward inside again allowing him a go at goal which Tim Krul was equal to.
Finally there is the equaliser. Mike Williamson will take the blame for it, but if you look, I mean really look at it, you will see what Williamson has a man, Guthrie just behind has a man. Even Demba Ba has a man. Who is Colo marking though? I’ve yet to see empty space score a goal. Yes Williamson should have done better with the headed clearance although he was unlucky to see it rebound off Doyle and fall kindly for Wolves, but he did have two men on him whilst other players in black and white had nobody…
Regardless of that it’s the same two names cropping up. Now I actually have some sympathy for Williamson as he does put in decent performances, but for Danny Simpson the excuses are starting to run out. Time and time again he makes fundamental errors which invite pressure or allow chances for the opposition.
Next up, Sunderland. A game where a similar lack of application from the team will not go down well at all, and the players will get to know about it.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; Ryan Taylor, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez; Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse
Subs: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, James Perch, Danny Guthrie, Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi
Wolves: Wayne Hennessey; Ronald Zubar, Christophe Berra, Richard Stearman, Stephen Ward; Kevin Foley, Karl Henry, David Edwards, Jamie O’Hara, Matt Jarvis; Kevin Doyle
Subs: Dorus De Vries, Jody Craddock, Roger Johnson, Nenad Milijas, Stephen Hunt, Michael Kightly, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake