It wasn’t pretty and may be last on Match of the Day tonight, but that could be a precious point for Newcastle United come the end of the season.
After three league defeats on the spin and a FA Cup collapse in the second half at at Rochdale, we needed to respond today – and we just about did (even if it was far from pretty at times).
We were below our best and didn’t play particularly well, but a superb finish from Miguel Almiron – who was one of the best players on the park at Molineux – some brilliant saves from Martin Dubravka and an organised defensive effort has helped us to a hard fought point here.
There were some positive early signs. Gayle’s movement and energy was causing Wolves problems and Almiron was a man on a mission from the off – and he got his reward immediately, smashing past Patricio after some lovely build up play from Willems and Gayle:
After failing to score for almost a year, he’s now bagged 3 goals in his last 4 games. That said, he did much more than just find the back of the net, not only being our most lively threat in attack and a constant out ball, but also doing brilliantly to get back and help Jetro Willems out against the dangerous Adama Traore.
Then to the negative news – injuries and an avoidable Wolves equaliser which all came in a nightmare 15 minutes for Steve Bruce.
Dummett pulled up and was replaced by Lejeune, Wolves then equalised from a corner after Dendoncker got away from Fernandez and, to round it all off, Dwight Gayle limped off with a hamstring injury, seeing Atsu come on earlier than expected in his place.
From that point onwards we struggled as an attacking force and were hanging in at times, but a combination of some outstanding goalkeeping from Martin Dubravka, a solid defensive line and a bit of luck meant we held on for a precious point.
Wolves were far below their best, but we made it difficult for them, limiting Raul Jimenez to very few chances and starving Adama Traore of the ball in good areas.
Almiron and Dubravka the stand out players, but Hayden did a good job at right wing-back, Clark was arguably our best centre-back on his return, Willems kept Traore pretty quiet, Matty and Sean gave us energy and bite in midfield and Carroll played his part up top in the closing stages too.
The fact we had only one shot on target is a concern, combined with the reoccurring theme of us only surviving via a few superb Dubravka saves, however it’s a good point and solid defensive effort nonetheless – something we needed badly after a damaging festive period.
The concerns are yet more injuries (Dummett and Gayle look set for new spells on the sidelines) and another ordinary display from Joelinton up top, but it’s a good point against a side aiming to break the top 6 this season and a result that helps Bruce stop the rot.
Next up, a FA Cup replay against Rochdale on Tuesday night. Beat them and we’ll be going into next weekend’s home game with Chelsea on the back of a very productive week.