A brilliant win at St James’ Park as Chris Wood fired us towards Premier League safety against a Wolves side who looked second best all night.
The result sends us 10 clear of the relegation zone and ends a run of three straight defeats, with Bruno Guimaraes brilliant on his first start at SJP and Dan Burn one of several Toon defenders who stepped up.
Here come the ratings following our first of three home games over the next fortnight:
Martin Dubravka – 7 – Had so little to do for most of the match, but made a smart save to deny Silva in the second half and claimed a few crosses late on to help us get over the line.
Emil Krafth – 8 – A rock solid showing from the Swede, who stayed alert all night and made one brilliant block to deny Hwang after the break. Lacks quality on the ball at times, but got into them from the off and rarely lets Howe down these days.
Fabian Schar – 7 – Showed plenty of creativity in the first half, testing the Wolves defence with a few searching balls in behind. Started the final 45 poorly, being caught way out of position just a few minutes before he was booked for a cynical foul on Fabio Silva, but recovered to help us see out another home win.
Dan Burn – 8 – Back to his best here after a few shaky performances away from home. Won more aerial duels than any other player on the pitch, mopped up well with minimal fuss, organised the defence and looked calm in possession. Great to see the Geordie giant respond to recent struggles in style!
Matt Targett – 7.5 – After struggling badly in that 5-1 defeat at Spurs, he was back to being Mr. dependable here. Reliable in possession and barely put a foot wrong defensively, although didn’t have many opportunities to display his quality going forward. I’m scratching my head as to why Villa let him go!
Jonjo Shelvey – 6 – Didn’t demand the ball enough from the centre-backs, which sometimes slowed our play down and was caught in possession a few times. Not at his best but still played his part to help defend our lead late on.
Bruno Guimaraes – 9 – Easily the best player on the pitch. Completely bossed the game all evening, won his battles, was strong in the tackle, oozed class and composure on the ball and created opportunities going forward, too. An all-action and top quality display on his first start at St James’ Park! I’m still wondering how we managed to pull this one off…
Joelinton – 6 – It was a quiet evening for the Brazilian enforcer, who didn’t impose himself on the game quite as forcefully as he has in recent months. That said, he deserves real credit for the driving run and pass in behind that led to Wood’s penalty.
Ryan Fraser – N/A – Forced off just 10 minutes into the game after pulling up with a hamstring injury he was unable to run off. Looked visibly gutted when he came off the pitch and was replaced by Almiron. Let’s hope it’s not a bad one for the Scot!
Allan Saint-Maximin – 6 – Looked like he was trying too hard to score, rushing a few of his efforts and blazing over the bar on more than one occasion. It was his clever flick to Joelinton that helped us burst clear just before Wood won the penalty, however his final ball let him down a little too often, with Wolves getting men around him and forcing him back. A tough night for the Frenchman but he still played his part in the end!
Chris Wood – 7.5 – One of his better performances for the Magpies, topped off with a goal from the spot his display deserved. He immediately looked more confident after scoring his first at SJP, bringing others into the game via some smart link up play. Timed his run well for the penalty he did well to win and was unlucky not to have two after VAR chalked off his first-half ‘goal.’
Miguel Almiron – 6 – Often lacked quality in key areas and doesn’t use his pace enough to run at full-backs. However, he did link up nicely with Bruno at times – his backheel for the disallowed goal was brilliant – and put in a shift.
Sean Longstaff – N/A – Replaced Guimaraes with just a few minutes remaining to help us see out the win.
Jacob Murphy – N/A – Didn’t get a touch of the ball, coming on for Saint-Maximin with 30 seconds remaining.