Date: Saturday 28th February 2021, 8.00pm.
Live on Sky Sports
Venue: St. James' Park
1 - 1
Half time: Magpies 0 Wolves 0
Allan Saint-Maximin's refusal to give up despite overwhelming odds on
the left hand side of the Wolves box saw him twist and turn and
cross a ball which reached Ryan Fraser. The substitute sent over a fine cross that
rose to head down and in at the Gallowgate End. 1-0
down the right and Pedro Neto lost Jamal Lewis
before crossing for Ruben Neves to head beyond Martin Dubravka - although he got
a hand to it and should have kept it out. The personnel change just
seconds earlier was also crucial; Hayden not getting the instructions via
the arriving Ritchie to occupy a defensive position and crucially standing
Full time: Magpies 1 Wolves 1
Steve Bruce said:
"We’re disappointed because we had the big chances.
"They had a
couple at the death but in the first half we’ve had three wonderful chances
and then one with Joelinton with 10 minutes to go.
"It’s the same story, if you create chances but don’t take them, in
the Premier League you’ll get punished.
"We should stop the cross and I think the goalkeeper will think he
could have kept it out. He's made a great save at the end, but I know he'll be disappointed with
"The instructions Matty (Ritchie) didn't get on to the team quick
enough on how we were doing it. When you look at the (Wolves) goal, we
should have stopped the cross. That was a frustration for all of us, but
we’ll have to concede that one and make sure our instructions (get on).
We’ll do it from the sideline (in future).
"I‘ve been quite pleased with how we’ve gone about our work. I’ve
enjoyed watching us play today but disruptions and injuries to our big
players is the biggest concern. For Miggy (Almiron) to be upset like
he is, we fear the worst.
"We’re going to have to find a way (to win without Callum Wilson,
Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin). Our top goalscorer last year (Jonjo
Shelvey) only scored six goals and we managed to find a way and get some
"There’s still a long way to go: everybody in the bottom half will be
looking over their shoulder. It’s an accumulation of points that matters so
let’s take the positives."
Nuno Espirito Santo commented:
"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."
Conceding a goal meant that Newcastle were again unable to record
back to back home wins in the Premier League, something that they last
Jamaal Lascelles scored his seventh Premier League goal for the club and like the
sixth, it came against Rui Patricio and Wolves at SJP.
That takes him level with
Matt Ritchie and ex-Magpies Jonas Gutierrez, Carl Cort, Mark
Viduka and Stephen Glass.
Although he appeared in the FA Cup against Arsenal in January,
Martin Dubravka played his first Premier League game since the
season-closer at home to Liverpool in July 2020.
Home comforts? NUFC home games still to play:
(last season score in brackets):
West Ham (drew 2-2)
Manchester City (drew 2-2)
Sheffield United (won 3-0)
Wolves in Toon - last 10:
2020/21 drew 1-1 Lascelles
2019/20 drew 1-1 Lascelles
2018/19 lost 1-2 Perez
2016/17 won 2-0 Ritchie, Gouffran (LC)
2016/17 lost 0-2
2011/12 drew 2-2 Cisse, Gutierrez
2010/11 won 4-1 Nolan, Shola Ameobi, Lovenkrands, Gutierrez
2003/04 drew 1-1 Bowyer
1992/93 won 2-1 Kelly 2
1991/92 lost 1-2 og(Madden)
Since a 2-1 success for Wolves at Gallowgate in 2018 we've drawn five
successive games against them:
2020/21 drew 1-1 Lascelles (h)
2020/21 drew 1-1 Murphy (a)
2019/20 drew 1-1 Lascelles (h)
2019/20 drew 1-1 Almiron (a)
2018/19 drew 1-1 Hayden (a)
(we managed a run of three 1-1 draws with Wolves from 2003-2010)
NUFC after 26 games - selected PL seasons:
2008/09 28 points, 14th, goal difference -9
2015/16 24 points, 18th, goal difference -22
2017/18 25 points, 16th, goal difference -12
2018/19 25 points, 16th, goal difference -12
2019/20 31 points, 13th, goal difference -16
2020/21 26 points, 17th, goal difference -17
Amongst the flowery pre-game comments from Steve Bruce was a
reference to reaching the crux of the season, but on the evidence of
tonight the Newcastle Manager may have actually meant crutch.
Having lost Javier Manquillo, Callum Wilson and Fabian
Schar to injury during the last home game, another trio of players
limped out of the action here - including both of our main creative
Miguel Almiron failed to appear for the second half due to a knee
injury and groin strain victim Allan Saint-Maximin joined him in the
dressing room just after
the hour; Emil Krafth then unable to continue with a shin complaint.
Those absences required various on-field alterations and although
one was successful as replacement Ryan Fraser crossed for Jamal
Lascelles to head his side ahead, momentary confusion during a
further reshuffle costing the hosts a clean sheet.
As a consequence, the points were shared between these two sides who
scored a goal each against each other for the fifth time in
succession - an
outcome that does little to alleviate the current state of fear
Leading through that Lascelles effort seven minutes after the
break, United's first stalemate in 11 games came when the recalled
Martin Dubravka faied to block a Ruben Neves header 17 minutes
before the end.
Going into this game following back to back away defeats at Chelsea
and Manchester United, the black and whites began brightly and did
everything but score in the opening half hour.
Isaac Hayden headed at Rui Patricio and the visiting 'keeper then blocked to deny Joelinton, but the clearest chance saw Almiron
drive into the box from the right before striking the base of the
far post with his 12th minute shot.
Saint-Maximin then knocked the ball into the unguarded net after Joe
Willock had seen his shot bounce back off Rui Patricio in the 24th
minute, but an offside flag correctly penalised the scorer.
At the other end, Dubravka was called into action, pushing Adama
Traore's 32nd minute header onto a post and Wolves came more into
the contest from then - the ex-Boro winger starting to tease
and torment right back Krafth.
Scoreless at the break, Ryan Fraser replaced the ailing Almiron and
took just seven minutes to send over a fine cross that Lascelles
rose to head down and in at the Gallowgate End.
Sadly though that was as good as it got, ASM's night ending
ten minutes later and his side momentarily a man short after
replacement Jacob Murphy sauntered on.
Newcastle struggled to retain possession from that point and thus
encouraged, Wolves broke down the right and Neto lost Jamal Lewis
before crossing for Neves to head beyond Dubravka.
The arrival of Ritchie seconds earlier and some confusion over
reshuffling the side looked costly - a situation not unlike that
which befell Jetro Willems at home to Arsenal in Bruce's first game.
Comments from Lascelles post-match backed up tonight's apparent lack
Without fashioning clear-cut chances, the visitors looked more
likely to find a winner but a golden opportunity was squandered by
United in the 81st minute.
Murphy jinked his way into the Wolves box from the right before
pulling the ball back to Joelinton on the penalty spot. His
first-time effort was towards the middle of the goal but had eluded
Rui Patricio - only to then glance off Romain Saiss as he ran behind
his own 'keeper.
Five minutes of additional time then saw Dubravka earn his side a
point, although replays showed that a block to deny substitute Fabio
Silva from close range was off his collar bone rather than a fist.
Had birthday boy Callum Wilson been fit enough to play tonight, his
side would surely have collected three points not one. In his
absence - and even before the latest crop of knocks - goalscoring
remains a worry.
Amidst the frustration of being unable to retain a lead and the
concerns over that mounting sick list, there were positives to be
taken from this overall display. Chances were at least made, if not
taken (although Willock will curse the fact he couldn't connect
properly with that first half chance before ASM's offside rebound).
The stark reality though is that there's now one less game in which
to collect one of the victories that we desperately require to
survive - and the pressure on Bruce & Co. has gone up another notch,
or several if the Almiron injury is as bad as first feared.
(On that particular subject, were the injury not too serious, but
sufficient to prevent Miggy from linking up with Paraguay in March,
then that would at least solve the looming quarantine issue).
Bruce's man management skills were also under scrutiny again here;
blaming Ritchie for the second half miscommunication and undermining
Dubravka on his return - having already acted poorly over Darlow's
dropping by tipping off press pals at the start of the week before the player
Add that to the continual rumours swirling around about disputes
with squad members currently out of favour and it's a pretty
unedifying picture all round.
Sympathy won't keep us up and every relegated side has a hard luck
story. This remains a looming catastrophe; the stench of decay
lingers on - and our fate increasingly looks to be in the hands of
those around us, notably our former boss at the Hawthorns next