Newcastle return to top as Mitrovic bags winner at Wolves

Date published: Saturday 11th February 2017 8:36

Newcastle moved back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-half strike earned them a 1-0 win against Wolves at Molineux.

Mitrovic struck 60 seconds before half-time with his sixth goal of the season to give Rafael Benitez’s side an 11th away win of the campaign, which sees them leapfrog Brighton and move a point clear at the top of the table following the Seagulls’ 4-1 defeat of Burton earlier in the day.

The Serbian’s strike left Wolves seething – they felt the striker should have been sent off for a 27th minute challenge on goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, 13 minutes after he had been booked for a foul on Richard Stearman.

A second successive defeat leaves Wolves only six points clear of the relegation zone ahead of a huge clash against second from bottom Wigan at Molineux on Tuesday.

Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey received a hostile reception from the Wolves fans. After the teams last met in September, Shelvey was banned for five games and fined £100,000 for using racially abusive language against Wolves midfielder Romain Saiss.

Saiss was not involved in this game as he has to wait to win a recall following his return from playing for Morocco at the African Cup of Nations.

Magpies midfielder Jack Colback wasted a golden opportunity after only four minutes. With Wolves central defender Stearman lying injured in the centre circle, Magpies winger Matt Ritchie took advantage of the space to race clear and release Colback – but the former Sunderland player’s poor shot was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.

Wolves found chances of their own hard to come by before £13million winger Helder Costa weaved some magic in the 20th minute, surging across the pitch to feed Andreas Weimann, whose cross was then volleyed narrowly wide by Nouha Dicko at the far post.

The hosts then wasted another opening five minutes later when Costa’s left-wing free-kick was headed on by Edwards, only for a stretching Stearman to stab the ball past the far post.

Squandering those opportunities proved costly for Wolves when Newcastle took the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Shelvey floated a free-kick into the Wolves penalty area and Mohamed Diame’s shot was turned on by Jamal Lascelles to Mitrovic, who stabbed the ball home from six yards.

Wolves sought a quick response at the start of the second half and were inches away from getting it when Edwards narrowly failed to get his header on target, following Costa’s left-wing centre.

However, they struggled to test Karl Darlow, with unmarked substitute Lee Evans lifting his shot well over the bar in the 74th minute, before a Costa drive was comfortably dealt with by the Newcastle goalkeeper four minutes from time.

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