January signing Chris Wood registered his first goal for Newcastle at St James’ Park to give the Magpies a vital three points against Wolves in the Premier League.
Newcastle were the better team for the majority of the match, as Wolves endured a frustrating and disjointed night on Tyneside. However, Eddie Howe’s side failed to capitalise on their dominance until Wood’s goal in the 72nd minute.
Both teams made two changes for the Friday night clash. Emil Krafth and Bruno Guimaraes came in for Javier Manquillo and Joe Willock for Newcastle.
The visitors, meanwhile, had Luke Cundle and Hwang Hee-chan replace Leander Dendoncker and Daniel Podence.
The game started quickly which seemed to play into Newcastle’s hands. But Howe had an early worry when Ryan Fraser went down off the ball.
The winger had to be replaced by Miguel Almiron in the 12th minute with what looked like a calf problem.
Wolves were sloppy in possession and kept inviting pressure from Newcastle.
The Magpies had the ball in the back of the net with 23 minutes gone. Max Kilman gave the ball away for Wolves, allowing Newcastle to pounce. Following another defensive error, Wood smashed home from close range – only for VAR to rule the goal out due to offside.
Newcastle dominated for the rest of the first half, reacting to plenty of misplaced Wolves passes. However, they couldn’t get that vital goal before the interval.
Surprisingly, Bruno Lage didn’t bring on livewire Pedro Neto for the start of the second half. He seemed to be exactly what Wanderers needed.
Dan Burn was the unlikely player to have the first sight at goal after the break. Wood flicked a free-kick into the defender’s path and he chested down before taking a shot. But the effort was tame, allowing Jose Sa to catch with relative ease.
Wolves show signs of life
Hwang finally burst into life in the 54th minute. He capitalised on a Fabian Schar error and beat several Newcastle players to get into a good position. He fired at goal but saw it blocked first, keeping the scores level.
Wolves needed that sudden energy and they had another chance in the 57th minute. Joao Moutinho got away from his man with a nice touch and drove a cross into the box. Conor Coady and Fabio Silva were in the wrong place to connect with it, though.
Newcastle responded and Allan Saint-Maximin should have given his team the lead soon afterwards. Almiron found Guimaraes down the right, and he picked out Saint-Maximin in the penalty area. However, the winger snatched at it and sent his effort way over the bar.
Joelinton then powered forward from the Newcastle midfield and played Wood in. He drew a foul from Sa, forcing the referee to point to the spot with 20 minutes left.
Wood stepped up and emphatically dispatched of the spot-kick, registering his first Newcastle goal at St James’ Park and his second for the club since joining from Burnley.
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Guimaraes came agonisingly close to doubling the home team’s lead in the next attack. Saint-Maximin gave it to the Brazilian, but his shot whistled past the post thanks to a deflection off Moutinho.
Lage turned to his bench in the 78th minute as Neto replaced Hwang and Chem Campbell came on for Francisco Trincao – but arguably the substitutions came too late.
Silva had two opportunities to bring Wolves level in quick succession. First he steered a header wide, before forcing a top save from Martin Dubravka with a curling effort.
However, Lage’s men couldn’t grab an equaliser and resultantly picked up their 13th league defeat of the campaign.
For Newcastle, meanwhile, the victory moves them up to 14th, on 34 points.