Steve Bruce was left to reflect upon what might have been as Newcastle saw a priceless Premier League victory snatched from their grasp by Wolves.
On a night when the relegation-haunted Magpies lost star men Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin to potentially signifiant injuries, Ruben Neves’ 73rd-minute header cancelled out Jamaal Lascelles’ opener before both sides saw glorious chances go begging in the closing stages of a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park.
Head coach Bruce said: “I was very, very pleased with us. Certainly the loss of Almiron affected us a little bit, but the first half in particular I was very, very pleased with how we played.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t see it through and disappointed with the number of chances, unfortunately, we’ve missed.
“At this level, we always know that you’re not going to get bundles of them, so it’s important that you take them when they come your way, so that was a disappointment and a frustration.”
Having lost the impressive Almiron to injury at the break, Newcastle forced their way in front within seven minutes of the restart when skipper Lascelles, whose last league goal came against the same opposition in October 2019, headed home substitute Ryan Fraser’s cross.
Disappointing for Dubravka
However, they had seen Saint-Maximin also hobble down the tunnel by the time Neves twisted in the air to head Pedro Neto’s cross past Martin Dubravka, who was starting his first league game of the campaign.
Joelinton was unfortunate to see a late goal-bound shot deflected over the crossbar by the unwitting Romain Saiss – Bruce felt his striker should have done better – but substitute Fabio Silva was denied by Dubravka deep into stoppage time in a thrilling conclusion.
Asked about the goal the Slovakia international conceded, Bruce said: “I think he’ll be disappointed with the goal. First of all, we should stop the cross – that’s the basic for a full-back.
“It was a great header from Neves, but I’m sure Martin being the type of lad he is and getting a big hand to it like he did, I’m sure he’ll be disappointed that he didn’t keep it out.
“But he pulled off a wonderful save five minutes later.”