Newcastle got back into the winning column with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wolves at St. James’ Park. It was a difficult feat but the losing skid comes to an end with a critical win.
Newcastle played in the 4-3-3 with Pope in goal behind Trippier, Schar, Botman, and Burn. The midfielders were Guimaraes, Longstaff, and Willock. Isak played up front alongside Murphy and Saint-Maximin.
The match started brightly with both teams getting up the pitch. Newcastle had the bulk of possession but neither side was able to get any shot away in the opening stages of the game.
In the 20th minute, Newcastle escaped a disaster. Botman rolled the ball back to Pope on the edge of the box but a loose touch was pounced on by Raul Jiminez. The two players brushed shoulders with Jiminez dropping to the turf. A VAR check ruled confirmed it was not a penalty.
Newcastle took the lead in the 26th minute. A sweeping free-kick from Trippier was met by Isak in the middle of the box. The Swede headed the ball toward the far corner just past the outstretched palm of Jose Sa to make it 1-0.
The bar prevented a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute with Newcastle piling the pressure on Wolves. Trippier’s corner was pulled back by Burn at the far post. Guimaraes nodded the ball off the bar as Wolves escaped.
Howe didn’t make any changes as Newcastle came out for the second half with a slim 1-0 advantage. Wolves, who swapped out Adama Traore for Pedro Neto, started the half on the front foot but were limited to two shots from distance.
The match became a high-octane affair with both clubs having promising forays into the opposition’s end. Wolves saw much more of the ball while failing to create clear-cut chances other than a flashed shot from Moutinho that Pope did well to parry away in the 63rd minute.
Howe went to the bench in the 68th minute with Isak and Saint-Maximin being withdrawn for Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron. Murphy jumped over the left flank with Miggy taking up duties on the right.
It was a Wolves substitute to make the instant impact. Hwang Hee-Chan, who had just come on, rolled the ball into the goal to make it 1-1 in the 70th minute. Pope came out as Trippier slipped trying to clear the ball leaving an open net for the Wolves attacker.
The Magpies retook the lead in the 79th minute through Almiron. On a break, Longstaff found the Paraguayan down the right. He played a one-two with Willock before his deflected shot from a tight angle found the top corner.
Matt Ritchie made his entrance in the 85th minute for Murphy. Newcastle created a great move from a corner in stoppage time with the ball ending up at Botman’s feet. The Dutchman put his shot just wide of the near post.
Newcastle were able to see out the match and secure the points. They move to fifth in the table with matches in hand on the clubs around them. There are still plenty of kinks to iron out but the lads got the job done this evening.