Match ends, Newcastle United 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.
Newcastle revived their bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four with a battling victory over Wolves at St James’ Park.
Substitute Miguel Almiron scored the winner with 12 minutes left as the Magpies ended a run of three straight defeats in all competitions to leapfrog Liverpool into fifth on goal difference and move within four points of fourth-placed Tottenham, who have played two games more.
Hwang Hee-chan, another substitute, had levelled for Wolves seconds after coming on to cancel out Alexander Isak’s towering first-half header.
Wolves were second best for large periods but will feel aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty, and that Nick Pope was not sent off, when the Newcastle goalkeeper appeared to take down Raul Jimenez six minutes before Isak’s opener, with referee Andy Madley waving away their appeals.
Pope then went on to make a number of fine saves to deny Julen Lopetegui’s side, who stay 13th and miss the chance to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
Newcastle end losing run
Speaking before the game, Eddie Howe said he hoped for a “spark or individual moment” to get his Newcastle team’s flagging season back on track and it arrived courtesy of top scorer Almiron, whose fine individual season continued with an 11th goal of the season.
It is Newcastle’s first win in six games in all competitions and their first home win in the Premier League since a 1-0 victory over Fulham in mid-January.
After a quiet start, their opener arrived when Kieran Trippier’s dangerous free kick was met by Isak, who edged clear of his marker and buried a powerful header into the corner.
That sparked Newcastle into life and they came close to a second goal when Bruno Guimaraes hit the bar with a header from close range after Dan Burn had helped Trippier’s corner back into the six-yard box.
Trippier was guilty of a defensive error to allow Wolves to level in the second half when he slipped and collided with Pope as he attempted a clearance, the ball falling at the feet of Hwang, who tapped into an open net seconds after coming on to the pitch.
After Almiron restored Newcastle’s lead, Sven Botman came close to a third in stoppage time when he blazed wide from six yards after some wonderful interplay between the Paraguayan and Guimaraes.
Wolves rue non-penalty call
Though Newcastle deserved their victory, Wolves will feel the decisive moment of the match went against them when it was still goalless.
Pope miscontrolled a back pass that was intercepted by Jimenez and the Mexico striker appeared to be bodychecked by the England goalkeeper as he attempted to run on to the ball.
Referee Madley, who as a considerable distance away, waved away their appeals and the video assistant referee did not ask the official to take a second look on the monitor.
Despite going into the game as the Premier League’s lowest scorers, Wolves created a number of decent opportunities, with Daniel Podence hitting the post with a fizzing low drive shortly before the interval, while Pedro Neto and Joao Moutinho drew smart stops from Pope before Hwang’s equaliser.
But the defeat, combined with results elsewhere over the weekend, has allowed a number of teams below Wolves to close the gap in what becoming an unpredictable relegation battle, with just five points separating the bottom eight.
That makes Wolves’ next two matches, against fellow strugglers Leeds and Nottingham Forest, hugely significant as they look to secure a fifth successive season in the top flight.
Player of the match
Rúben NevesRúben Neves
Squad number14Player nameIsakAverage rating
Squad number24Player nameAlmirónAverage rating
Squad number2Player nameTrippierAverage rating
Squad number10Player nameSaint-MaximinAverage rating
Squad number39Player nameBruno GuimarãesAverage rating
Squad number28Player nameWillockAverage rating
Squad number5Player nameSchärAverage rating
Squad number23Player nameMurphyAverage rating
Squad number4Player nameBotmanAverage rating
Squad number33Player nameBurnAverage rating
Squad number22Player namePopeAverage rating
Squad number11Player nameRitchieAverage rating
Squad number9Player nameWilsonAverage rating
Squad number36Player nameS LongstaffAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameRúben NevesAverage rating
Squad number11Player nameHwang Hee-chanAverage rating
Squad number37Player nameTraoréAverage rating
Squad number15Player nameDawsonAverage rating
Squad number1Player nameJosé SáAverage rating
Squad number10Player nameDaniel PodenceAverage rating
Squad number9Player nameJiménezAverage rating
Squad number7Player namePedro NetoAverage rating
Squad number27Player nameMatheus NunesAverage rating
Squad number23Player nameKilmanAverage rating
Squad number5Player nameLeminaAverage rating
Squad number28Player nameJoão MoutinhoAverage rating
Squad number22Player nameNélson SemedoAverage rating
Squad number19Player nameJonnyAverage rating
Squad number3Player nameAït-NouriAverage rating
Squad number4Player nameCollinsAverage rating
- 36S Longstaff
- 39Bruno Guimarães
- 23MurphySubstituted forRitchieat 85′minutes
- 14IsakBooked at 68minsSubstituted forWilsonat 68′minutes
- 10Saint-MaximinSubstituted forAlmirónat 68′minutes
- 22Nélson SemedoBooked at 58mins
- 19Castro OttoSubstituted forAït-Nouriat 69′minutes
- 8NevesSubstituted forNunesat 69′minutes
- 37TraoréSubstituted forNetoat 45′minutes
- 28João MoutinhoSubstituted forCollinsat 75′minutes
- 10PodenceBooked at 44minsSubstituted forHwang Hee-chanat 69′minutes
- 11Hwang Hee-chan
- 12Matheus Cunha
- 35João Gomes
- Andy Madley