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Wolves 0 Newcastle United 1 - Report and pictures

Sport | Published:

[gallery]Aleksandar Mitrovic controversially scoring the winning goal as Wolves lost 1-0 to Newcastle.

The Magpies' striker netted from close range just before the break - but arguably shouldn't have been on the field after avoiding a second yellow card for a foul on Carl Ikeme.

Replays also showed that defender Jamaal Lascelles was offside in the build-up to the goal.

Wolves pushed for an equaliser but rarely tested Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow, with a Richard Stearman volley and a David Edwards header both off target from close range.

Analysis

Wolves have been on the wrong end of a fair number of dreadful refereeing decisions this season, writes Tim Spiers at Molineux.

A Jack Grealish stamp on Conor Coady, a clear push in the box on Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (both against Villa), an elbow on Paul Gladon (versus Burton) and a dive from Norwich's Wes Hoolahan spring to mind, to name but four.

Wolves didn't win any of the above games, and they didn't win this one either.

Aleksandar Mitrovic quite clearly raked his studs down Carl Ikeme's calf as the keeper collected a through ball. But, despite being on a yellow, he wasn't sent off. And 17 minutes later he scored the winning goal. Oh and it was offside too.

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Yes, referee Craig Pawson and co did a fine job of helping league leaders Newcastle to another three points here.

But Wolves, albeit against superior opposition, still didn't do enough to justify a huge hard-luck story in terms of the football on show in what was a poor spectacle at a well-stocked Molineux.

There were moments here and there, such as a Richard Stearman volley and a David Edwards header, but Newcastle gave a masterclass in how to close out a game in the second half and keeper Karl Darlow was largely untested.

There's no shame in that - Newcastle have spent £57million assembling one of the best squads ever seen at this level.

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But two defeats in two matches have knocked the momentum Paul Lambert's team earned either side of Christmas - and with 17 points now the gap to the top six, any outlandish talk of a push for the play-offs must end.

Indeed, they have now slipped close to the bottom three, with just six points the gap heading into the final 16 matches.

Pulling clear of the drop zone and allaying any relegation fears is the priority over the next four home matches before the end of February.

Lambert made three changes from the team that lost 2-1 to Burton Albion, recalling captain Danny Batth as well as Bright Enobakhare and Jack Price, with Kortney Hause, Lee Evans and George Saville making way.

As expected there was no Dwight Gayle for Newcastle, who selected Jonjo Shelvey, the man banned for five games for racially abusing Romain Saiss in the reverse fixture.

The boos for Shelvey began from the first whistle, but it wasn't long before the home fans had another target in Mitrovic.

He was lucky to avoid a yellow after leading with an elbow on Batth when challenging for a high ball and was booked a couple of minutes later for backing into Stearman.

But the first half's main talking point came just before the half hour when the big striker somehow avoided another yellow for leaving his studs on Ikeme's calf - a foul that looked very deliberate on replays.

Lambert raged at the fourth official, to no avail. And there was a depressing inevitability about Mitrovic's opening goal just before the break. Wolves had further cause to feel aggrieved with Jamaal Lascelles clearly returning from an offside position when he teed up the striker to score.

The half time scoreline felt an unjust one. Wolves had forged two decent chances to Newcastle's one, before the goal, and hadn't been under any pressure, albeit without creating much of their own with the midfield lacking in quality balls to the front four.

Lambert made a change at half time, withdrawing Jack Price (who had a poor first half but also took a knock just before the break) for Lee Evans, while Mitrovic was predictably taken off by Benitez with his mission for the night accomplished.

The second period was similar to the first - a tight affair between two well-organised sides who produced only sporadic flashes of inspiration.

David Edwards headed into the side netting and Batth produced a superb tackle to deny substitute Christian Atsu as he raced through the middle.

But otherwise there was little to report. Lambert sent on Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Ben Marshall but Newcastle defended in such large numbers that Wolves struggled to get even a sight of Karl Darlow's goal.

When Costa curled a harmless effort at him with two minutes remaining it was Wolves' first shot on target.

They bombarded Darlow's box with crosses late on but that golden chance wouldn't come.

Wolves deserved a point for their efforts - but Newcastle took all three.

Key moments

3 - Big early chance for Newcastle as Jack Colback gets in behind the defence with Richard Stearman down injured, but Carl Ikeme spreads himself to make an excellent block.

20 - Helder Costa takes on two players and then tees up Andreas Weimann whose cross reaches Nouha Dicko at the back post - he volleys towards goal but it bounces wide.

25 - Costa's free kick is flicked on by David Edwards and Stearman sends a volley over the bar from just six yards. A great opportunity spurned.

27 - Aleksandar Mitrovic, already on a booking, leaves a boot on Ikeme's calf after the keeper collects a through ball. Paul Lambert is absolutely furious but referee Craig Pawson doesn't award a second booking.

44 - GOAL - And inevitably it's Mitrovic who gives Newcastle the lead. A Jonjo Shelvey free kick cannons around the box. There's a big hint of offside as the ball is played to Mitrovic and he can't miss from six yards.

49 - Costa whips a cross to Edwards who heads into the side netting at the near post.

Teams

Wolves (4-2-3-1): Ikeme; Coady, Batth (c), Stearman, Doherty; Price (Evans, 45), Edwards; Costa, Enobakhare (Bodvarsson, 60), Weimann (Marshall, 76); Dicko. Subs: Burgoyne, Hause, Saville, Ronan.

Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Darlow; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Colback; Ritchie (Murphy, 82), Diame (Perez, 88), Gouffran; Mitrovic (Atsu, 45). Subs: Elliot, Hanley, Gamez, Hayden.

Goal: Mitrovic (44)

Attendance: 24,876 (4,164 Newcastle fans)

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Position in the table

18th (35 points from 30 matches)

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