Newcastle United restored parity in their pursuit of a top-four place as they overcame a dogged Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at St James’ Park.
Alexander Isak’s glancing header from a delicious Kieran Trippier delivery should have sealed the points for The Magpies, who had the better of the game’s chances, but survived a couple of lucky escapes as well.
Hwang Hee-chan scored just seconds after coming off the bench to equalise for the visitors, but it was another super-sub, Miguel Almiron, who came up with the goods with 10 minutes to go to secure a vital victory for Eddie Howe’s men, taking them back up to fifth in the table.
Nick Pope, the Newcastle goalkeeper, was left to feel mightily relieved as his heavy touch from a Sven Botman backpass had hungry Wolves striker Raul Jimenez snapping away, and the former Burnley shot-stopper’s trip on the Mexican was deemed unworthy of a penalty by referee Andy Madley.
Isak’s opener was the game’s first real sighting of goal, as Jimenez was punished for a clumsy foul on the marauding centre-back Fabian Schar on the right touchline after 26 minutes, and captain fantastic Trippier fizzed in a beauty for the super Swede to snare first blood.
The game’s opening goal settled down the nervy home fans, who held their breath every time Pope touched the ball, but it was Isak who showed his composure in a tense moment to nod them ahead.
The home crowd at St James’ Park found its voice once more as the fans roared their side on, and maverick wide man Allan Saint-Maximin was at his mercurial best as he continued to torment Nelson Semedo with his happy feet.
Jimenez forced a strong stop from Pope with a curling effort on the half hour as Wolves refused to be tamed, and the diminutive Daniel Podence crashed Pope’s near post with a rasping effort as he darted infield onto his dangerous right foot.
That wasn’t before Bruno Guimaraes, so often Newcastle’s match-winner, had hit the bar with a close-range header from a Dan Burn knock-down, as both sides continued to trade blows as the bell rang.
The action wasn’t finished in the second half as Julen Lopetegui’s side came out of their shells more, and they came close through substitute Pedro Neto’s free kick, which was dealt with strongly by Pope as it swerved towards the top corner.
Trippier had his own free-kick tipped away by Sa as the England right-back looked to catch out the Wolves No. 1.
Pope was called into action once more as he got down quickly to spoon away Joao Moutinho’s pot-volley just after the hour as Wolves began to up the ante.
They were finally level with 20 minutes to play, as a mix-up at the back between Pope and Trippier meant that the ball broke to Hwang, who had the goal at his mercy from six yards out.
The partisan home support roared Newcastle on, and as the Black Country boys began to tire in their chase, Joe Willock’s incisive thread-through found Almiron, who slotted calmly beyond Sa to send St James’ into a sea of ecstasy.
Alexander Isak celebrates after scoring during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James’ Park on March 12, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT – MIGGY THE MAN, BUT ALEXANDER THE GREAT
They’re so often lauded as a well-oiled machine with outstanding teamwork instilled by Eddie Howe’s strict values, but this was all about the brilliance of Newcastle’s individuals.
Isak was tireless in the final third, chasing down lost causes and striking the opener in a display that justified his club-record price tag.
Miguel Almiron, dropped to the bench after a drop-off in form, was called at a moment when his side needed him, and the Paraguayan aptly delivered, to end The Magpies’ winless streak of five games.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – ALEXANDER ISAK, NEWCASTLE
He’s not had the chances nor the run of games to really highlight his quality yet in the famous black and white stripes, but against Wolves he showed what he was all about.
Pace, physicality, a clinical nature in front of goal and tireless desire, it was a complete performance from the former Real Sociedad striker.
Replaced with 20 minutes to go by Callum Wilson, Isak’s 70 minutes showed everyone, and more importantly his manager, why he deserves more game time spearheading Newcastle’s electrifying attack.
Jonny of Wolverhampton Wanderers is challenged by Jacob Murphy of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James Park
Image credit: Getty Images
Newcastle: Pope 7, Trippier 7, Schar 6, Botman 6, Burn 6, Longstaff 6, Guimaraes 6, Willock 7, Murphy 6, Isak 8, S-Maximin 7. Subs: Wilson 6, Almiron 7, Ritchie 6.
Wolves: Sa 7, Semedo 6, Kilman 6, Dawson 6, Jonny 6, Neves 6, Lemina 6, Traore 6, Moutinho 6, Podence 6, Jimenez 6. Subs: Neto 6, Nunes 6, Hwang 7, Collins 6, Ait-Nouri 6.
26′: GOAL! And Newcastle are ahead, and it’s Alexander Isak! A sumptuous Trippier delivery finds the head of the Swede, who glances it into the far corner to put Newcastle ahead.
35′: OFF THE BAR! Wolves escape as the second corner results in Guimaraes’ header hitting the bar from Burn’s knock-down!
39′: POST! Wolves come so close to an unlikely equaliser as Podence darts inside onto his right and pulls the trigger, and rattles the near woodwork, with Nick Pope beaten!
70′: GOAL! Wolves are level, and carnage ensues at the back for Newcastle. It’s Hwang off the bench as the referee plays a dubious advantage, and Trippier and Pope have a mix-up with Hwang there to gobble up the open goal.
79′: GOAL! Newcastle are in front again, and it’s that man Almiron! Wolves dropped off, and the Magpies took full advantage. Threaded through nicely by Willock, and the Paraguayan finishes with aplomb.
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