A close-range finish from Jonny ensured Wolves fought back to earn a battling point against Newcastle at St James’ Park.
Spaniard Jonny volleyed home from six yards after goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had fumbled Matt Doherty’s cross into his path to cap a much-improved second-half display from Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
Magpies captain Jamaal Lascelles scored the opener with a powerful near-post header from Federico Fernandez’s cross to light up what had been a largely dour first half.
Newcastle ended the game with 10 men when midfielder Sean Longstaff was sent off late on for a high challenge on Ruben Neves.
Doherty very nearly secured all three points for Wolves in stoppage time, but his header across goal from Raul Jimenez’s cross flashed just wide.
Resilient Wolves maintain upward momentum
Three successive defeats in September raised doubts about Wolves’ ability to balance the demands of domestic and European football, as well as build on their impressive campaign last year.
But this result makes it eight games unbeaten in all competitions, suggesting they are more than adept at coping with the extra matches in their fixture list.
If anything, they have shown an extra resilience, with 13 of their last 14 Premier League goals scored in the second half of matches, including Jonny’s leveller at St James’ Park.
Wolves boss Nuno once again freshened up his side, making five changes to the team that came from behind to win against Slovan Bratislava in the Europa League Thursday.
One of those changes was enforced, with defender Willy Boly suffering a fractured ankle in training on Saturday.
A formation change at half-time proved the spark for that victory in Slovakia and Nuno very nearly repeated the trick here.
The Portuguese switched from 3-5-2 to 3-4-3 at the break, with Adama Traore pushed forward into the front line behind Doherty, who was replaced in the back three by Leander Dendoncker.
It proved to be the catalyst for a vastly improved second-half performance, with the duo creating a chance for Diogo Jota within minutes of the restart.
Jota then created an opportunity himself when his mazy run and shot was only fumbled by Dubravka before the ball was scrambled clear.
Moments later, Wolves were level when Doherty’s cross was fumbled by Dubravka straight into the path of Jonny, who volleyed home from close range for just his second goal in a Wolves shirt.
That goal galvanised the visitors and they pinned Newcastle back in the closing stages of the game.
The Midlands club may be frustrated they did not come away with more than just a deserved point.
After stoppage-time goals in games against Burnley and Crystal Palace earlier this season, Wolves very nearly grabbed a third when Doherty went close.
Newcastle let down by lack of firepower
No Premier League ground had seen fewer goals than the four St James’ Park had witnessed going into this weekend, with just two of those for the Magpies, highlighting the challenge Steve Bruce faces.
He possesses a robust backline, with Lascelles, Fernandez DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark impressing here. But the former Aston Villa boss now needs to work out how to sharpen his attack without losing any of that defensive solidity.
Club-record signing Joelinton, who has scored just once this season, rarely threatened. Though he often found himself isolated as the Magpies defence dropped ever deeper as the game wore on.
They did manage nine shots on goal during the first period, their most in the opening half of a Premier League game since April.
But goalkeeper Rui Patricio was rarely troubled by any of them apart from a Miguel Almiron shot into the side netting from Matty Longstaff’s early ball over the top.
With their forward line miss-firing Newcastle need to rely on goals from elsewhere, and so it proved for the opening goal.
Argentine defender Fernandez, making his first Premier League start of the season, stayed forward after a set-piece and put in a dangerous cross from the right that was powered home at the near post by Lascelles for his first goal since January 2018.
Bruce will be pleased with the way his side clung on for a point, particularly after Sean Longstaff was deservedly dismissed after catching Neves’ knee with a studs-up challenge with 10 minutes left, but they could have easily lost this game during a frantic finale.
Bruce has to somehow get his strikers scoring on a regular basis if Newcastle are to lift themselves away from near the bottom of the table.
Man of the match – Adama Traore (Wolves)
‘They were feeding off scraps’ – what they said
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “I was delighted the way we played in the first half and needed more of it in the second but for some reason we didn’t play in the second half. We needed to gain composure and a foothold in the game but we gave the ball away so many times and sat back too much.
“We forgot to take part in the second half. “We said we wanted to win the second half as well. Second half it was that horrible cliche of a game of two halves – if ever there was one.”
On Sean Longstaff’s red card: “I thought he was unlucky. I think he has played the ball and he isn’t in control of his foot but where is his foot supposed to go? When players roll around like that afterwards I’m always a bit dubious.”
On his side’s scoring problems: “We’ve invested in strikers, in the second half they were feeding off scraps. We need to do better to give the players at the top end of the pitch chances.”
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, also to BBC Match of the Day: “We performed better in the second half. Newcastle were organised and we had problems but in the second half we were better and created so much. We combined well and I’m happy – the challenge is to do it in both halves.”
On his side’s busy schedule: “We are embracing the challenge. We have played 20 games, that is a lot of effort. There are no days off and so a lot of credit goes to the boys.”
On losing Willy Boly this week through injury: “He’s a big player and a big man and we will miss him, but it is something that can happen. He was doing a box in training and fell – it is sad that has happened.”
Wolves continue scoring run – the stats
- Newcastle haven’t scored more than once in any of their last 10 Premier League games (six goals), their longest such run since April 2015 under John Carver (10 games).
- Wolves have scored in each of their last nine Premier League games, their joint-longest scoring run in the competition.
- Sean Longstaff is the 53rd different Newcastle player to pick up a red card in the Premier League, with only Everton (57) seeing more individual players sent off in the competition.
- Steve Bruce has seen one of his players shown a red card on 53 occasions in the Premier League, with only Arsene Wenger having had more sent off in the competition (78).
- Wolves have conceded four headed goals in the Premier League this season, the joint-most along with Norwich.
- Each of Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles’ six Premier League goals have been headers; only Dean Richards, Craig Short and Curtis Davies (all 7/7) have scored more goals in the competition with 100% of them coming via their head.
- Lascelles’ opener for Newcastle was his first Premier League goal in 634 days (Jan 2018 v Burnley), with Federico Fernandez assisting his first goal in the competition in 407 days (Sep 2018 v Arsenal).
- Wolves wing-back Jonny scored his first away goal in top-flight football (Premier League and La Liga) in his 112th such game on the road.
Newcastle travel to London Stadium to play West Ham on Saturday, 2 November (15:00 GMT).
Wolves are away at Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Wednesday (19:45), before taking on Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday (15:00).
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