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Ten-man Newcastle United were denied a precious point as Wolverhampton Wanderers ran out 2-1 winners at St James’ Park today.
Diogo Jota’s early strike was cancelled out by Ayoze Perez in the first half, before DeAndre Yedlin was given a red card on 58 minutes. Matt Doherty then won it in stoppage-time.
Buoyed by news of a potential takeover, which saw plans to boycott the game in protest against absent owner Mike Ashley postponed, the home fans seemed in good voice before the game.
The players almost responded in the first minute when Salomon Rondon chested and volleyed Mohamed Diame’s cross straight at Wolves stopper Rui Patricio.
But Nuno Espirito Santo’s side settled quickly and looked for record-signing Adama Traore with every opportunity. The Spain under-21 winger’s pace allowed him to break free of the hosts’ backline as Wolves began to take control.
With 17 minutes on the clock, they took the lead. Jota found himself with acres of space in the area before controlling the ball firing past Martin Dubravka.
Just six minutes after the opener, though, the Magpies were level. It came out of nowhere but an astonishing passage of play, which started with Rondon’s free-kick crashing against the bar, restored parity.
He was alert to the situation and crossed for Perez when the ball came back, and the Spaniard flicked it home brilliantly.
The game quickly opened up, with Newcastle beginning to build up a head of steam. As the first half came to a close, Rondon began to influence proceedings, but Traore was still threatening at the other end.
Newcastle, minus defender Federico Fernandez who was replaced by Javier Manquillo at the break, started the second half in the same way they ended the first.
Matt Ritchie became more involved, linking up well with Manquillo down the left. But the game took a huge turn just before the hour when Yedlin was sent off.
A hefty touch on the edge of the box allowed Jota to sneak in behind him, and referee Mike Dean adjudged him to be denying a goal scoring opportunity.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo immediately reacted by making two attacking substitutions, replacing Traore and Romain Saiss with Morgan Gibbs-White and Raul Jimenez.
Far from happy with Dean’s decision, Rafael Benitez shifted his team tactically once again, lining up in order to contain Wolves while still getting the ball out wide at every opportunity.
Rondon continued to hold the ball up excellently in attack. Wolves almost made the man advantage count when, after a swift breakaway, Jimenez crashed the ball against the bar from the edge of the box.
On 80 minutes, the drama stepped up another notch when Perez went down in the area. Dean was unmoved as Wolves went forward; Dubravka then denied Doherty with a superb reaction save.
Newcastle had battled well and looked on course for a deserved draw, but Doherty finished from close after a Dubravka save to break their hearts.
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