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Wolves vs. Newcastle Match Report

Monday 3rd October 2011
The term ‘a game of two halves' would be slightly misplaced when reviewing the match at Molineux yesterday. More appropriate perhaps would be to say Newcastle are a team of two halves. First half saw them show the kind of passing ability, clinical finishing and pacey counter-attack that has them currently placed in a Champions League qualification spot. In the second half, we got to see the side of Newcastle that allowed them to grind out results against local rivals Sunderland. Wolves, on the other hand, flattered to deceive, not waking up until it was ultimately too late to make a difference to the score line.

Without sounding like Joey Barton, this game was never going to be dubbed as a footballing masterclass, with the build up focused primarily on the midfield battle of Henry and Tiote. In the end, this seemed a no-contest, as Kelvin simply didn't show up yesterday. As for Tiote, he had another solid performance, and appears to be returning to the sort of form that made him a fans' favourite. He also showed the sort of left foot strike from range that made him a Geordie hero against Arsenal last season, drawing a good save from Hennessy in the Wolves goal. Other than that, however, there weren't many saves to be made by the Wanderers goalkeeper, as Newcastle squandered chances through Ba, Best and Gutierrez. Wolves, on the other hand, drew a good save after only a few minutes, with time Krul tipping O'Hara's low cross/shot free-kick away. 10 minutes later and it was Kevin Doyle, played through on goal, who was foiled once again by the in-form Dutch International.

But if Newcastle were worrying about where the goals would come from, they needn't have bothered, as the latest St. James' striking sensation powered home his 3rd headed goal, and 4th overall for the club, much to the delight of the travelling Toon Army, who, ironically enough, just couldn't seem to get enough of their latest Demba Ba/Ramadan/Goal-based chant, or indeed the goals they were singing about. Wolves almost made an immediate response to going behind, as a blocked shot from Kevin Doyle looked to have wrong footed Krul, only for his right boot to come to the rescue – another sign of the young lads ability in goal. A chance for Gutierrez almost made it two, but his first-time effort was well saved at the front post. Eventually Newcastle's second goal was slotted home, surprisingly enough by Jonas ‘Spiderman' Gutierrez, who used his spidey-senses to be in the right place, his gangly legs to avoid the oncoming challenges, and a neat finish to slot it in the bottom corner. Jobs a good'un as he looks to celebrate his new contract in style, only to realise he's left his mask on the team coach. Then followed a penalty shout from the home fans, with Mark Halsey judging what was a soft, but clumsy, challenge from Steven Taylor to be outside of the box – the first of many decisions which angered the home crowd. Personally, I didn't even think it was a foul, but such is the modern game (see Rodwell vs. Liverpool).

Second half kicks off. I'm finishing my pint so miss about 5 minutes. Not much happens though I'm sure, as the second half was somewhat of a slow starter. Wolves tried to put the pressure on, Mick's clearly given them what for at half time. Newcastle remained reasonably calm and assured on the ball, passing it nicely, but possibly overplaying it at times – particularly when away to Wolves as they'll be on you in a flash. The hosts accumulate a few corners and have the ball in the Newcastle box a few times without really stretching Krul in goal. It takes until about an hour in before Wolves really begin to look like any sort of threat, coincidentally it was around this time Leon Best fashioned a decent chance for strike partner DemBa after some hard work and neat feet, but Demba slotted his shot inches past the post.  Wolves were particularly weary of a possible counter-attack, although it never looks likely to materialise as the heat and run of games begin to take their toll. Particularly faded in the second half was Roger Obertan (think American Dad!), who struggled to build up any damaging pace on the counter, and lacked a cutting edge with the final ball. On the Wolves side, a series of chances only further highlighted the class of Krul, while substitutions brought on in the shape of something Geuidora and the easier to write Adam Hammill gave their team a boost in energy that troubled United. Surprisingly the all-knowing and honourable Sir Alan Pardew thinks Roger's just being soft and keeps him on, refusing to make changes while the game is tense and close – although I'm unsure if this is a wise move from what is proving to be a shrewd manager in Pardew. Either that, or his trips to Aspers with the gaffers are wearing him down.

Back to the match, and unsurprisingly it was the impressive Hammill that set up the Wolves goal with a neat cross from the left wing, evading the entire United defence for Steven Fletcher to slot home with only 3 minutes to go. Poor from a Newcastle point of view, but Wolves had been piling on the pressure and deserved the goal in all honesty. Then followed a tense ending, made tenser with the shocking announcement of 5, yes FIVE minutes added time. Now I'm not sure if Mr. Halsey's been on the drink, on the pull, or just has a knock-off watch, but 5 minutes extra got a massive reaction from both sets of supporters. Wolves piled the numbers into the Newcastle 18, and then tried to put the ball in their too. Tim Krul then comes into his own – booked for time-wasting is becoming as regular a fixture as a Tiote booking or a Ba headed goal. However, it was Krul's numerous saves which ultimately secured Newcastle returned home with all 3 points. There was time, of course (FIVE though, really?!), for one final Wolves attack, and one final opportunity for the officials to steal the show. This time it was Halsey's assistant, sporting a baseball cap Shola wouldn't dream of wearing, that made the controversial call to disallow a Kevin Doyle pinball goal, judging the ball to have already crossed the line. Hammill was once again involved, picking out a lovely ball to the back post, which was nodded back across by Jarvis for Doyle to slot home at the 2nd attempt. Truth be told, it might well have been the correct decision, but there's not a chance the linesman can know for sure. Wolves are irate, Mick McCarthy's nose has popped a blood vessel, and the Toon Army are celebrating 3rd place in the league for at least the night. When things are going your way, things are going your way, and lady luck was shining down on Newcastle, just like the sunlight on Obertan's balding head, at Molineux.

Away from the match, the day itself was great. Sunshine was beaming, beers were flowing, and despite the best attempts of the police, the party atmosphere couldn't be spoilt in the Jack Harris Stand. And just like any good away day trip, my 15 hour round trip was concluded with a Bon Jovi sing-along... ironically it was Living on a Prayer.

Man of the Match

Tim Krul

 

If you wish to ask any questions, or insult the writer in any way, please feel free to tweet @greglarmouth.
Greg Larmouth

Total articles: 9

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