Wolves' Matt Doherty strikes late to break Newcastle hearts
Irishman headed in a winner in the dying seconds against 10-man home side
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Matt Doherty (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their late winner during Premier League win over Newcastle United. Photo: Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images
Newcastle United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
Football can be a cruel, cruel game. As they streamed out of St. James’ Park sickened by a Wolverhampton winner in the fourth added time, Newcastle United fans were sharing that sentiment.
Down to 10 men for 38 minutes, including five of added time, Newcastle had held out with defiance and some composure – though goalkeeper Martin Dubravka made a trio of excellent saves.
But when Dubravka pushed away Diogo Jota’s rising shot, the rebound fell onto the head of Matt Doherty who nodded in from six yards.
Newcastle were crushed. They had fought valiantly. DeAndre Yedlin was shown a straight red card by referee Mike Dean for puling down the Wolves’ first scorer Jota – when some referees might have given a yellow.
Rafa Benítez could barely contain his annoyance on the touchline as he raged at the fourth official and the home team were further infuriated when their goalscorer Ayoze Pérez went down in a heap after a collision and stray elbow from Willy Boly.
But that was nothing compared to the late, late winner that means after six games without a win Wolves have back to back victories.
“They have spent a lot of money,” noted Benítez of Wolves in his programme notes. Jota is one of those Benítez will have had in mind when he said that.
The 22 year-old signed from Atletico Madrid scored his first Premier League goal against Chelsea on Wednesday night and his second came quickly after.
You can imagine Benítez was pretty frustrated when, after 17 minutes of open, end-to-end play, Helder Costa cut in from the Wolves right and clipped a diagonal cross to the far post.
The ball flew over the head of Jamaal Lascelles to Jota. It seemed as if Lascelles was quite surprised to see Jota there. The Newcastle captain was wondering where Yedlin was.
Jota did not care. He trapped the ball on his chest and sent a cushioned five-yard volley in off the stomach of the exposed Dubravka.
Only a timely tackle from Ciaran Clark three minutes later stopped the boisterous Adama Traoré closing in on a Wolves second.
Newcastle were rattled. But it was brief. Salomon Rondon had been bright from kick-off – he had a volley on target after just 35 seconds – and when Pérez was brought down on 23 minutes on the edge of the Wolves area, the West Brom loanee stepped up a struck a fine free-kick.
It smacked down off the crossbar and was hacked clear out of the Wolves area. Rondon was there waiting. He promptly sent in a great, curling cross at pace. It is the sort a centre-forward like Rondon relishes.
His forward partner, Perez, did, getting a flick that was both delicate and powerful. It looped over Rui Patricio, a fine goal.
It was an even contest. Then, 12 minutes into the second half, Yedlin took a pass from substitute Javier Manquillo in the right-back position.
Yedlin could see and feel Jota pressing and the American panicked, half-stumbling. Jota nipped in and was about to enter the Newcastle box when Yedlin pulled him back. Referee Dean had a choice of cards and chose red. He must not have thought the covering Lascelles would have got across in time to block Jota.
Wolves had more than half an hour to use their numerical advantage and on 76 minutes they were centimetres from making it count.
Substitute Raul Jimenez was on the end of a rapid breakaway and cracked a great shot off the crossbar.
Dubravka then made a flying stop from Doherty and another save from Jimenez. – Guardian service