Captain Jamaal Lascelles says Newcastle “need to stop talking and put points on the board” after missing a chance to move further clear of the Premier League relegation zone with a draw against Wolves.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce was also concerned at losing the influential Miguel Almiron, saying he “fears the worst” about the Paraguayan’s injury.
Almiron was substituted at half-time and Bruce says he will have a scan on Sunday.
Lascelles headed the hosts in front from Ryan Fraser’s cross in the second half and they looked good for their lead after a confident performance.
But Ruben Neves, who had never scored a headed goal for Wolves before, was awarded space to guide Pedro Neto’s delivery beyond Martin Dubravka to earn the visitors a point.
Dubravka, making his first Premier League appearance of the season, may have done better for Wolves’ leveller but produced a superb save to deny Fabio Silva in added time.
Newcastle were left to rue a number of missed opportunities of their own, with Almiron striking the far post after breaking the offside trap early in the first half.
It means 18th-placed Fulham can move within one point of Newcastle if they beat Crystal Palace on Sunday, while Wolves remain 12th.
“We had very good chances and we are lost for words,” Lascelles told Match of the Day. “We got a point but it should have been three points.
“A lot of positives but we need to stop talking and put the points on the board.”
Newcastle fail to hold on to victory
Newcastle boss Bruce dished out a personal vote of confidence during the week when he told supporters he was “convinced” the club would avoid the drop this season.
His side were 10 points clear of the relegation zone three weeks ago but that will be cut to just one if a resurgent Fulham win at Crystal Palace on Sunday.
If it was not for a wonderful save by Dubravka to keep out Silva’s header in stoppage time, the Cottagers would head into that fixture with the chance to go above them.
Bruce will feel vindicated by his decision to drop Karl Darlow and start Dubravka, his number one before this season, having only played once in all competitions because of a heel injury.
The Slovakia international could arguably have done better to keep out the Neves header that brought Wolves level, but his instinctive save from Silva late on was vital.
Bruce was frustrated by the space Neves found himself in to score Wolves’ goal, admitting there was confusion over his side’s defensive positioning after Matt Ritchie replaced Emil Krafth.
“The instructions Matty didn’t get on to the team quick enough on how we were doing it,” said Bruce. “When you look at the goal, we should have stopped the cross and when the keeper looks at it, could he have done better?”
Newcastle enjoyed a number of opportunities with Almiron’s golden chance and Isaac Hayden heading straight at Rui Patricio, while Joelinton’s scuffed effort was cleared off the line late on.
Allan Saint-Maximin even had the ball in the net after teeing up Joe Willock before tucking in the rebound after the on-loan Arsenal midfielder’s shot was saved, but he had strayed into an offside position.
The breakthrough did come thanks to Lascelles’ first league goal since also he also scored against Wolves in October 2019.
But Newcastle will no doubt view this as two points dropped, especially after Brighton’s 1-0 defeat at West Brom earlier.
They visit both of those sides in their next three matches in potentially crucial encounters.
Traore and Neto provide Wolves’ threat
Wolves had won three of their past four heading into this one after a run of eight Premier League games without a win, but were lacking their recent clinical edge in the north east.
Their main threats came through the direct running of Adama Traore and Neto.
Traore only has one goal and one assist to his name in all competitions this season, but when he came to life at St James’ Park, so did the visitors.
He struck the woodwork from a back-post header with his side’s first meaningful attempt after half an hour, before Neto steered wide after a burst down the left from the Spaniard.
Both Isaac Hayden and Ciaran Clark were booked for bringing down Traore when in full flight and Neto fired off target from another well-weighted Traore cross.
Wolves’ return to form seems to have come since the arrival of forward Willian Jose, who has started the past six games since joining on loan from Real Sociedad.
But the Brazilian, who is yet to open his goalscoring account, struggled to make an impact and instead it fell to Neves to get on the end of Neto’s cross to beat Dubravka.
“I’m not looking too much at the result. I’m looking more at the performance,” boss Nuno Espirito Santo told Match of the Day.
“I think we had good spells of possession and found the right spaces. We were in the game in a good way. I’m disappointed with the way we conceded but the reaction was good. We finished the game well.
“It’s not difficult to beat our best run of this season. Our expectations are high. We expect good things from the players.”
Nuno reaches managerial milestone – the stats
- Newcastle and Wolves have both scored in all 12 Premier League meetings between the sides, the most played fixture in the competition with neither side keeping a clean sheet.
- Of Premier League fixtures to be played at least 10 times, Newcastle v Wolves has seen the highest percentage of games finish in a draw (75% – 9/12).
- Each of the last five league meetings between the sides has finished 1-1.
- No team has scored a higher share of their Premier League goals in the second half this season than Newcastle (67% – 18/27).
- Wolves named the same starting XI in three consecutive league games for the first time since January 2020.
- Jamaal Lascelles netted his first Premier League goal in 29 games, since scoring against Wolves back in October 2019 at St. James’ Park.
- Joao Moutinho became the third outfielder to reach 100 Premier League appearances for Wolves (also Conor Coady and Matt Jarvis).
- Nuno Espirito Santo took charge of his 102nd Premier League game at Wolves, overtaking Mick McCarthy (101) as the most matches in charge of the club in the competition.
- Pedro Neto has been directly involved in 10 Premier League goals this season (five goals, five assists), four more than any other Wolves player.
Wolves head to Manchester City on Tuesday (20:00 GMT) and then Aston Villa on Saturday (17:30), while Newcastle visit West Brom a week on Sunday (12:00).
- 17KrafthSubstituted forRitchieat 72′minutes
- 2ClarkBooked at 43mins
- 14HaydenBooked at 19mins
- 24AlmirónSubstituted forFraserat 45′minutes
- 10Saint-MaximinSubstituted forMurphyat 63′minutes
- 36S Longstaff
- 11Rui Patrício
- 22Nélson SemedoSubstituted forHoeverat 85′minutes
- 28João Moutinho
- 19Castro OttoSubstituted forAït-Nouriat 90+4′minutes
- 12Da SilvaSubstituted forFábio Silvaat 82′minutes
- 17Fábio Silva
Match ends, Newcastle United 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.
Second Half ends, Newcastle United 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Rayan Aït-Nouri replaces Jonny.
Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Jacob Murphy (Newcastle United).
Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Martin Dubravka.
Attempt saved. Fábio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Pedro Neto with a cross.
Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.
Attempt missed. Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Attempt blocked. Jacob Murphy (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Fábio Silva.
Attempt blocked. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Fraser.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ki-Jana Hoever replaces Nélson Semedo because of an injury.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Fábio Silva replaces Willian José.
Attempt missed. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Romain Saïss.
Attempt blocked. Joelinton (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jacob Murphy.
Foul by Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers).