Matt Doherty’s last-gasp winner for Wolves delivers 10-man Newcastle a painful blow

Newcastle 1-2 Wolves: After DeAndre Yedlin’s red card it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Magpies and they finally caved in the 95th minute

Martin Hardy
St James’ Park
Sunday 09 December 2018 18:49
Wolves celebrate their late winning goal
Wolves celebrate their late winning goal

The clock ticked towards the end of the fourth of five minutes of injury-time, and Diogo Jota just kept running, jinking, beating players, and running.

Ten-man Newcastle had been on the attack. In the blink of an eye, they were back-peddling, towards the Gallowgate End of the old ground. There was genuine panic and then Jota struck a fine shot that Martin Dubravka, in the Newcastle goal, did superbly to stop, diving to his left, but it was a parry, not a save, and Matt Doherty, the Wolves wing-back, had found the energy to assist the attack.

An open goal was before him, and he steadied himself to head the ball into the Newcastle goal. The Wolves bench, which was packed to standing room only, exploded.

High up in the gods, on level seven of the Leazes End, Wolves’ supporters did the same. Newcastle’s players fell to their knees. Rafa Benitez raged.

Happy 126th birthday, Newcastle United.

Last year, on the exact same day, Ayoze Perez put into his own goal to hand Leicester a 3-2 victory. It is a club that flirts with crisis and calamity, and usually delivers.

Perez had lost possession this time, in the 94th minute, as the home side broke, and filled their support with the imagination of a dramatic victory. He had scored in 23rd minute with a fine header, to cancel out the opener, from the impressive Jota.

In celebration Perez stuck his fingers in his ears once more to block out the criticism that falls his way from Newcastle supporters. When he was robbed of possession, deep into injury-time, there was a paper handkerchief in his hand, to dab away the blood from his nose that had been smashed by the elbow of Willy Boly.

Mike Dean had waved play on then and Wolves had almost scored.

In the 57th minute Dean had his biggest influence, sending off DeAndre Yedlin for denying the visitors an obvious goalscoring opportunity. It was a tight call but Dean made it quickly and with confidence.

DeAndre Yedlin is sent of by referee Mike Dean

Yedlin had passed the ball wide to the substitute Javier Manquillo, took a return pass and then miscontrolled the ball, and in that moment Jota was through and an almost instinctive movement followed where the American grabbed at the shirt of the Wolves player.

Jota went down and Dean went red. Rafa Benitez raged – as he had done in the 17th minutes when Wolves went ahead – with Jamaal Lascelles possibly in a position to cover. It did not matter to Dean.

Yedlin was not consoled as he walked past the Newcastle bench.

The opening Wolves goal had brought similar displeasure.

It was a double take moment, as Helder Costa crossed from the right and the ball somehow struck the chest of Jota, unmarked around six yards from the Newcastle goal, in an onside position.

The Wolves forward had split the two defenders either side of him, Lascelles to his left and Yedlin to his right. The move was timed to perfection, he took control of the ball and then blasted a shot past Dubravka, with the ball striking the goalkeeper in the chest on its way in.

Matt Doherty grabs the late winner for Wolves

It could easily have been two three minutes later, Ruben Neves crossing from the left, with Costa ready and poised around eight yards from goal, but a fine challenge from Ciaran Clark, part of a back three for the home side, denied the goalscoring opportunity.

It would prove a key challenge. Within two minutes Newcastle were level.

Since they were promoted to the Premier League last summer, Perez has now been involved in 16 of their goals, six more than any other player.

The Spanish forward won the 22nd minute free-kick from which Rondon stepped up and crashed a 25-yard, right footed, free-kick off the Wolves crossbar. The move was not dead. The ball was cleared only as far as Rondon, now on the right side of the Newcastle half and he bent over a fine cross that Perez met with his head to loop the ball high into the Wolves goal.

Once again, as he had done when scoring a crucial goal against Watford at the same, Gallowgate End, of the stadium in November, he stood with his fingers in his ears in celebration.

Twelve minutes into the second half, the game’s complexion would change dramatically with the sending off.

Newcastle were roused, Wolves were dangerous on the break. Perez shot over the bar, the substitute Raul Jimenez crashed a shot off the crossbar, and with nine minutes remaining, Doherty, on the overlap, was denied a winner when his left foot shot was saved superbly by Dubravka to his left.

Doherty's time would still come, right at the death.

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