The cross looked mishit. There was a tangle between Martin Dubravka, the Newcastle goalkeeper, just about on his own goal-line, and behind him, Willy Boly. It was the fifth minute of four minutes of injury-time and when the defender headed the ball into the Wolves goal in front of the South Bank at Molieux, the ground exploded.
Nuno Santo Espirito and his backroom staff raced from their dugout, Rafa Benitez raged, Dubravka made what looked a forlorn appeal, claiming Boly had climbed on him and right at the death, Newcastle had lost two points in their battle to stay in the Premier League and Wolves were one point short of the magic 40, in February.
The cruelty, the drama, the joy of football were all there, in a passage of play that had reached the 94th minute with the Newcastle substitute, their record signing Miguel Almiron, looking like he was possibly fouled next to his own corner flag.
The game went on. Referee Graham Scott checked his watch and there was no whistle, the Wolves substitute Adama Traore had already gone down claiming penalty, before he straightened himself and crossed from the right. It looked like it might be going out, but it dropped and Wolves had their equaliser.
It takes much to fluster Benitez, but he was still red faced as he marched down the tunnel, after a brief handshake with his celebrating, opposite number, Santo.
It had been the 94th minute of 95 when Wolves had snatched a last gasp winner at St James’ Park back in December. This time it was the 95th of 94. The cut was still as deep.
‘That’s why you’re going down,’ that same South Bank sang, once the celebrating had stopped.
Some Newcastle players sank to the turf. Dubravka, who has been an outstanding signing, erred in the defeat at Spurs. He again looked crestfallen as he left the field.
Territorally at least, Wolves dominated the first half, but when they did break through they found Dubravka in goof form. Their first shot on target did not arrive until the 35th minute, Raul Jimenez taking a long, diagonal ball from Ruben Neves, going past
DeAndre Yedlin and his angled drive took a slight deflection before being parried by the Czech goalkeeper.
Dubravka would do well in the 42nd minute, reacting sharply to a low effort from the full back Jonny, through a crowd of players.
Yet for all that the best opportunity of the half came as it closed, and it was for the visitors, Ayoze Perez slipping Salomon Rondon through, the on-loan West Bromwich Albion striker took a touch and stick a left footed shot from around 12 yards that Conor Coady, sliding in, did just enough to get a touch on to deflect it behind for a corner.
Rondon hd been denied by Rui Patricio in the sixth minute with a relatively easy save and then the Portuguese goalkeeper took a header to his right from the same player, from an Isaac Hayden right wing cross.
Hayden’s real impact on the game would come ten minutes into the second half. The former Arsenal man took a pass from Fabian Schar after Newcastle had worked the ball across the field and then cracked a right footed shot past Patricio at his near post, that the Wolves keeper appeared to lose in the flight, diving to his right and raising a despariing left hand as the ball crashed past him.
There was delight for Hayden, who expressed his desire to leave the club last summer for personal reasons. Injuries opened a door to his return. With four minutes remaining he was substituted with what looked like cramp.
Wolves would muster up a late head of steam. Immediately after the goal Dubravka did well to deny Jota and Leander Dendoncker and then Longstaff appeared to clear the ball from the head of the poised Matt Doherty, on the hour mark, with the defender at the far post looking set to equalise.
Twice more Santos’ side would go close, when Doherty blasted the ball off the back his own player, from a good position, 12 yards from goal, and then. with eight minute remaining, when Jimenez headed wide from six yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Newcastle looked reassured. Victory was in their grasp, and then Traore, a target of theirs in the summer, hoisted over a cross.
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