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Dominant Wolves fail to do enough to find a winner against Newcastle

Wolves 1 Newcastle 1.

Wolves failed to do enough to break down a spirited Newcastle side as the home side’s winless run stretched to four games at rainswept Molineux.

Miguel Almiron gave Steve Bruce’s side a seventh-minute lead to punish sloppy defending.

Leander Dendoncker’s fourth goal of the season in all competitions equalised on 14, but despite a dominant last hour in which they controlled the game, Wolves didn’t do enough against limited opposition.

Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and Matty Longstaff made goalline stops to deny Raul Jimenez and Matt Doherty a winner.

But the overall feeling from the home support will be one of frustration that they couldn’t turn their overwhelming supremacy into goals.

Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo made four changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Manchester United in the FA Cup third round.

Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Jonny and Raul Jimenez returned in place of John Ruddy, Max Kilman, Ruben Vinagre and Benny Ashley-Seal, who all dropped to the bench, where there was a welcome return for Morgan Gibbs-White after missing the last 17 games with a back injury.

Newcastle made the better start and in Almiron, had a man on a mission in the early stages.

First the Paraguayan midfielder surged forward unchallenged from inside his own half before finally letting fly from 25 yards, his curling effort bouncing narrowly wide with Patricio at full stretch.

Wolves failed to heed the warning, and in a sloppy start, Almiron fired the Magpies ahead. The 25-year-old found the top corner from just outside the six-yard box after left wing back Jetro Willems cut inside Dendoncker to play the ball around Ruben Neves to Dwight Gayle, whose touch – around Neves – teed up Almiron.

The goal came from poor play from Wolves after Matt Doherty gave the ball away to Sean Longstaff, who quickly recycled it to Gayle to set Willems on his way.

At the other end, there was a VAR check for contact by Ciaran Clark on Pedro Neto, who was sent sprawling in the box, but it was no surprise to see the video assistant rule no penalty as the former Aston Villa defender got his toe to the ball to clear behind.

Newcastle were forced into their first change in the 13th minute when Paul Dummett had to go off to be replaced by Florian Lejeune.

Wolves levelled within 60 seconds when Dendoncker steered home on the volley after getting ahead of Federico Fernandez after Romain Saiss missed his header from Joao Moutinho’s corner.

That seemed to signal an improvement from Wolves as the goal seemed to settle them back into their stride.

It was Wolves who were looking to seize the initiative but they had to be wary of Newacastle hitting them on the break.

The Magpies threatened from distance through midfielder Sean Longstaff, whose rising effort from 25 yards flew comfortably over the bar.

Newcastle had to make a second change in the 28th minute when Gayle was forced off after a lengthy delay to be replaced by Christia Atsu.

Wolves went desperately close to taking the lead in the 34th minute. Adama Traore cut in from the right onto his left foot and crossed to Jimenez, whose point-blank header was blocked by the left shin of Dubravka on the line.

Neves had a shooting chance a minute before the five minutes of time added on at the end of the first half but could only fire well over the bar after Moutinho worked a free kick square.

Wolves tried in vain to claim a penalty after Jimenez’s header appeared to catch Lejeune’s shoulder just inside the box, before a flick-up-and-volleyed effort from Neves flew comfortably wide.

Nuno’s side started the second half on the front foot and were two or three inches from taking the lead, again after great work from Traore.

The Spanish flier flew around Willem and picked out Doherty, whose shot was hacked away from the line by Matty Longstaff.

There were bookings for Almiron and Atsu for challenges on Conor Coady and Neto as Wolves controlled the second half.

But despite overwhelming possession, they lacked the ability to break down stubborn opposition as the half wore on.

The closest they came was from a inviting chip forward by Dendoncker, which sat up for Neto to head goalwards only to be clawed away by Dubravka, the rebound hitting the Portuguese forward on the head.

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady (c), Saiss; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez, Neto (Vinagre 85).

Subs not used: Ruddy, Bennett, Gibbs-White, Kilman, Ashley-Seal, Buur.

Newcastle (3-4-3): Dubravka; Clark, Fernandez, Dummett (Lejeune 13); Hayden, S Longstaff, M Longstaff, Willems; Almiron, Joelinto (Carroll 79), Gayle (Atsu 28).

Subs: Darlow, Ritchie, Watts, Allan.

Booked: Almiron, Atsu, M Longstaff.

Referee: Peter Bankes.

Attendance: 31,570.