Saturday 1 October 2011 3pm
Newcastle United 2 (Ba 17, Gutierrez 38)
“We go into the international break unbeaten. I genuinely think that our points total suggests we’re kind of in no man’s land. We’re kind of like, What? How good are we going to be?”. Alan Pardew
Newcastle travelled down to Molineux looking to end their hoodoo of not winning, in the top flight here, since 1958. It was by no means a classic but that doesn’t matter as we left with a fortuitous 3 points in the bag.
The game kicked off in glorious sunshine which was a pleasant change for this late in the year. Tim Krul will once again be remembered for producing a string of outstanding saves and is rightly challenging to be the Netherlands number one. He produced two magnificent saves within the first 15 minutes; firstly going full length to stop O’Hara’s free-kick from sneaking in and then blocking Doyle’s lob with his face.
After weathering the initial storm,Newcastlegrew in confidence and went ahead through Demba Ba. A corner by Cabaye was played to the near post and Ba was on hand to flick the ball in at the near post. It was certainly suspect goalkeeping but that was of no matter to the jubilant fans.
Wolves attacked straight from kick off and again it was Krul who made a fantastic intervention to block Doyle before Ryan Taylor threw himself in the way of the follow up. Say what you like about the quality of our players and the fact that we have players out of position but the workrate and determination to fight for each other is there for all to see.
Karl Henry who last season was on a mission to seriously damage the Newcastle players was again throwing himself recklessly into challenges. It was from one of these challenges that the ball broke for Jonas to embark on a weaving run before beating Hennessey with a controlled finish.
Decisions will go against you and for you over the course of the season and it could be argued that the decisions we were denied at the dark place were evened up today. Steven Taylor fouled O’Hara in the box, but it was deemed by referee Mark Halsey to have taken place outside on the corner of the box.
Wolves improved after half time butNewcastlelooked happy to soak up the pressure and hit them on the counter. Indeed it was from one of these breaks that Ba really should have sealed the game but curled his effort inches wide when he should have scored.
Tim Krul once again proved his worth with another fine double save from Fletcher and then from Hammill. Alas, this being Newcastle we were not able to hold firm and with 3 minutes to go, a cross from Hammill found Fletcher who made no mistake with his header.
Wolves piled forward looking for an equaliser and thought that they had found it in added time as another cross was delivered and Doyle poked the ball home. Despair and dejection were on the faces of the fans and players alike until they saw the linesman’s flag indicating the ball had gone out of play.
At the time it was impossible to say and looking at the replays on TV at home, we may have got lucky with that decision as well.
Time Krul and co. showed why they have conceded the fewest goals of the 92 clubs this season with some dogged determination and some fine saves.
Still unbeaten in all competitions this season and what could be perceived as a favourable cup tie to come at Blackburn, the immediate future looks bright and in the case of Tim Krul, the future is Oranje.
Wolves: Wayne Hennessey, Richard Stearman, Christophe Berra, Roger Johnson, Stephen Ward, Matt Jarvis, Karl Henry (Adam Hammill 58), Jamie O’Hara, Stephen Hunt (Adlene Guedioura 58), Steven Fletcher, Kevin Doyle.
Subs not used: Dorus De Vries, Matt Doherty, Ronald Zubar, Dave Edwards, Sam Vokes.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan (Sylvain Marveaux 90), Yohan Cabaye (Danny Guthrie 89), Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best, Demba Ba (Peter Lovenkrands 71).
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Davide Santon, Sammy Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa
Referee: Mark Halsey
Attendance: 26,561 (1,200 away fans)