Steve Bruce was left to reflect upon what might have been as Newcastle saw a priceless Premier League victory snatched from their grasp by Wolves.
On a night when the relegation-haunted Magpies lost star men Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin to potentially signifiant injuries, Ruben Neves’ 73rd-minute header cancelled out Jamaal Lascelles’ opener before both sides saw glorious chances go begging in the closing stages of a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park.
Head coach Bruce said: “I was very, very pleased with us. Certainly the loss of Almiron affected us a little bit, but the first half in particular I was very, very pleased with how we played.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t see it through and disappointed with the number of chances, unfortunately, we’ve missed.
“At this level, we always know that you’re not going to get bundles of them, so it’s important that you take them when they come your way, so that was a disappointment and a frustration.”
Having lost the impressive Almiron to injury at the break, Newcastle forced their way in front within seven minutes of the restart when skipper Lascelles, whose last league goal came against the same opposition in October 2019, headed home substitute Ryan Fraser’s cross.
However, they had seen Saint-Maximin also hobble down the tunnel by the time Neves twisted in the air to head Pedro Neto’s cross past Martin Dubravka, who was starting his first league game of the campaign.
Joelinton was unfortunate to see a late goal-bound shot deflected over the crossbar by the unwitting Romain Saiss – Bruce felt his striker should have done better – but substitute Fabio Silva was denied by Dubravka deep into stoppage time in a thrilling conclusion.
Asked about the goal the Slovakia international conceded, Bruce said: “I think he’ll be disappointed with the goal. First of all, we should stop the cross – that’s the basic for a full-back.
“It was a great header from Neves, but I’m sure Martin being the type of lad he is and getting a big hand to it like he did, I’m sure he’ll be disappointed that he didn’t keep it out.
“But he pulled off a wonderful save five minutes later.”
Will never get bored of seeing this.— Wolves (@Wolves) February 27, 2021
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, whose side has now gone five league games unbeaten, said: “Newcastle started very well, pressing and controlling the game. After that, we were able to control and hold the first impact and have good spells of possession of the ball.
“After that, I honestly believe that we got control of the game and managed the game. I’m disappointed with the way we conceded, but the reaction was good and we finished the game really strongly.
“We could have won it with the chance that we had, but near the end, Newcastle had a chance in the final moments also, so…
“It was a thrilling game of football. Too bad St James’ Park was not full to enjoy it.”
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