Wolves howled back twice to draw 2-2 with Newcastle United under Halloween weekend’s full moon but it could’ve been victory if it wasn’t for a refereeing howler at Molineux. Callum Wilson struck acrobatically to give the Magpies an early lead but Mario Lemina headed in his first Wolves goal to equalise. The Toon then went back ahead as Wilson converted from the spot after a highly controversial penalty was awarded. A soaking-wet Molineux Stadium grew increasingly frustrated as an array of refereeing decisions went against them but top scorer Hwang Hee-chan was able to change the mood back in the hosts’ favour. Both sides tried to find a winner late on but the points were shared.
It all began with a very end-to-end opening 10 minutes that saw both sides miss early opportunities. Wolves were the first to squander an opening as Newcastle failed to clear from a Pedro Neto corner and it fell to Rayan Ait-Nouri. The left wing-back had enough space to shoot but was off balance and shanked the ball well over the bar. Down the other end just 60 seconds later, Toon number seven Joelinton sent Sean Longstaff free down the right flank with a brilliant through ball. The midfielder controlled the pass well and got good power and drive on his strike but it went inches wide of the far post, much to the relief of Jose Sa in net.
Wolves were the next side to have a big chance and it came from a Magpies error. Played directly into the feet of Hwang on the edge of the area by Newcastle right-back Kieran Trippier, the ball was fed to Matheus Cunha but he could only shoot directly at goalkeeper Nick Pope. It was a weak effort and he really should’ve done better. Wanderers were made to rue their miss just two minutes later as Wilson gave the visitors the lead. Anthony Gordon was given too much space to cross and Sa failed to catch it as his own man, Boubacar Traore, clattered into him. Wilson saw his first attempt blocked heroically on the line by Toti Gomes but the striker controlled the rebound expertly before firing it into the net with a make-shift overhead kick.
Gary O’Neil’s side reacted superbly to going 1-0 down as they created a whole host of opportunities before the break and eventually equalised to lift the Molineux crowd. First off, it was Cunha as the Brazilian did brilliantly to create a chance by skipping past Trippier twice, but his resultant shot went just wide of the far woodwork. Neto then cut in from the right and struck with power but couldn’t beat Pope. Wanderers then found a way through, third time lucky, as Lemina headed Wolves back into the game, meeting an inch-perfect inswinging Neto corner. The midfielder sprinted from the edge of the area to evade the Newcastle defence and reaped the rewards to net for 1-1.
Newcastle were awarded a controversial penalty on the stroke of half time as Hwang Hee-chan wasn’t quick enough to clear the ball and kicked the ground just below Fabian Schar. The Video Assistant Referee checked for a long while as it did look rather soft. Replay after replay showed Hwang clip the ball away and hardly touch Schar, but VAR Jarred Gillett didn’t feel it was enough to overturn the on-field decision made by Anthony Taylor. Wilson was very nearly denied from the spot as Sa got a strong hand to it, but the ball trundled its way across the line to restore Newcastle’s lead.
Wolves came out firing in the second period and piled on the pressure, desperately trying to find an equaliser. An incredibly frustrating 25 minutes or so passed and it seemed it wasn’t going to be Wanderers’ night, but top scorer Hwang had other ideas. The South Korean, who had been unusually indecisive earlier in the game, returned to his clinical self at the vital moment as he took a Toti Gomes pass into his stride, cut in terrifically to beat Longstaff, and cleverly passed the ball beyond Pope at the near post. Molineux absolutely erupted as the ball rustled the Newcastle net.
The celebrations lasted merely a few minutes, however, as star winger Neto was stretchered off, causing great concern. The Portuguese was just about to take on a shot from range but as he pulled the trigger he felt a twinge in his hamstring and went down after a few limping strides. O’Neil was forced to take the number seven off, bringing Sasa Kalajdzic on in his place. A little while later, fourth official Thomas Bramall lifted his board to indicate eight added minutes but, although the tension certainly rose even higher at Molineux, the scoreline remained at 2-2.