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Allan Saint-Maximin’s late equalizer sees Newcastle save a point at Monlineux

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Proof here, should anyone still need it, why both sides have prioritized signing a striker this summer.

Newcastle have their club record with Alexander Isak, only he had to regret the delays of a work permit that kept him out of this. Wolves still hunt one of their own.

Rely on the easy chances to stray and two special finishes – the first from Ruben Neves and the second a 90-minute volley from Allan Saint-Maximin – to prevent this ending into a stalemate.

How fine are the margins. With eight minutes to go, the Wolves players were celebrating for a raucous South Bank after Raul Jimenez made it 2-0 – or at least he thought he did. VAR begged to make the difference and the goal was disallowed.

Allan Saint-Maximin celebrates scoring a last minute equalizer against Wolves on Sunday

The 90th minute strike keeps Newcastle unbeaten start to the season for Eddie Howe's side

The 90th minute strike keeps Newcastle unbeaten start to the season for Eddie Howe’s side

Newcastle, the second best for many of these, drew strength from the lifeline they were given – a correct one, by the way – and as the board moved up an extra eight minutes, Saint-Maximin showed the looking Isak why he played in this game. Newcastle frontline will turn out to be so much fun.

Hwang Hee-Chan, sent off as a late substitute, made a terrible loop from inside the area high and not very far. Everyone outside Saint-Maximin seemed to freeze for a moment when the ball landed on his right foot and popped. 1-1. Wolves’ scoreless start continues.

Wolves’ winless streak – now on 11 games – is just one shy of their 12-without-a-win they managed in March 2013 when they were in the Championship.

And for all their dominance, Wolves should have lost this in stoppage time. They can deny Elliot Anderson a late smash-and-grab in minute 97 thanks to the width of the bar.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Ruben Neves put Bruno Lage's team ahead in the first half

Wolverhampton Wanderers Ruben Neves put Bruno Lage’s team ahead in the first half

Both managers shook their packs after midweek victories in the Carabao Cup. Eddie Howe made eight changes to the team that won at Tranmere, while Bruno Lage made five with Wolves’ win over Preston.

However, one of those eight for Howe was not a record £60 million Isak signing, as his work permit confirmation did not arrive on time. He had to watch it from the plush director’s box.

So without Callum Wilson, who was sidelined with a hamstring problem, it was Chris Wood who had to take the lead, flanked by Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron.

Walking down Waterloo Road on the way to Molineux, the talk among the home fans was all about this dismal, scoreless run and the obvious lack of goals.

And so they had to start quickly – and they did. Nine minutes into Neves produced a special – there is no other word for it – cross-field pass and it was plucked from the air by Goncalo Guedes.

Newcastle's new £60million signing Alexander Isak had to watch the match from the stands

Newcastle’s new £60million signing Alexander Isak had to watch the match from the stands

His batted throw was intercepted by Pedro Neto, who hopped in front of Nick Pope, but the shot landed on the roof of the net, much to the relief of the Newcastle goalkeeper.

Then came the proof why Newcastle are missing Wilson, and why they splashed the money on Isak.

Some penalty box flipper eventually landed at the feet of Joe Willock, who shot wide from no more than five yards away. Cue disbelief from the Newcastle bank.

Then Nathan Collins made a mistake on the edge of his own territory, but Sean Longstaff couldn’t penalize it. The truth is that Newcastle’s forward line is never convinced here. It’s no surprise Howe is crossing his fingers. Wilson isn’t out for long.

For Wolves, who were also anemic on offense in their first three games, they drove out a mini-storm to retake control of it and after Matheus Nunes signed a record he was guilty moments earlier of posting a free header, they returned to a tried-and-tested method of breaking the deadlock in these parts.

Wolves thought they had doubled their lead in the half of the season, but VAR ruled out the goal

Wolves thought they had doubled their lead in the half of the season, but VAR ruled out the goal

Raul Jimenez's goal was hit after a foul in the run-up to Newcastle's Ryan Fraser

Raul Jimenez’s goal was hit after a foul in the run-up to Newcastle’s Ryan Fraser

The clock now stood at 302 minutes, ticking further since Daniel Podence’s goal in Leeds. It always took something special to end the bare run.

Neto switched from right to left to find Guedes, he put it back on a loitering Neves on the edge of the box and as he has so many times, took one touch to place himself before burying it in the bottom corner. An absolute rocket.

It is noteworthy, however, that Neves’ outside-the-box threat did not appear to be registered in Newcastle’s scouting report. Make this his 16th outside the range of his 25 goals for Wolves.


WOLVES (4-3-3): Sa (GK) 7; Semedo 6, Collins 6, Kilman 7, Jonny 5.5; Moutinho 7 (Dendoncker 90+7), Nunes 7, Neves 8.5; Guedes 7 (Podence 83), Jimenez 6.5, Neto 7 (Hee-chan 84)

SUBS NOT USED: Sarkic (GK), Ait-Nouri, Mosquera, Toti, Dendoncker, Traore, Campbell

TARGETS: Neves (38)

BOOKED: Semedo, Neto

MANAGER: Bruno Lage 6

NEW CASTLE (4-3-3): Pope (GK) 7; Trippier 5, Botman 6.5, Schar 6, Burn 4.5 (Targett 65); Longstaff 5, Willock 6 (Murphy 84), Joelinton 6.5; Almiron 6 (Anderson 84), Wood 6 (Fraser 65, 6.5), Saint-Maximin 7

NOT USED SUBS: Darlow (GK), Dummett, Lascelles, Ritchie, Manquillo

BOOKED: Scharo

MANAGER: Eddie Howe 6.5

REFEREE: Peter Bankes 7

Some fans were still filtering in their seats with a half-time coffee in hand when Fabian Schar’s crack at Pedro Neto was checked for a possible red card. It was late, and high, but it stayed yellow and that looked good.

From there, Wolves went through the gears and were confident they had taken the win when Pedro Neto robbed substitute Ryan Fraser at half time to provoke a three-on-one counterattack. Neto put it perfectly in Raul Jimenez’s path to tap in, only for the VAR to take it back for a foul on Fraser. Wolves’ players were apoplectic at the decision. Frankly, there was little argument for letting it exist.

But never count Newcastle out. Only Liverpool (53), Manchester City (50) and Tottenham (48) have claimed more Premier League points than Newcastle (43). Things happen and Saint-Maximin plays a big part of that, as he proved with the volleyed equaliser.

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