Dubravka decision backfires as Newcastle's draw with Wolves compounded by more injuries in attack

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Dubravka Decision Backfires As Newcastle's Draw With Wolves Compounded By More Injuries In Attack
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By PA Sport Staff

Newcastle 1 Wolves 1 

Steve Bruce saw his decision to recall Martin Dubravka backfire as the Newcastle goalkeeper's error denied his side a vital win in their bid to pull away from the Premier League relegation zone.

Dubravka allowed Ruben Neves' 72nd-minute header to squirm past him as Wolves fought back to earn a point in what was a fifth consecutive 1-1 draw between the sides.

Slovakian international Dubravka looked rusty in his first Premier League start since July coming in for Karl Darlow. His weak attempt to keep out Neves' first headed goal for the Molineux club left Newcastle boss Bruce facing questions over the selection, although the 32-year-old's fine stoppage-time save from substitute Fabio Silva went a long way to atoning for his earlier mistake.

The hosts failed to take a succession of chances until a thumping second-half header from skipper Jamaal Lascelles put them in front. Neves ensured they had to settle for a draw and a victory for Fulham at Crystal Palace on Sunday would leave Newcastle just a point above the drop zone.

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Their share of the spoils came at a cost as they lost influential forward duo Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron to injury. With top scorer Callum Wilson sidelined for another month, they are further potential absences Bruce can ill-afford.

Newcastle made most of the running before the break, and came close to breaking the deadlock when Almiron sprang an unconvincing Wolves offside trap from Jonjo Shelvey's pass, only to see his shot hit the outside of the post after sliding the ball past Rui Patricio from a diminishing angle.

They also had the ball in the net, but Saint-Maximin's close-range follow-up after the busy Patricio had saved from Joe Willock was correctly ruled offside.

The hosts were thankful for the intervention of the frame of the goal as Wolves belatedly showed signs of life towards the end of the first half when Dubravka was forced to unconvincingly shovel Adama Traore's near-post header to safety with the help of a post.

Traore then left Emil Krafth trailing to provide the perfect cut-back for Pedro Neto to send a low shot tamely wide from a dozen yards when the unmarked midfielder ought to have done much better.

That improvement continued into the second period, but their habit of conceding first in games has become almost an addiction, and they fell behind for the 17th time this season.

After good work on the left by Saint-Maximin, Almiron's replacement Ryan Fraser sent in an inviting centre from the right which Lascelles headed past Patricio at the keeper's near post for the defender's first Premier League goal for 16 months, his previous one coming against these same opponents.

Neves levelled with a 72nd-minute header low to Dubravka's right which should have been saved, and as chances became more scarce, Joelinton should have won it in the final 10 minutes, only for the Brazilian's shot to be cleared off the line by Romain Saiss.

NEWCASTLE (4-3-1-2): Dubravka 4; Krafth 6 (Ritchie 71, 6), Lascelles 8, Clark 7, Lewis 6: Willock 6, Hayden 7, Shelvey 7; Almiron 7 (Fraser 46, 7); Joelinton 5, Saint-Maximin 7 (Murphy 63, 5).

WOLVES (3-4-2-1): Patricio 7; Dendoncker 6, Coady 7, Saiss 7; Semedo 6 (Hoever 85, 5), Neves 8, Moutinho 7, Castro 6 (Ait-Nouri 90, 5); Neto 7, Traore 7; Jose 5 (Silva 83, 5).

Referee: Mike Dean

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