Writer: New York City Wolf
Date:Monday August 30 2010
Wolves and Newcastle took football back to the golden years yesterday with a blood and guts contest fought to the bitter end.
Captain Karl Henry signaled his intent with a thunderous tackle on Joey Barton less than a minute into the game, which set the tone for the afternoon.
Wolves have been accused of setting out to wind up the shortest fuse in football, yet despite finding himself on the end of repeated crunching tackles, some of them legit, some of them not shall we say, Barton somehow managed to keep his temper and only found himself in the book with his first significant foul of the game late on.
The battle between Henry and Barton took central stage yet epitomized the fashion of this game from start to finish as both sides proved they were out for the win and would take no prisoners either way.
Newcastle created most of the best chances and whilst there is one argument they did enough to win, the proof is always in the pudding, Sylvan Ebanks Blake put us ahead with an exceptional finish, and if the referee had given the blatant penalty early into the second half following a clear foul on Matt Jarvis in the box, it could have been 2-0 and Good Night Vienna.
To the despair and disbelief of Wolves fans in particular he spun a stone wall decision upside down and allowed Newcastle a reprieve.
Just after the hour mark, man of the moment Andy Carroll scored with a trademark header to level the scores and earn his side the point they ultimately deserved.
Newcastle were out of the gates well as we expected clearly brimming with confidence from last week's trouncing of neighbours Aston Villa, and Marcus Hahnemann had a few shaky moments in the first half, particularly when he was out of position and rounded by Routledge who drew his cross behind Barton.
Hahnemann reddemed himself in the second half with some important saves, although it was a sensational piece of defending from Stephen Ward, which went practically unnoticed, came to the rescue by getting a toe on an Ameobi header that was about to be converted at the far post by the lurking Nolan, another from the Newcastle midfield who was an industrious threat throughout.
Wolves looked shakier at the back at times than they have done this season and were cut open on several occasions throughout the game, but there always proved a man on hand.
Make no mistake, Wolves were more than value for their money. Henry was immense in midfield, Craddock and Berra still prove a formidable combination together at the back, Kevin Foley, who ultimately played in three different positions by the time this game had ended, must remain the greatest unsung talent. Jarvis continues to prove a Premiership menace with his skill, agility and pace, Ward more than holds his own week in week out, Van Damme proved his presence and crossed for our goal, whilst Doyle caused mischief and well, Blakey staked another claim that he will not be left out of the starting line up anytime soon. His ability to bring down a looping forty yard cross was stunning in itself, his executed finish was the finish some strikers can only ever dream of.
Zubar and Guediora came on and added fresh impetus although their most notable moments were each picking up bookings for tremendously hacking the lovable character that is Joey Barton.
Record signing Stephen Fletcher replaced Doyle on 72 minutes but in all fairness both look somewhat short of full fitness and whilst giving Newcastle plenty to deal with he was unable to make an impact.
A blood and thunder contest that if all truth be told, it would have been cruel to see either side lose.
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Date:Monday August 30 2010
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