Wolves defender Willy Boly scored a dramatic late equaliser as Newcastle were denied a precious victory in their battle against relegation from the Premier League.
Rafael Benitez’s visitors had appeared on course to move three points clear of the relegation zone courtesy of Isaac Hayden’s earlier strike at Molineux.
But as the game drifted beyond the minimum four minutes allocated for added time, Boly climbed above Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to head in Adama Traore’s lofted cross.
Newcastle’s players and manager furiously appealed for a foul, with the former Porto defender appearing to have both arms on Dubravka. However, referee Graham Scott waved away their protests.
Benitez’s side went in front when Hayden found the bottom-right corner after collecting a fine pass from Fabian Schar and wrong-footing home goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Wolves controlled proceedings in the first period and created several chances to score after the break, with Newcastle content to sit back and counter-attack.
When the hosts did break through, Matt Doherty and Raul Jimenez were guilty of close-range misses.
The result leaves Newcastle one point above the bottom three in 16th place while Wolves remain seventh.
Final act denies Newcastle
Wolves may have controlled the tempo but Newcastle’s defensive resilience appeared to be paying off.
With 10 men often deployed behind the ball, they restricted the hosts to just two shots on target in the first half, laying a platform for them to build on after the break.
As they grew in confidence, Matt Ritchie and Schar were afforded the space to launch attacks down the wings.
It was Schar’s purposeful run that created their goal, the Swiss defender feigning to shoot and drawing Boly out of position. That allowed Hayden to receive the ball unmarked and fire home.
There were also some neat touches on show by Newcastle’s record signing Miguel Almiron, who was introduced for the final 18 minutes.
Yet having resisted intense Wolves pressure in the closing stages, they were undone by the game’s final act.
With Dubravka caught under a high cross, Boly climbed above him – briefly placing both arms on the Slovakian – and bundled the ball over the line.
This is the second time this term that Wolves have scored late against Newcastle.
Matt Doherty’s 94th-minute goal gave Nuno Espirito Santo’s side all three points at St James’ Park in December.
But despite having 22 shots on goal, this was a misfiring performance in comparison to their last three Premier League outings, which delivered 10 goals and consecutive victories.
Leading scorer Raul Jimenez, with nine goals this term, was particularly at fault, hitting the target with just one of this six shots.
Diogo Jota and Doherty also spurned opportunities to score, the latter heading over from three yards out.
But Boly’s determination at the back post in the dying seconds ensured Wolves’ kept up their reputation for late goals.
No side has scored more goals after 90 minutes than Wolves this term, who moved level on five with Manchester United and Cardiff on that front.
Man of the match – Sean Longstaff (Newcastle)
‘We had to be strong enough’ – what they said
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo to BBC Sport: “It came late, but the performance deserved goals. We created situations but the final touch was not there. It is something we must improve and be more clinical. Credit to Newcastle they were so organised. Last minute shows the character of the team.
On whether Boly fouled on the keeper:“I didn’t see the images yet. I will answer this question in the press conference of course. I don’t judge the work of the referees because it is so hard. The referees are so well prepared and must decide in a second.
“We should have done better, but the effort in the last minute and the way they believed shows character. But we require a lot of improvement.”
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez to Sky Sports: “We had to be strong enough defending the cross.
“These kind of balls you can do a little bit better, punch the ball. That’s it. It was not very clear watching the replay. It is something we have to defend better. We know it is England and people will come to the keeper.
“I was not happy with some decisions from the referee, but overall he was fine.”
Wolves late show again – the stats
- Newcastle have picked up seven points from their last four Premier League games (W2 D1 L1), one more than they managed in their previous nine fixtures in the competition (W1 D3 L5).
- Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden netted only his second Premier League goal and his first in 31 appearances, since scoring against Southampton in October 2017.
- Only Cardiff, Everton and Southampton (all 12) have seen their Premier League games this season goalless at half-time more often than Newcastle (11).
- Fabian Schar has been directly involved in three goals in his last four Premier League games for Newcastle (2 goals, 1 assist), as many as he managed in his previous 32 appearances in Europe’s big five leagues.
- Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron became the eighth Paraguayan to make his debut in the Premier League and the first since West Ham’s Fabian Balbuena in August 2018.
Wolves travel to Bristol city in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday (13:00 GMT) before resuming Premier League duty at Bournemouth on Saturday, 23 February (15:00). Newcastle host Huddersfield in the Premier League on 23 February (15:00 GMT).