Newcastle revived their bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four with a battling victory over Wolves at St James’ Park.
Substitute Miguel Almiron scored the winner with 12 minutes left as the Magpies ended a run of three straight defeats in all competitions to leapfrog Liverpool into fifth on goal difference and move within four points of fourth-placed Tottenham, who have played two games more.
Hwang Hee-chan, another substitute, had levelled for Wolves seconds after coming on to cancel out Alexander Isak’s towering first-half header.
Wolves were second best for large periods but will feel aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty, and that Nick Pope was not sent off, when the Newcastle goalkeeper appeared to take down Raul Jimenez six minutes before Isak’s opener, with referee Andy Madley waving away their appeals.
Pope then went on to make a number of fine saves to deny Julen Lopetegui’s side, who stay 13th and miss the chance to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
Newcastle end losing run
Speaking before the game, Eddie Howe said he hoped for a “spark or individual moment” to get his Newcastle team’s flagging season back on track and it arrived courtesy of top scorer Almiron, whose fine individual season continued with an 11th goal of the season.
It is Newcastle’s first win in six games in all competitions and their first home win in the Premier League since a 1-0 victory over Fulham in mid-January.
“The first half performance in general was very good,” Howe said, after the game. “Alexander Isak scored a massive goal for us. When it’s a one-goal lead, it’s very delicate. It should have been more at half-time.
“Wolves came back into the game, but the character shown by the group to go again and get the winning goal is a great feeling for us.”
After a quiet start, their opener arrived when Kieran Trippier’s dangerous free kick was met by Isak, who edged clear of his marker and buried a powerful header into the corner.
That sparked Newcastle into life and they came close to a second goal when Bruno Guimaraes hit the bar with a header from close range after Dan Burn had helped Trippier’s corner back into the six-yard box.
Trippier was guilty of a defensive error to allow Wolves to level in the second half when he slipped and collided with Pope as he attempted a clearance, the ball falling at the feet of Hwang, who tapped into an open net seconds after coming on to the pitch.
After Almiron restored Newcastle’s lead, Sven Botman came close to a third in stoppage time when he blazed wide from six yards after some wonderful interplay between the Paraguayan and Guimaraes.