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  • Wolverhampton 1-1 Newcastle United: Carroll great-header

    Wolverhampton Wanderers survived a Newcastle United onslaught in a bruising 1-1 Premier League draw at Molineux.
    Sylvan Ebanks-Blake put the hosts ahead late in the first half with a superb touch and finish but Newcastle, who were on the receiving end of a highly-physical approach from Wolves, levelled when Andy Carroll atoned for an earlier miss with a fourth goal in three Premier League matches.

    Kevin Nolan missed a late sitter as the Magpies went for a winner, but Wolves held on to stay unbeaten in their first three league games of the season.

    Direct was the word of the day as both sides relied largely on long balls, with Newcastle initially the more effective as they somehow failed to take a first-half lead.

    Wolves’ main tactic appeared to be the targeting of Joey Barton, with Karl Henry particularly fortunate not to be booked for a series of crude challenges on the midfielder, but referee Stuart Attwell offered little protection to the much-maligned former Manchester City bad-boy.

    Newcastle spurned a succession of chances, with Wayne Routledge’s ninth-minute ball inches behind Barton’s lunge, Kevin Nolan toe-poking straight at Marcus Hahnemann nine minutes later, and the same man putting a spinning volley yards over the bar after another good ball from Routledge.

    Least forgivable was the 42nd-minute miss from last week’s hat-trick hero Carroll, who was otherwise a handful but somehow blasted over from eight yards when put clean through by a superb piece of skill from Nolan, who turned on a sixpence and slid a wonderful pass to the England U21 striker.

    In the seconds that followed, Carroll was booked for aggressively demanding a corner - it was a clear miss and did not appear to take a touch off a Wolves player - while the home side went down the other end and scored.

    The energetic Jelle van Damme bombed down the right wing from full-back and launched a high cross to the far post which Ebanks-Blake - who earlier hit the woodwork from one of David Jones’s excellent corners - trapped with an excellent first touch and fired low under Steve Harper with an equally neat second.

    The second half begun in similar fashion to the first, as Henry flew into Barton - leaving him in a crumpled heap on the turf - with a needless and late barge that somehow escaped a booking.

    Wolves quickly - and correctly - had a penalty appeal waved away as James Perch slid in perfectly on Matt Jarvis, although a goal kick was inexplicably awarded.

    Newcastle slowly worked their way back to their early control of their game and grabbed a deserved equaliser just after the hour mark.

    Jonas Gutierrez won a free-kick on the left, cynically taken out by substitute Ronald Zubar, whose first action after coming on for the injured Van Damme was to hand Barton an assist as his superb delivery was battered in off the post by the head of Carroll.

    It was a stupendous header from the 21-year-old, who - after being named in England’s U21s squad - is expected to miss out on a first senior call for the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

    The goal seemed to provide a springboard for Chris Hughton’s side, who were denied a second soon afterwards by the palms of Hahnemann, who saved well from Nolan after clever wide-play by Perch and Routledge.

    Ward cleared off the line with Nolan set to tap in Shola Ameobi’s header as poor Barton received agricultural challenge after agricultural challenge.

    It is hard to elicit sympathy for a player once jailed for a serious assault, but Barton showed remarkable composure as weak refereeing from Attwell allowed Henry to get away with merely a yellow for his umpteenth poor challenge, the final one a chest-high assault that was followed by an attempt to stamp on Alan Smith, for which the former Manchester United midfielder showed less restraint in his response.

    Toon elected to match fire with fire in the latter stages as Amoebi and Perch saw yellows, as the match descended into a scrap.

    Still, Nolan should have scored in the last minute of normal time, somehow putting the ball straight at Hahnemann after handed a free header by a wonderful cross from Jose Henrique.

    The match petered out to a draw, leaving both sides comfortable in mid-table at this early stage of the campaign.
    Reda Maher / Eurosport
    Source :

    Team Line-up:
    Wolves: Hahnemann, Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Jarvis, Henry, David Jones, Van Damme, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle; Subs: Hennessey, Edwards, Stearman, Fletcher, Mancienne, Zubar, Guedioura

    Newcastle United: Harper, Perch, Williamson, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Routledge, Smith, Barton, Gutierrez, Nolan, Carroll; Subs: Krul, Lovenkrands, Ryan Taylor, Ameobi, Kadar, Vuckic, Ranger


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