Newcastle moved 10 points clear of the relegation zone as Chris Wood’s penalty secured a 1-0 victory over Wolves on Friday Night Football.
Eddie Howe’s side dominated at St James’ Park with Wolves delivering a sub-par performance, but had to wait until the 72nd minute until they got their breakthrough as Wood sent Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Wood won the spot-kick after cleverly waiting for contact from the onrushing Sa before scoring his first goal at St James’ Park since his £25m move from Burnley in January.
Wood thought he had scored after 23 minutes – bundling the ball in from close range following some calamitous defending from Willy Boly and Jonny Otto – but VAR later ruled the goal out for an offside on Bruno Guimaraes in the build-up.
The only negative for Newcastle was an apparent muscle injury for Ryan Fraser, who was forced off after 12 minutes with Miguel Almiron coming on in his place.
Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Krafth (6), Schar (7), Burn (7), Targett (7), Shelvey (7), Joelinton (6), Guimaraes (8), Fraser (N/A), Saint-Maximin (7), Wood (8).
Subs: Almiron (6), Longstaff (N/A) Murphy (N/A)
Wolves:Sa (5), Jonny (5), Kilman (5), Coady (5), Boly (5), Marcal (5), Cundle (4), Moutinho (5), Trincao (5), Silva (5), Hwang (5).
Subs: Neto (N/A), Campbell (N/A), Ait-Nouri (N/A)
Man of the match: Bruno Guimaraes.
The result ends a three-game losing run for the Magpies, who took a big step towards securing their Premier League safety with a fine performance on their first return to St James’ Park for over a month.
“It’s getting closer,” Wood told Sky Sports when asked about Newcastle’s safety. “It’s a very nice position to be in.”
- Leander Dendoncker (illness) and Daniel Podence (foot) dropped out of the Wolves squad
- Teenager Luke Cundle and Hwang Hee-Chan replaced them in the starting XI
- Raul Jimenez (suspension) and Ruben Neves (knee) remain out
- Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock (knee) replaced by Bruno Guimaraes
- Emil Krafth came in for Javier Manquillo at right-back
Wolves failed to register a shot on target until the 81st minute – finishing the game with two – as they missed the chance to move up to sixth and to within two points of fourth-placed Tottenham. They remain eighth, two points adrift of Manchester United and West Ham above them.
“That is any lingering hope of Champions League football out the window,” former Wolves striker Don Goodman said on Sky Sports commentary. “They haven’t deserved it, they’ve been really poor.”
Man of the Match: Bruno Guimaraes
Sky Sports’ Don Goodman:
“Bruno Guimaraes has literally been everywhere. Carried the ball, tackled, made good passes, interceptions, ticked every box. He’s been brilliant.”
Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe speaking to Sky Sports:
“Bruno Guimaraes is going to be a mainstay of the team. The difficulty is that we went on that winning run, and it was difficult to break the midfield up. He got his opportunity today and I thought he was excellent. He offered a different dimension. I am excited by what he can bring to the team.”
Howe: A massive step forward, but work to do
Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe speaking to Sky Sports:
“Massive tonight. It was the kind of game we expected it to be. Wolves make it difficult for you. We had our moments. It took a penalty to win the game but the players gave everything again.
“I am so pleased for Chris Wood. You could see him filling in on the left of midfield. He is a willing lad. The goal will do wonders for him. I am pleased he stepped up and took it.
“We still have work to do but that was a massive step forward tonight. It brings us closer to safety. I hope there will be a different Newcastle in the future but we have to play a certain way to get results at the moment.”
Wood: We need 40 points for safety
Newcastle striker Chris Wood speaking to Sky Sports:
“It is fantastic. There is something about playing in front of St James’ Park and we want to get them up for it. Luckily today we did.
“It helps when you play those teams you do well against. It is always good to score as a striker but ultimately we need points to get out of relegation battle and to build next season. It is getting closer. We want this club to go to the next level. We need to get to 40 points and then build.”
Lage: It’s frustrating, we need to be more aggressive
Wolves head coach Bruno Lage speaking to Sky Sports:
“In the first half, I think we controlled the game with and without the ball. We know how dangerous Newcastle can be with the runs in behind but we controlled that. But we weren’t aggressive and we didn’t create our chances. We were the better side in the second half. I think within the first five minutes we created more than in the whole first half.
“I don’t know if there is a team with more penalties against than us. We lost the ball before, it’s not the first time and I think it’s maybe six or seven penalties inside our box and 1-0 for them. After that we continued to play our game, we created two good chances but didn’t score. I think it was a big opportunity for us that we missed, because if we played the full game like we did in the second half maybe the result would have been different.
“Since the first minute, we need to control the game with the ball and not be defending so much. We need to be more aggressive, not making fouls but being near the man. If you look at the goal, they win the ball and in two passes they’re inside of our box. So it’s frustrating but we need to continue to work. That’s our mentality and we need to learn and improve.”
Woeful Wolves’ CL bid goes out with a whimper
Sky Sports’ Zinny Boswell:
Bruno Lage described Wolves’ 1-0 defeat to Newcastle on Friday Night Football as an opportunity missed for his side in their push for European football and it is hard to disagree with him.
It was an abysmal first-half display, which Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher said could only go better after the break, but there was only a slight improvement in the second 45 minutes.
Wolves’ approach to sit back and soak up the Newcastle pressure worked for large parts of the first half, but they offered nothing going forward and failed to register a single shot on target until the 81st minute.
The absences of Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker were sorely felt in midfield with teenager Luke Cundle, making just his second Premier League start, struggling to get to grips with the game as Newcastle’s £40m January signing Bruno Guimaraes ran riot.
It’s a case of ‘what if’ again for Wolves fans, who will be wondering why their team failed to turn up at St James’ Park when a win would have moved them to within two points of fourth-placed Tottenham and up to sixth, albeit momentarily.
Newcastle host Leicester next Sunday at St James’ Park, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 2.15pm.
Wolves don’t have a fixture next weekend due to Manchester City’s participation in the FA Cup semi-finals, and are next scheduled to be in action at Burnley on Sunday April 24 at 2pm.
Pedro Porro speaks about Tottenham for first time as flight and medical booked
Standard Sport understands the right-back will complete a £39million move from Sporting later on Tuesday, the final day of the January transfer window.
The move was thrown into doubt on Monday after Sporting reneged on the deal by asking for more money, despite Porro having said his goodbyes and with a medical in London booked.
Further talks have revived the transfer and Porro, who was absent from training and understood to be distraught by the hold ups, will now finalise the move on Deadline Day. He spoke to reporters at Lisbon airport on Monday evening.
He told CMTV: “I’m grateful to Sporting, I love the club.
“I didn’t train as I was only focused on the transfer to Spurs but I will always be thankful to the club.”
Porro is expected at Hotspur Way on Monday evening, where he will stay overnight before becoming a Spurs player on Tuesday.
Derby 0 – 2 West Ham
West Ham booked a fifth-round FA Cup tie at boss David Moyes’ former club
Manchester United with a comfortable 2-0 win at Derby.
Jarrod Bowen’s third goal in two games gave the Hammers a first-half lead and Michail Antonio headed home their second five minutes after break.
The Londoners made it back-to-back wins after beating Everton 2-0 to climb out of the Premier League’s bottom three nine days go and rarely needed to hit top gear as they halted League One side Derby’s 19-game unbeaten run.
West Ham boss Moyes now faces a reunion with former side Man Utd at Old Trafford in the last 16 after being drawn to face the Red Devils in the draw just before Monday night’s routine win at Pride Park. The match will take place in the week commencing February 27.
How West Ham eased past Derby
Paul Warne’s side are flying high in fourth place in the third tier and there were high hopes of an upset among the home faithful before kick-off in a Pride Park crowd of 25,308.
Derby forward Tom Barkhuizen wasted no time in breaching West Ham’s defence, scampering clear in the opening minute before his cut-back was scrambled clear.
Bowen shot tamely at Derby goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith soon after, but was not so wasteful in the 10th minute.
Antonio’s ball over the top caught Derby flat-footed and Bowen volleyed home Tomas Soucek’s neat headed pass from six yards.
Derby’s best move of the half saw James Collins volley just off target after Barkhuizen had run on to Craig Forsyth’s dinked pass to pick out the Derby striker with a fine cross.
Barkhuizen and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing offered Derby’s best hopes of getting back on level terms before the break, but they had no shots on target in the first period.
The good news for Rams fans at the break was their side were still in the tie against a top-flight side who were not at their best.
But five minutes into the second period the home side fell 2-0 behind. Derby skipper Curtis Davies’ sliced clearance span into Bowen’s path down the right and his cross was headed in at the far post by Antonio after deflecting off Forsyth.
Warne sent on four substitutes – Eiran Cashin, Liam Thompson, Lewis Dobbin and Tony Springett – soon after and their fresh legs gave Derby a lift.
Haydon Roberts was an inch away from connecting fully with Dobbin’s excellent cross, but the Rams were soon back-pedalling again.
Bowen was denied in quick succession by Wildsmith’s point-blank save and Cashin’s last-ditch tackle before Ben Johnson’s angled drive was kept out by the Derby goalkeeper.
The Rams were full of endeavour until the final whistle and Dobbin was close to being rewarded for an impressive cameo display when shooting straight at Alphonse Areola, but on the night County could not bridge the gulf in class.
Bowen: You’ve got to beat the best to win the cup
Jarrod Bowen said “to be the best you’ve got to beat the best” after West Ham were drawn to face United in the fifth round.
“I found out (about the draw) on the bench. We’ve got Man Utd away so listen it’s never easy and if we want to be successful in these competitions we’ve got to beat the best teams,” Bowen told ITV Sport.
“With respect to Man United they’re a top top team but we’ve been there plenty of times before and you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.”
Bowen added: “It was nice to score against Everton and tonight as well. I think the situation that we’re in, any sort of confidence from any player…
“The last two to be involved with was very good for me but I think for us, two wins on the bounce as well, two good results for us and it’s all about momentum in this game and I think we can use this going forward.”
Warne: We can’t knock the lads
Derby manager Paul Warne told ITV Sport: “In fairness West Ham played a professional performance, at times I thought we went toe-to-toe but I don’t think we did enough to score unfortunately.
“We can’t knock the lads tonight, we asked them to be the best versions of themselves against a Premier League team so not bad.
“But we probably didn’t have enough graft in the final third but I can’t really knock them and we know West Ham haven’t got an easy draw next but I wish them a sincere good luck.
“I thought the lads gave a good account of themselves at times and at times they were punching.”
Derby return to League One action on Saturday at home to Morecambe – kick-off 3pm – before travelling to Wycombe on Saturday February 11; kick-off 3pm.
West Ham’s next game is away to Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.
The Hammers then host London rivals Chelsea on Saturday February 11; kick-off 12.30pm.
NFL’s ratio of Black QBs to Black head coaches is all wrong
Marlin Briscoe is smiling in heaven. Doug Williams probably has a huge grin on his face. The first Black starting quarterback in NFL history — Briscoe — and the first Black quarterback to start and win Super Bowl MVP — Williams — are the giants whose shoulders Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts are standing on. And between Rihanna’s halftime performance and the fact that we’re about to watch history made as two Black quarterbacks take center stage in sports’ biggest game — you could make the case that it’s destiny, given that it will all take place during Black History Month.
But, don’t let this moment distract you from the fact that Black coaches are still getting a raw deal at a time in which Black quarterbacks are being elevated like never before. Two things can be true at once, this is why this moment is such a joyous, yet infuriating one.
Sixteen years after we watched Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy make history as the first two Black head coaches to appear in the Super Bowl, we’re watching Mahomes and Hurts do it for Black quarterbacks. But since that February day in 2007, things for Black coaches have seemed to fall apart as they’ve improved for Black quarterbacks.
Eleven Black quarterbacks started Week 1. Now compare that to the three Black coaches who had jobs when the season began — Mike McDaniel doesn’t count, as he chooses to identify as a human being with a Black dad.
When Lovie Smith got fired in Houston, three became two. And as we wait for the remaining hires to be made, there isn’t a track record or feeling that anything will be done in the next few weeks to greatly improve these dismal numbers. We’re at a point in which the league, the owners, and fans are fine with having a Black man be their quarterback — but not their coach.
Over the years, the trajectory for Black quarterbacks has steadily risen in a way that hasn’t happened for Black coaches. By the time we reach kickoff, it will mean that eight Black quarterbacks have started in the Super Bowl. It’s a direct result of evolution over the years. What was started by Fritz Pollard, Briscoe, and Williams led the way for Michael Vick to be the first Black quarterback drafted No. 1 and for Steve McNair to be the first Black quarterback to win MVP — which was followed by Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
Progress on the field, not on the sidelines
This type of progress isn’t something we’ve seen with Black coaches, though. At roughly this point last year, there were only two Black head coaches in the league — Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh and David Culley in Houston. As we know, Culley would get fired after one season by the Texans and would get replaced by Smith, another Black coach that would be fired after a lone year on the job. Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit (which was joined by Ray Horton and Steve Wilks) is still hovering over the league. But, you wouldn’t know it the way that Wilks wasn’t able to keep his interim tag — which is a death sentence for Black coaches — with the Carolina Panthers despite doing a wonderful job.
In 2000, Dennis Green (Minnesota) and Dungy (Tampa) were the only two Black full-time head coaches in the NFL. Twenty-three years later, we’re in the same place, but worse. The XFL is just weeks away from rebooting and their eight-team league already has four Black head coaches. It’s a jarring stat that embodies just how big this problem is, despite what Todd Bowles thinks.
“I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well,” one of the two Black coaches in the league had the audacity to say earlier in the season.
In less than two weeks, a league that’s majority Black will make history when two Black quarterbacks play in a game that will feature entertainment before the game and during halftime from Black performers in a month that’s dedicated to recognizing the contributions to what Black people have made to this country. It will be a joyous occasion.
However, while you’re enjoying the game, I beg of you to ask one question to the company you’ll keep on that day. “If the NFL, America and the world can accept all this Blackness, then why won’t they accept Black coaches?” And while you’re waiting for people to answer that question, realize that “End Racism” was etched on the field all season.
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