Doherty's late winner heaps misery on Magpies
Newcastle Utd 1 Wolves 2
The clock ticked towards the end of the fourth of five minutes of injury-time, and Diogo Jota just kept running, jinking and beating players.
Ten-man Newcastle had been on the attack; in the blink of an eye, they were back-pedalling. There was genuine panic and then Jota struck a fine shot that Martin Dubravka did superbly to stop, diving to his left, but it was a parry, and Matt Doherty had found the energy to assist the attack.
An open goal was before him, and he steadied himself to head the ball home. The Wolves bench exploded, Newcastle's players fell to their knees. Rafa Benitez raged. Happy 126th birthday Newcastle United.
Benitez is rarely angry after a defeat but this one stung, partly because it was self-inflicted, mainly because he felt a sense of injustice, a bitterness that soured things to such an extent that he could not accept it as he might normally, with a nod and a handshake.
Benitez claimed Newcastle should have had a penalty, with the scores level in the second half, when Willy Boly elbowed Ayoze Perez in the face. He also argued DeAndre Yedlin should not have been sent off for tugging back Jota, after the full-back's poor touch had sent the striker in on goal.
"When you care and you are fighting to do the best for your team, when you are fighting relegation, you cannot believe this type of situation can happen in the Premier League," said Benitez, his face flushed and eyes reddened. "It was an elbow in the face. He was bleeding. It was so obvious. nyone can see that, so we need VAR."
Asked what he had said to the fourth official, Benitez replied: "I'm wasting my time when you try to explain things in a polite way."
Last year, on the same day, Perez put the ball into his own goal to hand Leicester a 3-2 victory. It is a club that flirts with crisis and calamity.
Perez had lost possession this time, in the 94th minute, as the home side broke, and filled their support with the imagination of a dramatic victory.
He had scored in the 23rd minute with a fine header, to cancel out the opener, from the impressive Jota.
Mike Dean sent off Yedlin on 57 minutes for denying the visitors a goalscoring opportunity. It was a tight call.
Yedlin had passed the ball wide to sub Javier Manquillo, took a return pass and then miscontrolled the ball.
In that moment Jota was through and an almost instinctive movement followed where the American grabbed at the shirt of the Wolves player.
Jota went down and Dean went red. Benitez fumed, with Jamaal Lascelles possibly in a position to cover.
The opening Wolves goal had brought similar displeasure. It was a double-take moment, as Helder Costa crossed from the right and the ball somehow struck the chest of Jota, unmarked around six yards from the Newcastle goal, in an onside position.
Within five minutes Newcastle were level. Perez won the 22nd minute free-kick from which Rondon stepped up and crashed a 25-yard free-kick off the Wolves crossbar.
The ball was cleared only as far as Rondon and he bent over a fine cross that Perez met with his head to loop the ball high into the Wolves goal.
(© Indepedent News Service)