Injury-time agony for Newcastle United as Miguel Almiron makes his debut
Newcastle United agonisingly dropped two points at Molineux tonight.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – who scored an injury-time winner at St James's Park two months ago – equalised deep in injury time.
Rafa Benitez's side looked like they were on their way to a much-needed win thanks to a second-half strike from Isaac Hayden, a player who has been wanting to leave the club since last summer.
But Willy Boly got the better of Martin Dubravka to net in the 95th minute to claim a point for Nuno Espirito Santo's side, who held Newcastle to a 1-1 draw in front of Mike Ashley.
Ashley, Newcastle's owner, also saw Miguel Almiron, his deadline day investment, make his debut.
United put in a gutsy, determined performance against Wolves.
However, they were again frustrated by a late, late goal.
And Benitez's players will head for Spain now to begin preparations, which include Saturday's friendly against CSKA Moscoa, for the March 23 home game against basement club Huddersfield Town.
Benitez had named an unchanged starting XI, with Sean Longstaff keeping his place in midfield ahead of fit-again Mohamed Diame, who joined Almiron on the bench, at Molineux, where Newcastle were backed by 2,500 fans.
Longstaff, again partnering Hayden, hardly put a foot wrong at Molineux.
Ki Sung-yueng, Paul Dummett, Antonio Barreca and Yoshinori Muto weren't even among the substitutes.
Barreca's omission was a surprise given that the loan signing had come off the bench against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley nine days earlier.
Rondon tested Rui Patricio with an early left-footed shot after being played in by Ayoze Perez, who is under pressure following the arrival of Almiron, seen as a No 10 by Benitez.
Christian Atsu, again in the team ahead of Kenedy, tracked back to make a goal-saving challenge to deny Raul Jimenez in the 18th minute.
The more the half wore on, the more Wolves started to impose themselves on their visitors, and Newcastle had to defend deep, and in numbers, as Almiron watched on from the bench.
Benitez, like Nuno Espirito Santo, watched most of the first half from the edge of his technical area.
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By the half-hour mark, the game had settled down, and home fans were urging their team on. Wolves were finding it hard to pick their way through an organised and disciplined United side, though they were gifted the ball more than Benitez will have liked.
Jimenez got a shot on target in the 35th minute after strolling past DeAndre Yedlin, but Martin Dubravka was able to parry it.
Rondon had a header saved by Patricio and another shot deflected wide, while Dubravka did well to stop a low strike from Jonny before the break.
Newcastle were unchanged for the second half, and Benitez sent out Almiron to warm up as Wolves pressured his team.
Benitez, however, didn't need to make a change to force a breakthrough.
Fabian Schar strode forward in the 56th minute and played the ball to Hayden, who ran on to it and beat Patricio, embarrassingly for ghe goalkeeper, at his near post to put United ahead.
Hayden ran to Newcastle's fans to celebrate the strike, his first in 15 months.
Alrmion made it on to the pitch for the last 17 minutes – he replaced Atsu – and it wasn't long before the 23-year-old was welcomed to the Premier League.
Joao Moutinho caught him with a late tackle soon after his introduction, but the Paraguay international picked himself up and carried on.
United came agonisingly close to claiming three points, but Boly beat Dubravka to a deep cross from Adama Traore to equalise.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Patricio; Doherty (Traore, 82), Bennett, Boly, Coady, Jonny; Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker (Costa, 69); Jimenez, Jota (Cavaleiro, 69). Subs not used: Ruddy, Giibs-White, Saiss, Vinagre.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie; Perez (Manquillo, 90), Hayden (Diame, 86), Longstaff, Atsu (Almiron, 73); Rondon. Subs not used: Woodman, Fernandez, Kenedy, Joselu.
Goal: Hayden 56, Boly 90
Bookings: Ritchie 44, Jota 52, Schar 52
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)