Newcastle United deeper in trouble as pressure builds on Steve Bruce
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Steve Bruce’s side were beaten 2-1 by Wolverhampton Wanderers, and the club’s players will now have two weeks to dwell on the performance and result, as the game is followed by a two-week international break.
Newcastle are second-bottom of the Premier League with three points from seven games.
Travelling fans chanted “we want Brucie out” at a sodden Molineux. Bruce – who is secure in his position at St James’s Park for now – had insisted that he would “100%” not walk away from the job before the game.
Bruce, again without Callum Wilson, Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey, had named an unchanged starting XI.
United’s head coach had felt that the players who had started against Watford a week earlier had “deserved another go” at Molineux, a stadium where Newcastle hadn’t won for a decade.
Bruce’s side tried to have a go early in the game, but they were behind in the 20th minute. Raul Jimenez got the better of Sean Longstaff and played a through ball for Hee Chan Hwang, who had run unchecked into the box.
The forward beat Karl Darlow with a neat shot into the far corner of the net. The goal was first scored at home by Wolves in the Premier League this season.
Assistant Graeme Jones – who had been watching the game from a seat in the press box – made his way down to the dugout midway through the half. There was a change to a back five – Isaac Hayden dropped into defence – and United lost Joe Willock to injury. Willock – who had played with a toe injury at Vicarage Road a week earlier – was replaced by Hendrick.
Francisco Trincao struck the underside crossbar during a scrappy few minutes, but Hendrick made no mistake from almost 25 yards when Javier Manquillo rolled the ball back to him.
Jose Sa had been racing to get back into his goal, having been floored by a Joelinton challenge. Wolves fans – and head coach Bruno Lage – felt that play should have been stopped, but Sa was able to get up and attempt to shot Hendrick’s well-struck low shot.
Lage was booked by referee Graham Scott for his reacted to the goal, Hendrick’s first since December last year. There were boos from Wolves supporters when Scott blew the half-time whistle.
Saint-Maximin forced a save from Sa after the break, but United were soon behind again. Hwang scored Wolves’ second goal after again being set up by Jimenez.
Bruce sent on Jacob Murphy – he replaced Manquillo – but Dwight Gayle remained on the bench until the 76th minute.
And there was to be no way back for a team which is too reliant on Wilson’s goals – and seemingly already in a relegation battle.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow, Manquillo (Murphy, 70), Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden, S Longstaff, Willock (Hendrick, 36), Almiron (Gayle, 76), Joelinton, Saint-Maximin. Subs not used: Gillespie, Schar, Lewis, Krafth, Fraser, Anderson.