NEWCASTLE UTD 0 WOLVES 2
Newcastle : Sels 4, Anita 3, Mbemba 3, Lascelles 5, Dummett 5, Hayden 4 (Mitrovic 62, 4) Shelvey 5, Ritchie 5 (Atsu 63, 4), Diame 4, Perez 4, Gayle 4
Subs not used: Clark, Colback, Gouffran, Yedlin, Darlow
Wolves : Ikeme 7, Doherty 7, Iorfa 7, Batth 7, Borthwick-Jackson 7, Saiss 7, Edwards 7, Teixeira 7 (Cavaleiro 71, 7), Oniangue 8, Costa 7 (Mason 74 6), Bodvarsson 7 (Coady 88)
Subs not used: Saville, Longergan, Glandon, Hause
During his decorated playing career, Walter Zenga was nicknamed the ‘Hang Glider’ thanks to his goalkeeping skills and agility.
Yet even the Wolves boss cannot have envisaged his players hitting the heights they scaled at St James’ Park as they provided the perfect response to Tuesday’s chastening four-goal defeat to Barnsley.
On this evidence, the sky is the limit for Zenga’s side, who comprehensively outplayed a Newcastle team touted as many people’s favourites for the Championship title.
Chancel Mbemba’s first-half own goal was no more than Wolves deserved for a dominant display before the interval, with Wander Helder Costa securing all three points as he stroked home from outside the area midway through the second half.
Zenga called for his side to “take back their honour” in the wake of Tuesday’s home hammering, and having made five changes from the team that capitulated against Barnsley, the Italian will have been delighted with his players’ response.
While Wolves were conceding four last week, Newcastle were scoring six without replay at QPR, but the tables were quickly turned as the visitors dominated from the off.
With Jon Dadi Bodvarsson leading the line with a mixture of power and poise, and the impressive Romain Saiss causing a succession of problems from midfield, Wolves were much the better side throughout the first half.
Indeed, if there was a surprise, it was that Newcastle were only trailing by one goal at the interval.
The Magpies’ defences were almost breached in the seventh minute, with Saiss heading over from a corner, and Wolves could hardly have come any closer to breaking the deadlock two minutes later.
Helder Costa’s shot was saved after Bodvarsson’s initial effort had been blocked, and when the ball broke back to Wolves’ Icelandic striker, his rising drive clipped the top of the crossbar.
Newcastle finally threatened midway through the first half, but while Ayoze Perez met Matt Ritchie’s right-wing cross with a crisp first-time strike, Carl Ikeme got down to his right to keep the ball out.
The importance of the save was accentuated shortly before the half-hour mark, with Wolves deservedly claiming the lead.
Mbemba was hardly under a great deal of pressure when Bodvarsson crossed from the right, but the Newcastle centre-back panicked and arrowed a diving header past Matz Sels and into his own goal.
With an advantage to defend, Wolves looked to pull men behind the ball in the second half, but they continued to offer a threat on the counter-attack and doubled their lead in the 62nd minute.
Perez was outmuscled in his own half, conceding possession as Wolves’ pressing tactics worked, and Helder Costa strolled towards the edge of the 18-yard box before curling an excellent finish into the bottom left-hand corner.
There was almost a third goal with 20 minutes left, but Bodvarsson failed to find the target following a storming run from Matt Doherty, and Newcastle’s misery was complete when Vurnon Anita was sent off for a foul on Ivan Cavaleiro in the dying minutes.