NEWCASTLE (Reuters): Miguel Almiron came off the bench to secure a 2-1 victory for Newcastle United over Wolverhampton Wanderers with only his second goal since December to move his side up into fifth place in the Premier League on Sunday.
Left out of the starting line-up by manager Eddie Howe, Almiron got his chance in the 68th minute and made his mark 11 minutes later with a superbly-taken goal to earn Newcastle a first league win in six games.
Club record signing Alexander Isak had given Newcastle the lead with a powerful header after 26 minutes although they were perhaps fortunate not to be down to 10 men after keeper Nick Pope appeared to take down Raul Jimenez in the box earlier.
To add to Wolves’ frustration Pope made several top-quality saves and Daniel Podence fired a shot against the post.
But the visitors did equalise when a slip by Kieran Trippier, as he tried to clear the ball, allowed substitute Hwang Hee-chan the easiest of finishes in the 70th minute.
Newcastle hung on to claim the victory that enabled them to overtake Liverpool with 44 points from 25 games — four behind Tottenham Hotspur with two games in hand.
Wolves remain in 13th place but only three points above the relegation zone.
Paraguayan Almiron could not stop scoring earlier in the season but the goals have dried up of late.
He burst back into form, however, with a curled finish after being played through by a pass from Joe Willock.
Izak, who was preferred to another out-of-form Newcastle forward Callum Wilson, ran Wolves ragged at times in a tireless display and was rewarded with his fourth goal in nine league appearances since his big-money move from Real Sociedad.
“I’ve been wanting to play more but it has been giving me a bit of fuel and I’m happy to start today and get three points,” Izak, who connected beautifully with a Trippier cross, said.
“I’ve had to be patient but I’ve been working hard. I was happy to have him (Trippier) as my assist-man today. It was a great delivery and a good header too.”
Newcastle were energised by Izak’s goal and bombarded the Wolves goal before halftime with Bruno Guimaraes heading against the crossbar from point-blank range.
Wolves were impressive in the second half with Pedro Neto forcing a sharp save from Pope from a fiercely-hit free kick.
Trippier’s unfortunate slip looked to have cost his side the points but Almiron’s 11th goal of the season spared his blushes.
Wolves, however, will point to the moment in the 20th minute when Pope took a clumsy touch of the ball and Jimenez nipped in to steal the ball and was then bundled over by the keeper.
Referee Andy Madley surprisingly took no action though.
“For me, we should have had a penalty. We are very unlucky with the referee,” Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui told Sky Sports.