Alan Pardew’s men have yet to taste defeat in the current campaign and are now sitting pretty in third place after their hard fought victory in the Midlands. Ba carried on where he left off last week against Blackburn scoring the opener before a superb solo strike from Gutierrez gave the Magpies some breathing space. A late charge from the home side saw Steven Fletcher pull one back before a penalty shout was tuned down and Kevin Doyle had a legitimate goal disallowed in stoppage time. Wanderers boss Mick McCarthy had some harsh words for referee Mark Halsey at the final whistle whilst those in away dugout breathed a huge sigh of relief after the late drama. A side built on a relatively small budget is oozing confidence at the moment and it was unthinkable eight weeks ago to think they’d be just four points off the Premier League summit. Credit must fall at the feet of Pardew who has made his team hard to break down and also breathed new life into a clutch of strikers written off before a ball had even been kicked.
Tim Krul has also seen his stock rise after a series of commanding displays in goal and he showed why he is so highly rated making a series of superb saves in the opening exchanges. Firstly he dived low to keep out Jamie O’Hara’s free kick before twice denying Doyle. He then pulled off a miraculous double save from Fletcher and Adam Hammill as the home side dominated early on. Those saves proved crucial as the visitors finally got into their groove and took the lead through Ba. He and Leon Best are clearly benefiting from the faith shown in them by Pardew and the Senegalese striker was again on target after hitting a hat trick at St James’ Park last week. he took just 17 minutes to find the net heading in Yohan Cabaye’s corner from the left. With a mix of deadly pace and power in attack it was no surprise when they doubled their lead through Gutierrez seven minutes before half time. The Argentine isn’t renowned for scoring goals and he’ll remember this one for a while surging past four challenges before slotting past Wayne Hennessey to celebrate the new contract he signed just days prior in style.
Wolves were then denied a penalty just minutes later with Steven Taylor’s foul on O’Hara deemed to have taken place just outside the area with McCarthy furious on the touchline. The second half didn’t contain much excitement until Fletcher nodded in the hosts consolation before Doyle had his effort chalked off in controversial circumstances. Hammill’s deep cross was headed back across by Matt Jarvis into the path of Doyle who planted the ball past Krul. The Wolves players spun away to celebrate only to see their joy turn to despair with the assistant referee raised his flag after judging that Hammill’s cross had incorrectly gone out of play. It proved to be decisive as the Magpies held on to keep their impressive run going and leave the home side staring at a fourth consecutive defeat.