A late Willy Boly strike denied Newcastle United all three points against Wolves at Molineux Stadium on Monday night.
The Magpies dug deep and produced a gritty, dogged defensive performance for much of the 90 minutes. However, their rearguard was breached in added time when the Wolves defender rose above Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to crash a header home.
Rafa Benitez will be proud of his side’s hard-working performance, but disappointed with the result. However, had Newcastle capitalised on certain opportunities earlier in the game the victory would have been theirs.
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One player particularly guilty of being wasteful in these situations was Matt Ritchie – the versatile 29-year-old, who played as a left wing-back against Wolves. Ritchie was one of Newcastle’s key attacking outlets, and was always willing to bring the ball forwards and test the opposition defence.
According to WhoScored’s statistics, no Newcastle player completed more than Ritchie’s two successful dribbles on Monday night. However, the 16-cap Scotland international’s endeavour went unrewarded. He was heavily involved, having 91 touches of the ball, by far the most of any Newcastle player, but little of what he attempted came off, as evidenced by his poor pass accuracy rating of 75.9%.
Once in the final third, Ritchie failed to have a telling impact. The fact he managed no key passes and no shots is a disappointment, as he is one of the Magpies’ most capable attacking players.
Defensively, though, Ritchie was far more impressive, showing just how valuable his versatility is to Benitez. The wide man made seven clearances, two interceptions and one tackle.
All in all then, in his own half Ritchie was at his best, but in opposition territory he couldn’t hit the heights he is certainly capable of.