Wolves 2 (Hwang 20, 58) Newcastle United 1 (Hendrick 41)
A brace for Hee Chan Hwang against Newcastle United helped Wolves earn successive victories for the first time in the 2021/22 Premier League season, and a first win at Molineux for Bruno Lage.
The South Korean was a menace in the side of Newcastle as he linked up well with Raul Jimenez who – either side of a Jeff Hendrick long-range effort – set Hwang on his way through the visiting defence before calmly slotting the ball into the corner of the net to bag a double on his full home Premier League debut.
In the soggy conditions of the West Midlands, it was a scrappy opening to the game, with both sides guilty of giving away cheap free-kicks as Lage’s men and their visitors looked to assert dominance on the tie.
After taking a while to get going, Wolves had their first opportunity through Jimenez who turned well inside the Newcastle half and attempted to set Francisco Trincao away, but the play broke down.
The poor opening to the game was quickly forgotten just before the 20-minute mark, as Jimenez burst through the Newcastle midfield and with Hwang lurking on the shoulder of the visitor’s defence played the South Korean through. With just Karl Darlow to beat, Hwang slotted the ball across the goalkeeper and inside the far post to give Wolves the lead.
Having scored in the first-half of a Premier League game for the first time under Bruno Lage, Wolves were not sitting back on their lead, and continued to press for a second, as Trincao fired high into the North Bank before Joao Moutinho had better luck from distance as he pulled a diving save from Darlow.
Wolves could, and maybe should, have made it two just before the break as Hwang was played through into the good position, and having raced to the goalline, put a searching cross into the penalty area, and having missed Jimenez, fell to the feet of Trincao, but the winger slammed his effort against the crossbar.
That miss proved costly to Wolves, as Newcastle went straight up the other end and equalised through substitute Hendrick. Jose Sa did well to dive at the feet of Joelinton, who had been found behind the Wolves defence, but the goalkeeper was injured in the process. Newcastle played on, and although Sa struggled to his feet, he was unable to stop the ball from being slammed past him by Hendrick and into the net.
Half-time | Wolves 1-1 Newcastle
The rain continued to fall at Molineux throughout the second period meaning the game carried on being a scrappy affair, which wasn’t helped by a whistle-happy referee in Graham Scott, who did not allow the match to flow.
Newcastle thought they had taken the lead for the first time with 50 minutes on the clock, but Wolves were handed a lifeline by Sa, who saved expertly to deny Allan Saint-Maximin from point black range after the forward had latched onto a cross from inside the six-yard box.
However, Lage’s men quickly bounced back with a goal made by the impressive Jimenez. Having picked up the ball in the middle of the park, the number nine turned on a sixpence to leave three Newcastle players in his wake and after skipping two lunging challenges, slipped a pass through to Hwang, who in similar style to his opener, created space before sliding a low drive across goal and beyond the reach of Darlow.
The game was flowing both ways after Wolves regained their lead, but it was the Magpies who had the best opportunity as they looked for a way back into the tie. Moutinho scythed down Joelinton just outside the penalty area and Sean Longstaff stepped up, but the Wolves wall stood strong to deny the Newcastle midfielder.
There was just a toe between both sides getting on the scoresheet once again, as Hwang whipped a curling low cross into the six-yard box, but just beyond the reach of Jimenez. While up the other end of the pitch, a similar chance fell the way of Newcastle, but Wolves were able to deal with the danger.
In a nervy end to the game, Wolves were inviting the visitors to put pressure onto their backline with a succession of misplaced passes. But the old gold did enough to hold on and secure all three points for a second successive Premier League match.
Full-time | Wolves 2-1 Newcastle
Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Marcal, Neves, Moutinho, Trincao (Dendoncker 85), Hwang (Traore 90), Jimenez.
Unused subs | Ruddy, Hoever, Boly, Ait-Nouri, Cundle, Podence, Silva.
Newcastle | Darlow, Manquillo (Murphy 70), Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden, Longstaff, Willock (Hendrick 35), Almiron (Gayle 79), Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.
Unused subs | Gillespie, Schar, Lewis, Krafth, Fraser, Anderson.
Referee | Graham Scott.