NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Newcastle moved 10 points clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton in the Premier League on Friday.
Chris Wood blasted home a 72nd-minute penalty, which he had earned, to lift his team to the brink of safety.
The January signing’s second goal in a black-and-white shirt piled the pressure on the teams below 14th-place Newcastle.
Wood, who became New Zealand’s record scorer during last month’s international break, had seen a first-half strike ruled out by VAR, but his decisive intervention ended his side’s three-game losing streak.
It was little more than Eddie Howe’s side — prompted throughout by the excellent Bruno Guimaraes — deserved on a night when Wolves rarely looked like claiming the three points needed to climb into the top six, until a late flurry.
Watched by a crowd of more than 52,000 at St. James’ Park, Newcastle thought it had taken a 24th-minute lead when a prone Wood fired home after Wolves had failed to clear Guimaraes’ cross — after he and Miguel Almiron had cleverly exchanged passes. Although there was no offside flag, it was decided there should have been following a VAR review.
Wood finally got his chance with 18 minutes remaining. After he had been upended by Jose Sa as he ran on to Joelinton’s pass, Wood sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot to open the scoring.
Guimaraes might have made it 2-0, but saw his scuffed hit trickle just wide, but the lead was desperately fragile with Fabio Silva heading wastefully wide before being denied by a fine save from Martin Dubravka as time ran down.
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