It has been almost 60 years since Wolves last went 11 matches unbeaten in the top flight, under their legendary manager Stan Cullis, and they had Diogo Jota to thanks for emulating that record after the Portugal forward’s two goals earned a hard-fought po

Wolves’ Diogo Jota earns draw at Brighton after quickfire goal exchange

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  • 2019-12-09 02:15:04 1 months ago
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It has been almost 60 years since Wolves last went 11 matches unbeaten in the top flight, under their legendary manager Stan Cullis, and they had Diogo Jota to thanks for emulating that record after the Portugal forward’s two goals earned a hard-fought point on the south coast.

After dominating the opening half an hour of this contest that saw Jota give the visitors a deserved lead, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side found themselves trailing to two goals in the space of two minutes from Neal Maupay and Davy Pröpper and apparently heading for a first defeat since mid-September.

Yet it is a testament to the battling qualities instilled by their much-admired manager that Wolves equalised almost immediately through Jota before holding off a second-half onslaught from Graham Potter’s industrious Brighton team to move back up to sixth spot. Both teams came into this match buoyed by victory in midweek, with Brighton’s only change to the side which turned over Arsenal at the Emirates on Thursday seeing record signing Leandro Trossard replace the injured Aaron Connolly. That meant a change in formation to counter Wolves’s tried and tested system, with Trossard and Pascal Gross providing support to Maupay in attack.

With 24 hours more to recover after Wednesday’s win over West Ham Nuno named an unchanged side as he attempted to end a remarkably bad run of results against these opponents that had seen Wolves fail to score in their last four meetings.

Yet the patchy early-season form that saw the Portuguese’s side fail to win any of their first six matches, as they struggled to cope with the demands of the Europa League, is now a distant memory. Their rapid rise up the table since then thanks to an unbeaten run that stretches back to the 5-2 thumping at home to Chelsea on 14 September is testament to the quality Wolves possess in all areas, though they could easily have found themselves behind inside the first 60 seconds here had Lewis Dunk’s header from a Gross corner hit the target.

From that point, however, the visitors’ midfield pairing of Rúben Neves and João Moutinho seized control. The latter’s powerful bending shot from the edge of the area somehow missed the far post before Mat Ryan did brilliantly to deny a Romain Saiss header after a dinked cross by Raul Jimenez.

But there was nothing he could do to prevent Jota’s first goal just before the half-hour mark. After finding Jimenez following a driving run from the left flank, the Portugal forward was on hand to tap home his return ball to the far post to give Wolves a deserved lead. Yet having spurned a chance to make it 2-0 shortly afterwards, Jota must have watched on in disbelief as somehow Brighton found themselves ahead within five minutes of his miss.

A long ball from Dale Stephens from deep in his own half picked out Maupay’s clever run and the French striker somehow sneaked his brilliant first-time shot past the dive of Rui Patricio.

Less than two minutes later, a twisting run down the left from Trossard allowed him to find Pröpper’s head to make it 2-1. It could have been even worse for Wolves had Aaron Mooy’s effort gone the other side of the post but instead they were level on the stroke of half-time after Pröpper’s errant pass was seized on by Jonny Otto and Jota made no mistake with a smart finish.

After such a frantic end to the half, a more structured pattern of play emerged after the break that saw Brighton dominating possession and territory. The Wolves bench felt they should have had a penalty following a rare foray forward when Dunk bravely attempted to head the ball on the ground in an attempt to deny Jota his hat-trick, with VAR ruling that there was no case to answer for handball.

Potter threw on Glenn Murray and Iran forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh in a move that indicated his desire to secure all three points and the Wolves defence almost gifted Stephens the winning goal after sloppily giving the ball away as they attempted to play out from the back.

Aside from a couple of Adama Traoré bursts that saw both Dunk and Dan Burn shown yellow cards for bringing down the fleet-footed winger, Wolves struggled to create another opportunity until their substitute Neto just failed to get his shot away in the dying minutes but they will be happy to head home with a share of the spoils.

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Wolves’ Diogo Jota earns draw at Brighton after quickfire goal exchange

Steve Bruce hails Andy Carroll impact in Newcastle win

Steve Bruce hailed striker Andy Carroll after seeing him come off the bench to inspire Newcastle to a comeback victory over Southampton.

The Magpies looked to be slipping tamely to defeat at St James' Park when the 30-year-old, who returned to his first club on a pay-as-you-play contract in August, replaced the misfiring Joelinton and changed the complexion of the game.

It was from his cross that Jonjo Shelvey headed the equaliser with 22 minutes remaining before Federico Fernandez snatched victory late on after Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy could only parry substitute Sean Longstaff's piledriver.

Head coach Bruce said: "It was like Andy Carroll of 10 years ago. What a ball for the goal – Jonjo hasn't had to break his stride. I'm delighted for him. If he stays well, he can be a big asset to us.

"Today, he was sitting behind me stripped, I think, from the 15th minute. Thankfully he's OK and came on and won us the match."

By Bruce's own admission, the Magpies turned in a poor first-half display as they attempted to build upon last weekend's hard-fought draw with champions Manchester City and Thursday night's 2-0 win at Sheffield United.

Having seen keeper Martin Dubravka make two fine saves from Nathan Redmond, Newcastle fell behind seven minutes after the restart when Danny Ings scored, only for his strike eventually to be cancelled out and then overhauled.

The win, which was watched by a crowd of just 42,303 – the lowest for a Premier League game at St James' in nine years – took them into 10th place with 22 points from their first 16 games.

Asked if he would have taken that at the start of the season, Bruce replied with a smile: "What do you think?

"We've still got to get better. It's given us a nice platform to move forward and that is vitally important, but look we've still got a long way to go."

Bruce's joy was tempered by the loss of defender Ciaran Clark with a calf problem and, in particular, of in-form winger Allan Saint-Maximin to a hamstring injury, for which the Newcastle boss blamed himself.

He said: "He had a nasty ankle the other night and was hobbling around, but when he pulls up the way he did, then we all fear the worst and that is the downside of playing somebody tired."

Opposite number Ralph Hasenhuttl could not believe his team was heading home with nothing to show for its efforts.

He said: "I saw only my team playing football today, to be honest, but they got three points – that's football sometimes. We had the chances, they scored the goals, so that's a pity.

"But if you look at the three performances this week, two wins at home and today we played a really brave away game, maybe the best one of the season, I must be proud of the way my players played today.

"When the opponent was struggling, they tried to play long balls to Carroll and that's not easy to defend. Everybody knows he's 10-feet tall."

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Result: Brighton, Wolves share the spoils in entertaining game

Diogo Jota’s double stretched Wolves’ unbeaten record to 11 matches after a 2-2 draw at Brighton.

The Portuguese frontman struck either side of quickfire goals from Neal Maupay and Davy Propper in a crazy 16-minute spell at the end of the first half.

Another point on the road lifted Nuno Espirito Santo’s spirited side back up to sixth, while Brighton’s encouraging start to the season continued as they moved level with Arsenal.

Diogo Jota earned Wolves a point with both goals in the 2-2 draw against Brighton
Diogo Jota earned Wolves a point with both goals in the 2-2 draw against Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Brighton, still buzzing after Thursday night’s memorable win over the Gunners, almost scored in the opening seconds.

Leandro Trossard stood up a tempting cross, Steven Alzate’s header was blocked and Maupay skied the rebound, before Lewis Dunk headed the resulting corner narrowly over.

Wolves responded through a Ruben Neves drive which flew inches wide and Seagulls keeper Mat Ryan made a fine save to keep out a header from Romain Saiss.

The visitors should have gone ahead after Adam Webster dallied on the ball in his own penalty area and was pickpocketed by Jota.

Neal Maupay's goal got Brighton back on level terms
Neal Maupay’s goal got Brighton back on level terms (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Jota squared the ball to Raul Jimenez but just as the Mexican shaped to shoot Dunk got a foot in.

Not that it mattered, as moments later the same duo combined to fire Wolves in front.

Jota collected the ball on halfway, sent Jimenez down the left and then raced into the area to meet the cross and sidefoot home.

Jota was denied a second by Ryan after racing through one-on-one, and the miss quickly proved costly when Brighton launched an astonishing turnaround.

First Maupay latched on to a ball over the top from Dale Stephens and crashed a superb first-time shot inside the near post.

Davy Propper put Brighton in front with a fine header
Davy Propper put Brighton in front with a fine header (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Then Wolves, who moments earlier had been in cruise control, were stunned again 90 seconds later when Trossard pulled the ball back and Propper thumped his header home.

It was Dutch midfielder Propper’s first home goal for Brighton, more than two years after joining the club, but it took him just eight minutes to cancel it out as a breathless first half came to a close.

Propper’s blind pass sideways rolled straight to Jonny, who was able to slip in Jota for his second to equalise.

After the break Dunk survived a VAR check after blocking Jota’s close-range shot, with Wolves claiming a handball which would have been harsh.

Wolves could have snatched the win late on when Patrick Cutrone reached the byline and pulled the ball back but fellow sub Pedro Neto was unable to provide the finish.

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