WOLVERHAMPTON, February 12: Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka damaged his side’s bid to avoid relegation for the second successive match as his late howler gifted the Wolverhampton Wanderers a 1-1 draw on Monday.
Rafael Benitez’s side were seconds away from a valuable victory after Isaac Hayden’s first goal since 2017 put them ahead in the second half at Molineux.
Hayden’s goal had come via a weak attempted save from Wolves keeper Rui Patricio.
But it was Dubravka’s clanger at the other end that stole the headlines when the Slovakian allowed a cross to slip through his grasp as Willy Boly headed home deep into stoppage-time.
Dubravka will be public enemy No.1 on Tyneside after his latest gaffe, which came just days after he let Son Heung-min’s shot squirm through his legs to give Tottenham a late winner.
With controversial Newcastle owner Mike Ashley watching from the stands, it was a bitter pill to swallow for Benitez, who refused to protect Dubravka when asked about the equaliser.
“We could do better. These kind of balls you can do a little bit better, punch the ball and it’s finished,” he said.
Asked if he thought Boly had pushed his keeper, Benitez added: “It was not very clear watching the replay. Still, it’s something we have to defend better.
He (Dubravka) has to be strong enough.
“I was not happy with some decisions, but overall I think the referee was fine. You cannot complain about that.”
Newcastle are now only one point above the relegation zone when they would have been three points clear but for Dubravka.
Back from a warm-weather break for a training camp in Marbella, seventh placed Wolves looked like they were still on the beach when Newcastle’s Salomon Rondon was granted too much space for a low shot away that forced Patricio into action.
Wolves eventually hit their stride and made a vigorous appeal for a penalty when Christian Atsu challenged Raul Jimenez, only for referee Graham Scott to wave play on, with replays suggesting he made the right decision. (AFP)