In summarising QPR’s home defeat to Huddersfield yesterday, Ian Holloway was only too happy to offer up his usual soundbite for the boys in the press office.
“Unfortunately, this league is about taking your chances, and we created more than enough. That’s what a venomous snake does to you. It bites you – and we got bitten twice.”
It’s fair to say Newcastle were less venomous more python-like in their performance, strangling the life out of any attack Wolves could muster and moving in for the kill when their punch-drunk opponents had run out of ideas.
We can probably feel hard done by in the sense that their goalscorer shouldn’t have been on the pitch to tap in his 44th minute winner.
Aleksandar Mitrovic had already been booked when he chose to ‘leave one’ on Carl Ikeme after the goalkeeper had taken possession. It was a definite second yellow if not a straight red in it’s own right.
But that doesn’t forgive what felt like a soft concession to the league leaders, which gave them something to hold onto in a game where they barely exited second gear.
Rafa Benitez is an outstanding coach and his team looked comfortable in their shape and nigh-on impossible to breakdown.
Helder Costa was tightly marked and barely involved, save for a few cute passes in the first half that almost opened things up.
And without the Portuguese winger conjuring any real moment of quality in the final third Wolves were far too one dimensional in and around the box.
Bright Enobokhare was enjoying a good game, quite often slaloming away from tackles and picking out good passes.
Once he was inexplicably taken off on the hour in favour of playing two up front things only got progressively worse.
Both Dicko and Bodvarsson offer moments of promise in their all round play, but neither look capable of finding the net with anything like the consistency required.
I just hope that not signing that natural finisher we’ve been crying out for this season won’t come back to bite us come May.
The general performance of the team wasn’t too bad. There was some good spells of possession and some decent incisive passes through the middle third of the pitch.
Jack Price was central to most of those good moments so it was disappointing to see him go off with an injury at half time. Lee Evans didn’t have the same influence.
But ultimately it’s those same frailties that continue to haunt us – the dreaded lapse in concentration when defending routine balls into the box and not nearly enough venom when circling our prey.