Another week, another inexplicable refereeing decision.
On the general balance of play I don’t begrudge Newcastle the win. Wolves improved after the break and had their say in the game but were always living on the edge defensively.
What I do have a problem with is Nick Pope clearing Raul Jimenez out and both referees somehow coming to the conclusion it wasn’t the most blatant penalty in the history of football.
Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but it’s got to be given. If multiple angles showing a clear foul weren’t enough the resigned look on Pope’s face should have been.
I believe I’m correct in saying that would have been both a penalty and a sending off with Pope not making an attempt for the ball, so it was a pivotal moment that would have turned the game aggressively in our favour.
It wasn’t the only decision that went against us either, with a couple of questionable calls in the build up to their opener.
Having navigated a pummeling in the run up to half time, punctuated only by a superb Podence effort that nearly brought an unlikely equaliser, the start to the second half was much brighter.
Pedro Neto looked a lot sharper than last week and the team played more cohesively with him linking the play down the right.
When Hwang bundled in the leveller it felt like the game was there for us to go on and win.
But Lopetegui’s attempt to repeat last week’s magic trick of moving to a back three went south with the team weaker at both ends after the change.
Ait-Nouri was missing in action for their winning goal and offered zero going forward to compensate. Nunes too jogged around and added nothing other than collecting the ball from defenders and passing it right back to them.
With the five subs already deployed it did feel like the game was up at that point and so it proved.
We pushed right to the end and can take solace from another closely fought game against top of the table opposition, but it definitely goes down as a missed opportunity for a much needed point.
Layer in the injustice of that first half incident and it’s another hard pill to swallow.