(N)UFC battle to precious point
Without the context, if you were watching the game at Molineux, you could have been forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of a mixed martial arts session. Out on the streets, Karl Henry could well have been locked up for some of his challenges on Joey Barton.
But despite the less-than-subtle tactics of Mick McCarthy's side, Newcastle literally 'battled' to earn a well-deserved point. After a couple of awful tackles on Barton, it was Newcastle who fashiones the more clear cut chances, with Carroll and Nolan being guilty of spurning opportunities they should have taken.
Yet it was Wolves who took the lead, with a hopeful ball into the box. Perch got caught side trying to cover Williamson's man and Ebanks-Blake did really well to take the flighted ball and with a a good touch, turned and volleyed past Harper for 1-0.
The second half continued in the same fashion, as Barton was dealt some rough justice from most of the Wolves first eleven. The man-with-a-past, on this occasion kept his cool impressively and it was his free-kick which found Andy Carroll, and the young striker added to his tally for the season with a towering header which crashed off the post to level it at 1-1.
It came as no surprise when Barton's first bite back resulted in a yellow card, the referee Stuart Attwell proving beyond any doubt that he is completely out of his depth at this level. The referred missed an obviously legitimate penalty claim for the hosts but it was the visisors who continued to threaten.
And despite the aggressive nature of the Wolves tactics and the intended intimidation, Newcastle came through the test unscathed (save for Carroll's dodgy ankle suffered before this game) and with a point that may be more important than it seems right now.
Large factions of the country's football nation may be waiting for Newcastle United to trip up. And even 'one of our own', Shearer took the opportunity to laugh at the rough treatment of a player he clearly isn't fond of.
Joey Barton may have not done much to endear himself to the English game. Nor has the club as a whole been represented well in recent years, with various well-documented problems. However, for now both Barton and Newcastle United continue to stick two fingers up at the critics.
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