An apology (a half-arsed one) in advance. Much of this match report moans about stuff we can’t change or fix. Lots of things are rubbish for lots of people. Football isn’t that important in that context but then also if you’re in a tier 2 or 3 region, you can’t even watch the match with your mates and get it out your system there. So I’m doing it here.

I’ll start with a confession. I wasn’t that arsed when Jacob Murphy did that. A sense of admiration  for the winger turned full back who has probably been told directly or otherwise that he isn’t good enough. Well on today’s performance he is, or he could be. Either way it was a lovely goal that earned United a point.

It’s hardly a fair fight but I consider my reaction down with 1,599 others at Bournemouth last season (2019 could be 1999 – it feels so long ago). That Matt Ritchie equaliser was almost better than any winner I’ve seen live. Maybe it was timing, the brilliance of the strike, the performance that warranted at least a point and probably more.

More likely it was being at a football match, travelling down on the Friday with my mates and then the wonders of an away game so far away it’s an away weekend. This version of football matches this version of NUFC. Without fans in the ground I feel like we’re forever in an end of season loop where the games just don’t matter as much. I don’t watch any fixtures over a weekend because they aren’t real to me. It’s just fulfilling fixtures. So Jacob Murphy grabs a point and hooray for him and yes we’ve a point. One more on the march to a total in the low 40’s. I cannot her enthused about it.

One of the issues with games like that is I’ve seen it all before. It’s like we’re on this loop. We went to Wolves 2018 and they had all the ball and most of the shots but we got a draw. We did it again in January this year. Then again today. There’s differences in each game but a point when a point was maybe fair. Can’t wait for next years low scoring instalment of the Wolves-Newcastle United show.

There were some positives. United defended better. Jamal Lascelles looked like a defender again. Jamaal Lewis was decent and Almiron, despite being played in a mad position was tireless and effective. He starts every week for me, through the middle, behind Wilson. Murphy at right wing back seemed baffling pre-game but was the correct call and the manager got that one right.

Joelinton wasn’t playing. So that was good. Then you have Allain Saint-Maximin, our best player on the wing. So he was moved central and was ineffective just like he has been when started there against Brighton and Liverpool previously. Please stop that, Steve.

The rest of the game was turgid and as much as Wolves tried to score, Karl Darlow pulled off some smart waves  but nothing more than that. You might call their goal an error but it’s terrible defending, terrible awareness and if you ask a goal keeper to keep you in games week after week eventually one of them will go in when it shouldn’t.

The problem with today is although the point is fine (maybe even good) it doesn’t solve anything. We still rarely attack sides nevermind score. Back to three centre backs – the formation we played for four months under Rafa Benitez – but we’re told is the only way the players know how to play despite it largely going horribly wrong when we play it. We certainly looked more solid today, but we have managed to go backwards since the impressive opening day win at West Ham. I’ve no idea where this side is going, what it’s trying to do (apart from not get beat) and we approach games like lower league opposition (apart from Newport who created far more against us than we did against Wolves).

I was impressed when Steve Bruce came in and talked a lot progress. I’m not impressed now. Not a single person I know was remotely arsed about this game in advance. No anticipation, no nerves and no joy in Newcastle United playing. The game proved them right. You can be happy with a late goal and a point at Wolves. Loads of people I know are looking past fortunate results and listless, pointless football. Newcastle United played well this season against West Ham and Burnley but have been dire in almost every other game. If that’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for you.

It’s getting to the stage where turning to up to the match could feel like routine rather than anything meaningful. It’s getting that way about watching us on television. While the manager is here there’s always another game and always a chance to get better. 6 wins from 27 in the league. Let’s hope we get better, and fast.

Alex Hurst