By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At the Sports Direct Arena
Newcastle United 2 (Cisse 6, Gutierrez 18)
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 (Jarvis 50, Doyle 66)
Newcastle were forced to settle for a point and a 2-2 draw against Wolves at the Sports Direct Arena on Saturday, despite being two up at half-time.
Goals from Papiss Cisse and Jonas Gutierrez put the hosts firmly in control at the break, but Wanderers hit back to earn a share of the spoils through Matt Jarvis and Kevin Doyle.
Cisse diverted home a Cheick Tiote shot with just six minutes on the clock, before Gutierrez sent home a rising strike into the top corner to give the hosts a comfortable advantage with less than 20 minutes played. And it looked like it was a case of job done as United looked to maintain their 100 per cent home record in 2012.
But Wolves had other ideas and Jarvis' deflected shot snuck in early in the second half, before Doyle stabbed home the equaliser.
The visitors were a completely different proposition to their first half display, where they offered very little going forward but arguably created their best chance inside the opening 45 seconds. Jamie O'Hara fed Doyle, and the Irish striker raced forward, jinked past Mike Williamson, but could only fire tamely straight at Tim Krul.
However, after weathering some early visiting pressure, United broke the deadlock on six minutes thanks to number nine Cisse, with his second goal in as many home games.
An oustanding stop from Wayne Hennessey looked to have averted the danger, but as Wolves failed to clear their lines Cheick Tiote drilled in a strike from the edge of the area, to which Cisse stuck out a leg and turned it into the top corner.
On 17 minutes, only the fingertips of Hennessey prevented United from doubling their advantage as he turned over full-back Danny Simpson's long range effort.
But the Welsh international stopper was powerless as, from the resulting corner, Gutierrez bagged a screamer to make it 2-0. The visitors twice couldn't get out of their own box, and Gutierrez smashed home an unstoppable strike from 25 yards to make them pay.
It was the winger's third goal in as many games against Wolves - having netted in this fixture last season, and when the sides met earlier in this campaign.
The Magpies were firmly in control but weren't done there. After linking neatly with Cisse, strike partner Ba struck narrowly wide with the aid of a deflection and the presence of Williamson caused Wanderers problems from the corner that followed.
However, with the half hour mark approaching, Wolves served notice that they were far from out of the contest as Doyle rose highest at the near post to flick a header across goal and agonisingly just inches past the far upright.
Back at the other end, Cisse suffered the same fate with a header of his own, before turning provider to tee up Ryan Taylor, but the wide man's close range shot was blocked.
Wolves made a bright opening to the second half and were rewarded within five minutes as Jarvis halved the deficit. A long punt forward from Hennessey was latched upon by Doyle and he fed Jarvis out on the left, with the winger cutting inside and finding the far corner of the net thanks to a deflection off Simpson.
United's response was immediate as they sought to re-establish a two-goal advantage, and Cabaye wasn't far away with a low strike from the edge of the area, before Hennessey was quick off his line to dive at the feet of Gutierrez.
Wolves full-back Stephen Ward almost snatched an equaliser int he 60th minute when he was allowed to race into the box and fire a low shot through a clutch of players, but thankfully for the hosts Krul was alert to the danger and got down well to save at his near post.
But within seconds of the pair being introduced, Wolves were level. O'Hara swung a free-kick deep into the danger zone, and Doyle first made a nuisance of himself in the air, before prodding home the loose ball from a couple of yards.
With ten minutes remaining Pardew made his final switch of the afternoon, bringing on striker Shola Ameobi for midfielder Tiote, and the big front man made an instant impact, using his strength to winning a corner in front of the Gallowgate End.
As the clock ticked away, fellow replacement Ben Arfa twice threatened - first seeing his low ball into the box cut out by Richard Stearman, before curling a left-footed effort inches wide of the far post.
And that was as good as it got in the closing stages, with United surely left to rue two points dropped, rather than one gained.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Ryan Taylor (Danny Guthrie 65), Cheick Tiote (Shola Ameobi 80), Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse (Hatem Ben Arfa 65), Demba Ba
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, James Perch, Gabriel Obertan
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-5-1): Wayne Hennessey; Ronald Zubar, Christophe Berra, Richard Stearman, Stephen Ward (c); Kevin Foley (Nenad Milijas 90), Karl Henry, David Edwards, Jamie O'Hara (Michael Kightly 70), Matt Jarvis (Stephen Hunt 85); Kevin Doyle
Subs not used: Dorus De Vries, Jody Craddock, Roger Johnson, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)
Attendance: 52,287 (1550 Wolves)