Newcastle handed a reality check by Wolves

Newcastle handed a reality check by Wolves

Rafael Benitez's worst fears were realised as Newcastle's Sky Bet Championship promotion bubble was burst in emphatic style by Wolves.

Chancel Mbemba's own goal and a second from Helder Costa ended the Magpies' five-game league winning streak on an afternoon when the hosts were a shadow of the side which trounced QPR 6-0 at Loftus Road in midweek.

Strikers Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and midfielder Costa were simply too hot to handle and with Newcastle, who had Vurnon Anita sent off for a late challenge on substitute Ivan Cavaleiro, drastically under-performing all over the pitch, the visitors were good value for the points in front of a bumper crowd of 52,117 at St James' Park.

Where the home side had been fluent and incisive at QPR, they were ponderous and careless with Wolves exploiting their lethargy to enjoy much the better of the first half in particular.

Debutant Romain Saiss had already headed over from a corner when Bodvarsson struck the crossbar after his initial shot had been blocked and Costa's follow-up saved by Matz Sels.

Newcastle finally worked their way into the game and it took a fine save by Carl Ikeme to keep out Ayoze Perez's first-time shot from Matt Ritchie's 22nd-minute cross.

However, they fell behind seven minutes later when Mbemba headed Bodvarsson's driven cross into his own net, the first goal the Magpies had conceded in 524 minutes of football.

Sels had to repel a Saiss free-kick five minutes before the break to keep his side in it, but as Benitez headed for the dressing room, he did so with a pained expression.

Jamaal Lascelles saw a 47th-minute shot blocked after the Wolves defence had only half-cleared a Ritchie corner and Dwight Gayle headed wide from Anita's cross on the hour, but the Magpies continued to be laboured in their approach despite dominating possession.

They were made to pay two minutes later when Costa was allowed time and space to curl a left-foot effort across Sels and inside the far post to extend the visitors' lead.

It might have been worse for Newcastle had Bodvarsson not cleared the crossbar with a shot on the turn with 19 minutes remaining, although Jonjo Shelvey went just wide with a volley three minutes later as Benitez's men fought desperately for a way back into the game.

Substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic was denied by Ikeme's legs after bursting through and Shelvey smashed a free-kick over, but there was no way back.