Home win leaves Pardew happy
The Magpies' victory at St James' Park - just their second in 10 league games - eased the club seven points clear of the drop zone with seven games to go and left Wolves in 19th place. It was exactly what Pardew was looking for after a 4-0 drubbing at Stoke a fortnight earlier. He said: "If you work for the football club here in Newcastle, football up here is a religion to some people, it really is taken that seriously. "Everywhere we went, we were reminded of how important this fixture was. It wasn't lost on the dressing room, rest assured of that, and we made sure we won that game today. "Harps [keeper Steve Harper] said before we went out, 'Whatever it takes, let's make sure we win this game', and we did that. "The performance at Stoke just started ringing a few alarm bells. But it was a one-off game at Stoke. It didn't go for us, it didn't work out, but we were back to what we are about today." First half-goals from skipper Kevin Nolan and striker Shola Ameobi gave the home side a deserved lead at the break, and the game looked to be all over when Peter Lovenkrands added a third with 50 minutes gone. Wolves rallied after Sylvan Ebanks-Blake pulled one back eight minutes later, but the points were safe when Jonas Gutierrez produced a fine run and finish in injury time to finally kill off the visitors. Newcastle went ninth as a result and, significantly for their fans, edged ahead of derby rivals Sunderland, who play at Manchester City on Sunday. However, Pardew is well aware that the job is not yet complete with a tricky trip to Aston Villa to come next Sunday. He said: "We are definitely safer, but I don't even want to think about Villa because, at the moment, me and [assistant manager] John [Carver] could be putting our kit on. "We will savour today, but we are going to have to do a lot of work between now and Villa next Sunday because we have got one or two missing and one or two injured today." The only disappointment for the Magpies was Nolan's 10th yellow card of the season, which will see him banned for the Villa and Manchester United games. He was booked for a cynical 43rd-minute challenge on Adam Hammill after the winger had broken free down the right, but Wolves boss Mick McCarthy felt the punishment was appropriate. He said: "It's not a sending-off, no way, but what really irks me is how everybody has tried to spin this game that we were some kind of two-headed monster coming up here to kick everybody. "Of course, every tackle was greeted with derision and it was the worst one on the pitch, that one. "It was the most cynical, the most professional and premeditated and there was not a bleeding word said. You could hear a pin drop. "But it's not a sending-off, it's a yellow card. I don't blame him for doing it. You take one for the team. "But don't be griping at my lads because they, heaven forbid, tackle somebody." McCarthy was philosophical in defeat, but admitted Nolan's opening goal should have been avoided. He said: "You saw the Keystone Cops goal we conceded, the first one. It was really poor. "We know Nolan runs on - it's a good finish when he gets it, but come on, if that happened tomorrow morning when we were watching our kids, you wouldn't be happy about it."