Newcastle 2-2 Wolves

Terry Connor (foreground) with Alan Pardew (background)

Terry Connor's reign as Wolves manager got off to a promising start as they came from two goals down to earn a draw at Newcastle.

Connor was and given 13 games to save the west Midlands club from relegation.

But they fell behind to a sixth-minute Papiss Cisse goal before Jonas Gutierrez doubled Newcastle's lead.

However, Matt Jarvis's strike gave Wolves hope and Kevin Doyle secured Connor's side a deserved point.

The reputation of Wolves owner Steve Morgan and chief executive Jez Moxey will stand or fall with the success of Connor, who has spent over a decade on the staff at Molineux but has never managed at a professional club.

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Only ourselves to blame - Pardew

In Friday's news conference, the pair offered an eloquent and heartfelt defence of the recruitment process that led to Connor's appointment, insisting they were "delighted" with their choice.

With "13 cup finals" - including this - to play, only confident, disciplined and spirited performances on the pitch will save Wanderers from the drop.

While it was not entirely disciplined, especially in the first quarter of the match, Wolves' increasingly confident display left no doubt as to their strength of spirit.

Under Mick McCarthy, Connor's predecessor, Wolves' Achilles heel was their defensive frailty: they conceded 49 goals in 25 Premier League games.

But the new boss made three changes to his back-line - including dropping captain Roger Johnson - and, barring one costly slip from Christophe Berra for the opening goal, they were much more compact and organised.

Connor was not helped by the absence of top-scorer Steven Fletcher with a virus, but Doyle's work-rate was exceptional and it was fitting that he scored the equalising goal.

Alan Pardew's appointment as Newcastle boss in 2010 was greeted by fans with similar incredulity to Connor's, but he slowly won over the Toon Army, thanks in part to an 11-game unbeaten run at the start of this season.

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Connor enjoys "vital" draw at Newcastle

Taught a harsh lesson during their last week, Newcastle started this game superbly.

Yohan Cabaye robbed Berra and teed up Demba Ba for a backheeled shot that was saved and half-cleared, but, from Cheick Tiote's scuffed attempt, Cisse was able to side-foot home.

Then, Doyle headed a long ball only as far as Gutierrez, who took a touch before hammering a shot from 30 yards into the same top corner Cisse had found 12 minutes earlier.

Even with less than a quarter of the game gone it was difficult to see how Wolves could come back, but Connor's first half-time team-talk rejuvinated his side.

After a period of dominance, Jarvis picked up a Doyle pass on the edge of the area and curled a shot beyond Tim Krul courtesy of a deflection off Danny Simpson.

On the hour, Newcastle's Mike Williamson failed to clear a long ball into the six-yard box and Doyle was on hand to hook home from close range to make it 2-2, a scoreline which, barring a brace of 20-yard efforts from home substitute Hatem Ben Arfa that flew past the post, Wolves comfortably held until the final whistle.

Despite the lost points, Newcastle still have their eye on the top four. For Connor and Wolves, there are 12 "cup finals" to go.

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