In-form Newcastle striker Andy Carroll plays himself into England contention
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Newcastle United 1: A surprise call-up to England's provisional squad now looks likely Andy Carroll after another performance that suggested Fabio Capello will be hard pushed to ignore him for much longer.
An injury to Bobby Zamora could lead to Carroll's elevation from the Under-21s to the senior squad after his fourth goal in two games earned Newcastle a deserved point in a bruising encounter marked by 11 bookings.
Carroll had an ankle problem during the week but this was another performance to impress watching England scouts and he could yet have some part to play in the Euro 2012 campaign.
Chris Hughton, the Newcastle manager, has been pleased with Carroll's efforts this season, but left the England question to Capello. "All I can say is how delighted I've been with what he has given us in the three games he has played," Hughton said. "His overall game and enthusiasm has been great and we have to say he is a player that is developing. He has areas of his game that he can improve but he's certainly a willing learner."
Newcastle announced their return to the land of cash and controversy last weekend with an evisceration of Aston Villa, so Hughton unsurprisingly named the same team who started that 6-0 rout.
It required Stuart Attwell, the referee, to waken Wolves from their early slumber with a number of contentious decisions, and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake headed a David Jones corner against the post in the 25th minute.
But Carroll, the scorer of a hat-trick against Villa, managed a stunning miss four minutes before half-time when he blazed over from six yards after Kevin Nolan's clever weighted pass.
Barely 60 seconds later Ebanks-Blake punished the miss, expertly taking down Jelle Van Damme's deep cross before arrowing a fierce half-volley past Steve Harper.
Attwell infuriated Wolves again early in the second half by refusing to award a penalty after a risky challenge by James Perch on Matt Jarvis. But Carroll made amends for his first-half howler in the 63rd minute by glancing Joey Barton's free-kick past a stranded Marcus Hahnemann.
Wolves' manager, Mick McCarthy, departed the field deep in an exchange of words with Barton. "We were laughing when we came off because he was complaining about some of the tackles! I just said to him it's a tough game," McCarthy said.
"He said that about my team and tackling and I just thought, 'That's the pot calling the kettle black'."