Doyle turns it around for WolvesBy: DJ | October 26th, 2013
Wolves gained an excellent away win at Bradford to maintain their bid for a first season promotion from League One and now stand in second place, three points behind leaders Orient, and with a game in hand. It was a hard earned success against a team that look plenty good enough to gain a play off position and with excellent support, but not for the first time this season Wolves just had that extra quality to see them through.
Jackett made a couple of changes from the team that beat Oldham on Tuesday. Stearman came in at right back for the injured Doherty and Davis replaced the ill Price. But there was again only a place on the bench for Kevin Doyle where there was also a place for the previously alienated Jamie O’Hara;
Stearman, Batth, Ricketts, Golbourne
Henry, McDonald, Sako
Bradford started the better and a cross from the right goes straight through everyone and out on the opposite side and then after Hanson’s knock down Ricketts gets in a good block on Reid’s shot. The home team were pressing Wolves well in a noisy stadium and there was little opportunity for Wolves to build from the back and little happening for Wolves in the attacking third. And the home team’s early domination gets its reward after 13 minutes when a cross from the left saw De Vita and Golbourne in a challenge in the air in the far post. Neither won the ball cleanly and when the ball fell to the ground De Vita got in a shot that was cleared off the line by Batth but the ball rebounded back to De Vita who scored at the second attempt.
A number of Wolves players were slipping on the surface with Stearman, Ricketts and Sako all getting into trouble that way. Wolves finally get an attempt at goal when Henry released Griffiths on the left of the area and his cross shot went wide. But Bradford were well on top with a game linked around their big centre forward Hanson while nothing was sticking for Wolves in the Bradford half and the home team looking well capable of increasing their lead. And halfway through the first period Jackett takes some action to try to change things by taking off Evans and bringing on Doyle.
The effect Doyle had on the game was remarkable as Wolves almost instantaneously went from poor second best to the better team. Suddenly the ball was sticking in the opponents half and Wolves were getting good possession. Doyle has a header saved and then his low cross is cut out just before it reached Henry. But 6 minutes after the change Wolves were level. A cross is only half cleared and Henry’s shot from the edge of the box seems to go straight through keeper McLaughlin. And within three minutes Wolves are in front. Henry’s corner is cleared back out to him but his second cross is glanced in at the near post by Stearman.
Wolves were now well on top and Henry is not far away with another long range shot after being set up by Sako, then Doyle’s shot is blocked after being sent in by Griffiths. Half time comes with Wolves ahead and the team are applauded off as they troop past their own fans towards the tunnel. All cheered except O’Hara that is who gets a fair amount of boos as he had when his name was announced at the beginning. Does Jackett really want to divide the fans by bringing him back, expecially as things are going well.
The second half started with Nakhi Wells off the bench for the home team on his comeback from injury and he looks a handful immediately as his cross flies across the face of the Wolves goal with nobody getting a touch. Wolves are forced into a change as Stearman limped off to be replaced by Ebanks Landell. Wells was leading Bradford back into the game but from a break Wolves were close to creating a clear chance but Sako’s attempt to find the unmarked Henry was intercepted. Then Wells shot just wide before Reid went down in the area under a challenge from Ikeme leading to huge appeals for a penalty but Reid is booked for diving.
Griffiths shot just wide but Bradford were pressing hard for an equaliser and Ikeme made a brilliant double save to foil Wells. And its a match winning save as the last few minutes are largely passed by Doyle, Sako and Golbourne retaining possession down by the left hand corner.
Ikeme – top class keeper nowadays and he late save from Wells was excellent
Stearman – did a sound job at right back although slipped a few times on the pitch, and took his goal well
Batth – safe as ever
Ricketts – a steady hand in the Wolves defence against as good an attack as they have faced
Golbourne – had a good game and retains possession well
Henry – really shown his value in the last couple of games and looks a very good signing
Davis – frustrates fans with some loose passes at times but won lots of tackles in midfield today
Evans – didn’t get into the match much before being taken off midway through the first half in a tactical change
McDonald – battled hard in the midfield in a very competitive match
Sako – gave the ball away cheaply a lot in the first half but improved as the match went on
Griffiths – worked off half chances only today but had three decent efforts across the face of goal
Doyle – made a mountain of difference when he came on just as he did against Sheffield United a couple of weeks ago. Surely Jackett must have learned today that he is a massive asset to the Wolves attack and cannot be left out
Ebanks Landell – replaced Stearman after an hour and played right back. Played a lot of loose passes early on but then settled to do ok
Sigurdarson – replaced Griffiths for the last ten minutes and made a decent contribution
So an excellent win for Wolves against a good home team. It was a surprise that Doyle was not in from the beginning and it was good that Jackett was prepared to make the early change to bring him in. Don’t leave him out again Kenny! Next game is Stevenage at Molineux next Saturday before the game in hand at Carlisle on November 5th. Successes in those games will put Wolves level on points with Orient at the top of the table