Wolves earn a pre-xmas boostBy: DJ | December 21st, 2012
It was a long way from the end of the world for Wolves as they gained a precious win by the seaside on Friday night to maintain their recent run of improved results and set themselves up for an improved second half to the season. As expected Pennant for the injured Sigurdarson was the only Wolves change from the team that lost at Middlesbrough last week;
Foley, Johnson, Berra, Ward
Pennant, Doyle, Sako
Wolves made the brighter start with Pennant making an early impact. He got through on the right and put in a dangerous cross and in less than three minutes put in a through ball for Ebanks Blake to run on to and put Wolves ahead with a confident finish. The next 20 minutes passed by without many incidents but Blackpool were gradually getting on top mainly via the skills of Thomas Ince on the right hand side. He got behind Ward on the half hour and his cross was inches away from Wes Thomas who would have had an open goal. And from the next attack Ince cut inside beating a couple of defenders before laying the ball off to Gomez who hit the post from 10 yards out.
Henry did well to head a dangerous cross out for a corner as Wolves were kept on the back foot, before Sako won a corner to take the pressure off temporarily and from the corner Johnson had a header blocked. But in an increasingly open game Ince again got through and when Ikeme blocked his shot there appeared to be a clear chance for Thomas but he couldn’t control his header at an unguarded goal.
Blackpool started the second period the better and it took an excellent block by Ward to stop Ince getting an early leveller. From the resulting corner half time sub Taylor-Fletcher had a header blocked. Almost all of the threat from the home team was coming from the right wing but when a ball came in from the left there was a glancing header from Gomes that Ikeme did well to push out. But the ball was hammered back goalwards by Ince and Ikeme made another good save to push the ball out for a corner. From the corner the ball fell to Ince who hit a good shot from the edge of the box that brought the third fine save in a minute from the Wolves keeper as he dived full length to turn the ball out for a corner. And Wolves were hanging on as the corner hit the near post.
Blackpool dominated the first half of the second period and Wolves made a change as Davis replaced a clearly unhappy Doumbia. And the young midfielder played his part in Wolves finally getting some prolonged possession to ease the pressure. And spending time in the Blackpool half reaped its benefit after 70 minutes when Sako got in on the left and cut in along the byeline only to be halted when his shirt was pulled inside the area. Ebanks Blake smashed the resulting penalty straight down the middle into the net.
That second goal deflated Blackpool and SEB should have completed his hat trick when a David Davis through ball sent him clear of the defence but after side stepping the keeper he hit the bobbling ball over the bar. And a couple of minutes later the home team got a lifeline. Sub Dicko’s shot was blocked by Ikeme but Baptiste was on hand to head in the rebound. But Blackpool were not able to seriously threaten to get an equaliser in the remaining 5 minutes with a shot straight at Ikeme their only goal attempt.
Ikeme – turning into a top class keeper and made three excellent saves in quick succession in the second half
Foley – good steady performance on the right of defence
Johnson – not really troubled by the Blackpool attack
Berra – another sound performance
Ward – troubled in the first half by the impressive Ince but held his own after the break
Pennant – made a bright start and set up the first goal before fading and picking up a tight hamstring
Henry – the best outfield player on the night, won a lot of balls in the middle of the park and played his passes sensibly
Doumbia – had a reasonable game before being taken off in the second half, a decision he was clearly unhappy with
Sako – the most likely to make things happen in the attacking third again and yet another assist to win the penalty
Doyle – didn’t make a great impact in a deeper role that doesn’t really suit him
Ebanks Blake – took his goal and the penalty very efficiently and held the ball up well
Davis – has made a series of good performances from the bench in recent weeks and a starting position looks likely to come soon
Forde – late replacement for Pennant
So three wins in four for Wolves now and things are looking a lot more comfortable. With a transfer window and some players coming back from injury there is cause for some optimism at last. But first there is a real opportunity of further progress up the league with home games against Peterborough and Ipswich before the year is out. And seeing Wolves, at least temporarily near to half way in the league on Friday night, it will be a happier xmas for Wolves supporters than was looking likely a couple of weeks ago.