Wolves fight back from the brinkBy: DJ | March 16th, 2013
In what looked like a must win game at Molineux against Bristol City, Wolves fought back from the brink of defeat and the edge of relegation to gain a vital success that raised hope that the dreaded second successive demotion might yet be avoided. In a low quality game it looked for a long time that Wolves would not find the answers but there was immense relief around the stands as the vital result was found when all was beginning to look lost.
There were three changes to the team that lost at Forest last week as Saunders continued his regular tinkering in a bid to find the results the club are searching for. Robinson replaced the suspended Ward. Davis got his chance in place of Henry, and Doyle came in for Sigurdarson and was made captain;
Doherty, Johnson, Gorkss, Robinson
Edwards, Davis, O’Hara, Sako
Doyle, Ebanks Blake
Wolves create the first opportunity as Doyle gets to the byeline and hits the ball low across the face of the goal with nobody on hand to get the vital touch. But soon after Bristol get an even better chance as Davies is sent through on the right of Wolves area and he shot across the goal and wide of the far post.
Jack Robinson made a bright start for Wolves and beat two players before setting Sako free on the left and then gets in a fair but bone crushing tackle on City right back Anderson who has to leave the field injured and is replaced by sub Adomah. The game had degenerated into a low quality affair with both teams punting long balls upfield and midway through the first half a goalless draw could easily be imagined. But City were to take the lead after 25 minutes with one of the most calamitous goals Wolves have ever conceded. Ikeme played a poor ball out to Davis who under pressure had no choice but to knock the ball back to the keeper. It was not the best of back passes by Davis and was bouncing awkwardly but it was still unbelievable that Ikeme allowed the ball to pass between his legs for a farcical own goal.
Wolves tried to hit back immediately and forced two corners and from the second there was a half chance for Edwards whose shot was deflected over. Then it went from bad to worse for Wolves as star man Sako pulls up with a hamstring problem. He is replaced by Hunt who doesn’t get the best of welcomes from the home fans after his poor performance in the last Molineux game.
Ikeme seems affected by the own goal and his kicking was going to pieces and there was a further problem for the home team as Edwards has to leave the field injured to be replaced by Sigurdarson and we had now seen two Wolves subs and one for Bristol after only 38 minutes. There are inevitable boos as the teams leave the field at half time. Wolves looked every inch a relegation team as the half moved on and Bristol looked no better but had the goal lead gifted to them.
There was a surprise as the teams came out for the second half with De Vries replacing Ikeme in the Wolves goal. The opening phases of the second half had no goalmouth action at all and both teams looking live relegation contenders. But Saunders continued tinkering with the team and moved Doyle wide with Sigurdarson taking a central striking role alongside SEB. And there are ironic cheers from the home fans as Sigurdarson brings a save out of the Bristol keeper midway through the half for Wolves first shot on target. But the shot was to lead to Wolves starting to test the visitors and Sigurdarson shot over from a half chance and then a fine crossfield pass from Davis picked out Doherty beyond the far post who turned the ball back goalwards only to see a defender head the ball away from under the bar.
It was better from Wolves now and Ebanks Blake who had been Wolves best attacker headed over before he collected a Hunt cross back to goal and hit a fine shot on the turn to put Wolves level after 76 minutes. And he had the ball in the net again soon after but an offside flag was waving. But the home fans only had to wait two more minutes to see their team take a vital lead. Fine work on the left by Hunt was followed by a pinpoint cross headed in by Doyle. Wolves saw time out comfortably for a vital three points that all will be hoping will prove to be a turning point in their season.
Ikeme – had done fine early on but cannot be excused for letting in the comical Bristol goal. Not sure if there were any other reasons for him being taken off at half time but if not then it would go down as terrible man management by Saunders to not give him the opportunity to restore his confidence after being an important player in Wolves season so far.
Doherty – fully established in the Right Back spot and had another decent game
Johnson – good game defensively and a threat going forward for corners
Gorkss – solid game defensively
Robinson – his best game for Wolves so far and particularly impressive in the first half hour
Edwards – no real impression in the wide right position before going off injured before the break
Davis – justified his selection with some good tackles and almost set up a goal for Doherty
O’Hara – remains in disappointing form after his return from injury
Sako – had a quiet game until being forced off with a hamstring injury that is a massive blow for Wolves
Doyle – worked hard but no real threat to the Bristol defence until coming up with the vital winner that will hopefully give him some confidence
Ebanks Blake – worked really hard and got the important first goal and I made him Wolves best player on the day
Hunt – didn’t get a great reception when he came on and he looked as out of touch as the last home game when he first came on. But got better and better as the game went on, had a hand in both goals, and went from zero to hero in the hearts of Wolves fans
Sigurdarson – replaced Edwards on the right and made little impression until moved to a striker role than played a big part in getting Wolves back into the game
De Vries – had a steady reintroduction to the team with not a lot to do
So a massive relief and a vital win. With Peterborough and Barnsley winning there was no improvement in the league position but if Wolves had lost today they would have been close to dead and buried so it was so important to turn the game around. Time will tell if it proves to be a pivotal moment in the season but they go into the International break in a better frame of mind for sure. Next up will be Middlesbrough at home on Easter Saturday and Birmingham away on the Monday and hopefully those games will see further steps in the right direction.