Wolves find a point against BrightonBy: DJ | November 10th, 2012
Wolves drew at home for the third successive match in a game that was at times boring, bizarre, occasionally brilliant and ultimately fully entertaining in the latter stages. The end to end action at the end of the game certainly lifted the spirits of the supporters who got behind the team in the adversity of having to play more than half the game with ten men.
Solbakken recalled Foley, Pennant and Ebanks Blake but left out Doumbia in a team playing a similar shape to what we have become used to but with Edwards playing more forward than Doumbia usually occupies;
Foley, Johnson, Berra, Ward
Pennant, Edwards, Sako
Ebanks Blake, Doyle
The early stages had all the marks of another bore fest for Wolves fans with their team failing to get any possession in their opponents half in the first 15 minutes, as Brighton passed the ball around neatly. But midway through the half Wolves took the lead with their first serious penetration of the Seagulls defence and an excellent goal it was. Sako played the ball in to Doyle in the area who laid the ball off ideally for Sako who ran onto the return pass and drilled the ball into the net. It was not a thrilling game and Brighton’s superior passing was making them likely to get back into the game and they equalised 3 minutes before the break when Sako gave the ball away on the left and Lopez scored from the resulting cross.
Two minutes later came a crucial moment in the game when Karl Henry lunged in to try to beat a Brighton player to the ball in midfield. It was an aggressive challenge by the Wolves skipper and the referee had no hesitation in showing a straight red card. And Wolves had gone from ahead to level and a man down in the space of a couple of minutes.
Doumbia replaced the ineffective Ebanks Blake at the break and Brighton missed a clear chance right at the start of the half when the ball fell to Lopez 6 yards out but he shot over. Ikeme then made a couple of saves as the man advantage looked set to give Brighton the game, and Johnson didn’t help the cause by gifting the ball to Lopez who was left with a free run on goal but Ikeme blocked his shot. Sigurdarson came on for the disappointing Pennant as Wolves looked to stem the tide but they were hardly in the game at this stage.
When Sigurdarson tried to break forward he was fouled but the ref waved play on as the ball ran to Doumbia who smashed a curling right foot shot into the net from 30 yards to put Wolves back in front out of the blue. Brighton nearly squared things up again with a header against the bar and suddenly we had an exciting game as Wolves should have increased their lead soon after when a Sako corner found Johnson’s head but he put it wide when he should have scored. Wolves were pushing more forward now but a crisp breakaway from Brighton saw them equalise again with 20 minutes left. And the away team were dominating again now and Solbakken replaced Edwards with the more defensive Davis to try to hold on to what they had. Johnson saved them temporarily with an excellent clearance off the line.
It looked like Wolves would secure an honourable draw but were undone when referee Mathieson awarded Brighton a penalty that seemed extremely harsh. A back heel from an attacker hit the arm of Ward who was no more than two yards away an could do nothing to avoid the ball striking him, especially from a back heel, but Brighton took advantage and took the lead for the first time when Dobbie converted from the spot.
Wolves threw men forward and a Doumbia effort was cleared off the line and then they remarkably managed to rescue a point in the second minute of injury time when Johnson headed in from a Sako corner.
Ikeme – no faults for the goals and made some good saves
Foley – did ok but seemed often to be caught with the through ball inside him in the 2nd half
Johnson – busy afternoon with some excellent clearances, some sloppy defending and the late equaliser
Berra – Battled hard against some constant Brighton attacking
Ward – not much chance to overlap but defended well
Pennant – been a disappointment so far
Henry – steady enough until another sending off
Edwards – worked hard but gave the ball away a few times
Sako – scored another and made another but for large parts was not at his best
Ebanks Blake – not finding the form that made him a star last time Wolves were at this level
Doyle – no scoring chances but did some great work in deep positions
Doumbia – good goal and had an effort cleared off the line
Sigurdarson and Davis were late subs
So ultimately a game that provided great entertainment and that restored some faith that there is spirit at least in this squad as they found some inspiration to make it a contest after losing Henry. Lets hope they can use this to get some momentum back in their season and climb back up the table.