Wolves get a point and a clean sheetBy: DJ | February 16th, 2013
Wolves manager Dean Saunders said last week that poor defending had cost the last three managers at the club their jobs and that he needed to do something to make sure he wasn’t the fourth. So he will be pleased that his team got a clean sheet at Derby and earned another point in their bid to climb up the table.
He made three changes to the team that drew with Leeds last week with new loan signing Kaspar Gorkss making his debut instead of Christophe Berra, Sigurdarson recalled to replace Ebanks Blake, and Edwards brought in to replace the unfit Tongo Doumbia;
Foley, Batth, Gorkss, Ward
Edwards, Henry, O’Hara, Sako
Wolves opened the brighter and came close to breaking the deadlock on a few occasions in the opening exchanges. Danny Batth again showed what a danger he is when coming forward for dead ball situations when his header from a Sako corner was blocked in the six yard box. Then a shot from just outside the penalty area by O’Hara was heading for the top corner until home keeper Legzdins produced a fine save to push the ball wide. From another Sako corner Batth put a glancing header wide and should have scored.
The game then settled down into a slow moving ponderous affair with Jamie Ward shooting wide for the home side and then after Edwards headed down, Doyle had the ball back to goal six yards out but showed how much the striker instinct has deserted him by being indecisive until the defenders took the ball away from him. Karl Henry was getting in some strong challenges in midfield like the old days and he earned a yellow card for a late challenge on Coutts. Then O’Hara is furious when the referee misses him getting an elbow in the face that leads to a long hold up to the game while he receives treatment. In the final action of a half that had petered out after a bright start, Henry gave the ball away and Gorkss comes to Wolves rescue by blocking Sammon’s shot.
Sako had hardly got into the game in the first half but he makes an early run after the break and hit a good low shot that had to be turned away by Legzdins. Doyle was then let in by a poor backpass but his attempt to find Sigurdarson was misplaced. Derby were not looking like scoring although Batth had to have treatment after a brave block. Wolves make the first substitution when Ebanks Blake replaced Doyle who had a poor game. Derby were pressing more now and a good header by Sammon was not far wide. And Saunders decided to beef up his midfield by replacing O’Hara with Davis. Pezko replaced Edwards late on and Derby used no subs at all. The game was drifting aimlessly towards a goalless draw but there were 4 minutes injury time added on and in the 6th of those 4 minutes Derby were awarded a free kick just outside the Wolves area for a final chance. Ward’s shot went through the wall but was saved by Ikeme.
Ikeme – after a couple of sub standard showings right back to his best here with confident catching of crosses and an important last minute save
Foley – looked much more the part in the last couple of games
Batth – another fine performance, good defending and a danger from corners when going forward, and settled in like a veteran
Gorkss – big and strong and no frills defender who had a fine debut. Won everything in the air and got in some good blocks
Ward – not much chance to overlap today but a much better defensive showing
Edwards – worked hard as usual
Henry – had a better game. Got in some strong tackles and linked the midfield well. He needs to be allowed to play his game and if that means bookings and suspensions then so be it because you either need to let him do what he does or not play him
O’Hara – important player for Wolves now who makes things happen from the middle of the park although too often today we saw the ball played long over his head
Sako – dangerous when he got in the game, which wasn’t very often
Sigurdarson – won a few in the air and has electric pace. The promise is there but needs to do more
Doyle – Had a really poor game. Not so long ago he was looking Wolves best player in the Premier League but looks a shadow of that player now and a few weeks rest would be best for all concerned
SEB – didn’t make a great impact but gets into the right positions
Davis – did really well when he came on breaking up Derby attacks and playing some good balls forward
Peszko – hardly got a kick
Not a thrilling game but Wolves had more worthwhile attempts on goal than their opponents and defended well on the day. Gorkss and Batth are two big no nonsense centre backs that look ideal for this division and should play their part in giving Wolves a better goals against record. The wins still aren’t coming but there are certainly positives from recent games. But next its a trip to Barnsley on Tuesday night when a home win would put Wolves in a relegation position so a few wins to progress away from that kind of scenario would be welcome and hopefully will come soon.