Wolves get draw number 2 for SaundersBy: DJ | January 19th, 2013
Two games in charge for Dean Saunders at Wolves now, and two draws. It was a game in which Wolves were really poor in the first half and were lucky to be level at the break. But they were improved after the break and in the end they had the majority of possession without creating chances.
There was one change from the team that played Blackburn last week with Ebanks Blake coming in for Cassidy;
Zubar, Johnson, Berra, Ward
Foley, Henry, Davis, Sako
Doyle, Ebanks Blake
Wolves had a shot in the first 30 seconds but SEB’s effort dips over the bar. Wednesday had the first clear opportunity but Jermaine Johnson blasted his shot high and wide. Doyle almost got through after ten minutes but is crowded out. Then there was a comedy moment as Ikeme kicked a ball out of his area. Antonio had been standing in front of the Wolves keeper on a few occasions and forcing wide kicks from him but he wished he hadn’t on this occasion as the kick hit him smack in the face and he needed treatment for a few minutes as he was poleaxed.
Wolves were looking increasingly vulnerable in defence and after real confusion Ikeme came to the edge of his area but had to chest the ball away as he was in danger of going outside his area if he caught the ball and when the ball fell to Jermaine Johnson he should have done better with his lob towards the empty goal. Then the same player beat Davis and brought a save out of Ikeme, who also has to save from Antonio. Wolves were hanging on now and from a header from a corner Ikeme clutched the ball under his cross bar and falls right on the goal line in a close call. Then a mix up between Ward and Johnson left Antonio with a chance and he was narrowly wide. Then Johnson heads away directly to Coke who blasted over before more sloppy defending saw Lee miss by inches with a shot from just inside the box.
Wolves had been knocking far too many long balls that were food and drink to the Wednesday central defenders and they failed to get Sako involved in the game at all. Berra and Johnson were both looking shaky in defence and they had Ikeme to thank for still being in the game at half time.
No changes of personnel at the break but a significant change in approach as the formation changed to 4-2-3-1;
Zubar, Johnson, Berra, Ward
Doyle, Foley, Sako
The change meant Wolves cut out the long balls and started playing the ball through the middle of the park and it lead to a significant improvement. At least it showed Saunders was prepared to be flexible but it was clear Wednesday had identified Sako as the Wolves creator and whenever Wolves tried to get him in the game he was surrounded by two and sometimes three defenders.
There was a bizarre incident as a tussle involving Davis saw the ball go out for a Wednesday throw and then Davis blocking the throw with his hand and getting booked. But the ref seemed to forget the handball as he gave the home team a throw rather than a free kick. Then the ref gets it wrong again as Doyle breaks to the edge of the Wednesday area before being hacked down only for play to be waved on.
O’Hara replaced Davis on the hour and Wolves by now were playing much better but from a break Antonio shrugs Berra aside before shooting over with Wolves players surrounding the ref to protest that Berra was fouled. Cassidy replaced Ebanks Blake and then Peszko came on for Sako but the best chance of the game then fell to Wednesday when Antonio misses a cross when it seemed easier to score. Doyle shot over for Wolves from a rare attempt on goal but the home team had the final chance when a cross flashed across goal with nobody able to get a touch.
Ikeme – had an excellent game with a series of good saves and caught some difficult crosses in a crowded area
Zubar – defended ok but some wild clearances. Made some good runs forward in the second half
Johnson – not his steadiest of games with some poor clearances and played team mates into trouble a few times
Berra – looked well off his game today with some poor clearances and caught in possession a few times
Ward – poor passing out of defence and rarely got forward
Foley – busy but not that effective. Moved from the right of midfield to playing behind the striker after the break
Henry – not able to cut out Wednesday players running at the defence and contributed nothing to building attacks
Davis – ineffective game and probably too similar to Henry to form a good partnership with him
Sako – never able to get into the game and literally hardly had a kick in the first 40 minutes
Doyle – had a few runs at the defence and a couple of shots but never really looks like scoring many
SEB – no look in first half and not suited to the lone striker role he performed after the break
O’Hara – added some passing control when he came on and must be ready for a start soon
Peszko – a lively late cameo performances as he did last week
Cassidy – won a couple of headers late on but no real chance to impress
Not a great performance but an ok point. The long ball game played first half didn’t work at all but to be fair to Saunders he changed that after the break. But if Wolves are to make progress up the league they are going to need to prove they are one of the better teams rather than setting up to be solid and difficult to beat. It was more fortune and good keeping that saw them level at the break and they need to offer more of an attacking threat to make progress. A midfield that includes Foley, Henry and Davis is never going to be creative and it is to be hoped that with O’Hara, Peszko and Sigurdarson now fit we will see a more adventurous approach in the coming weeks, and maybe a new face or two in the transfer window.