Wolves grab late and deserved pointBy: DJ | February 9th, 2013
Dean Saunders is still waiting to taste victory as a Wolves manager but it surely wont be far away after another positive performance saw them end the game in credit despite failing to win and falling ever closer to the Championship relegation zone. It was a high tempo competitive game played in front of a lively Molineux atmosphere and all that made it as entertaining a game as we have seen at the stadium this season.
Saunders made one change from the team that had played well at Leicester last week with Doyle replacing Sigurdarson;
Foley, Batth, Berra, Ward
O’Hara, Henry, Doumbia, Sako
Doyle, Ebanks Blake
Leeds started the sharper and Byrom had a shot deflected over the bar by Danny Batth, then Norris hits another attempt wide. Wolves first serious attack comes when Doyle wins the ball in midfield and progressed to the edge of the Leeds area before shooting straight at Kenny in the Leeds goal. And then Leeds threaten again when Green shot wide after Morrison’s knock down. The visitors started the game with a lot of passion in their game and were closing Wolves down all over the pitch, but as the early tempo dropped Wolves were able to start looking threatening themselves. Doumbia headed over from a Doyle cross and SEB puts the ball in the net when sent through by Doumbia but is offside.
The shape of the Wolves team was changed to some effect by now with Doyle moving to the right and O’Hara going central, and both players started to be more prominent as Wolves improved. A good move sees Doyle find SEB beyond the far post but the strikers control isn’t good enough. Foley did well to get his head to a dangerous Leeds cross and McCormack curled a shot just wide but then Sako had the best goal attempt so far as his right footed drive stung the fingertips of Kenny.
Still goalless after an entertaining first half with Wolves generally performing well but lacking that threat on goal. They were attacking the South Bank second half And O’Hara sends an early header over the bar from a Doyle cross. And 8 minutes into the second period Wolves went ahead. It was all very close out on the left wing as Sako, O’Hara and Ward exchanged short passes but eventually they do well to free Ward to run at the Leeds defence from the left side of the area and when he hit the ball hard and low across the Leeds goal, Peltier turned the ball into his own net.
Wolves had looked well capable of holding on to their lead and Sako had a shot saved and Batth headed over from a corner when he might have done better, but against the run of play Leeds found an equaliser. Varney received the ball in space on the left corner of the penalty area and curled the ball beyond Ikeme into the far corner. The match could have gone either way at this stage but there is a real blow for Wolves as Sako gets the wrong side of Byram chasing him back into the Wolves area and brings him down for a blatant penalty. McCormack put Leeds ahead from the spot.
With Barnsley winning at Middlesbrough the defeat would put Wolves into a relegation position on Saturday evening but the home team kept pushing forward and they earned a couple of corners in injury time with second needlessly conceded by Kenny. And it proved costly for Leeds as from O’Hara’s corner Danny Batth put Wolves level with a downward header to give them a point they certainly deserved.
Ikeme – not looking as confident as earlier in the season but made a couple of important stops
Foley – his best performance of the season by some distance. Much more like the Foley we used to know
Batth – an excellent home debut. Won everything in the air, got in some good blocks and was a constant threat when going forward for free kicks and corners culminating and his late goal. No certainty the Johnson will get his place back.
Berra – another to be an improved performer and looked comfortable with Batth as his partner
Ward – plenty of loose passes particularly first half but did really well to set up the first goal
O’Hara – looked out of things on the right early on but a massive influence on the game once moved to the mddle in his best performance since returning from injury
Henry – plenty of competition for places in the centre of midfield now and the skipper will need to do more to justify his place
Doumbia – looked swept away by the pace of the game early and faded in the last 20 minutes but in between made some good runs and passes
Sako – a couple of good shots and played his part in the first goal. Clearly a star performer at this level
Doyle – looked much better when pulled to the right of midfield than he had as a striker early. And his lack of goal threat may mean that’s where his future lies
Sigurdarson replaced Doumbia late on but disappointed and Edwards replaced Henry for the last few minutes
Only goal difference seperates Wolves from a relegation position now but the showings today and at Leicester last week have been a much higher standard than that. But points are needed on the board and until a few wins come along there will still be some anxiety and plenty of frustration at the lack of progress being made by the club.