Wolves step closer to League OneBy: DJ | February 19th, 2013
Last time Wolves visited Oakwell a huge away following enjoyed a party time at the end of the 2008/09 season to celebrate promotion to the Premier League. On Tuesday it was a cold February evening in South Yorkshire as 1,000 Wolves fans saw their team again take a step towards the exit door from the Championship but this time it could be via the wrong way out as they slipped into the relegation positions. Its 11 games without a win now so there is nobody in the division that can claim to be making a stronger bid for relegation and things are going to need to change pretty quickly and dramatically if that nightmare scenario is not going to materialise.
Manager Dean Saunders, still waiting for his first Wolves win after seven attempts made two changes to the starting line up with Ward and Doyle left out and Jack Robinson brought in for his debut after joining on loan from Liverpool and Ebanks Blake recalled;
Foley, Batth, Gorkss, Robinson
Edwards, Henry, O’Hara, Sako
Sigurdarson, Ebanks Blake
Wolves start by far the brighter and have two corners in the first minute and from the second of Sako’s delivery Barnsley’s keeper Steele only just scrambles the ball away at the near post. Two more corners followed with Batth not quite getting a strong enough connection as he again looks a threat going forward. It was all Wolves in the opening stages and they got their reward after seven minutes. Sako put a through ball down the centre and Sigurdarson’s pace saw him first to the ball and he took the ball round the keeper before slotting in from a narrow angle.
Barnsley tried to hit back and won a couple of corners but it was Wolves who almost increased their lead. O’Hara looked set to cross to the far post but instead curled a shot towards goal that hit the underside of the bar and bounced about a foot the wrong side of the goalline. But immediately the home team broke and had their best moment as Dagnall turns Gorkss and closed in on goal before shooting across Ikeme and just wide of the far post.
Harewood missed a chance for Barnsley by heading wide but Wolves were continuing to look the better team with Sako regularly having the beating of his full back, Sigurdarson looking dangerous and Robinson having a good debut with some promising overlaps. Although Barnsley had more of the ball later in the half, Wolves were holding them comfortably with Batth winning everything in the air and the visitors were well worth their half time lead.
Barnsley started the second half as lively as Wolves had the first and after a series of corners they were level within four minutes as Dagnall heads in a Delap cross. The goal puts some spark into the step of Barnsley who suddenly look the more likely team. But it was drifting towards a draw until we saw three subs halfway through the 2nd period with two for Barnsley and Davis replacing O’Hara who looks disappointed to be taken off as do some Wolves fans to a negative looking change. And its one of the home changes that makes an early impact as Scotland shoots narrowly wide.
Wolves had been looking less and less like getting a winner but out of the blue almost regained the lead after 70 minutes. Ebanks Blake was sent away on the left and his cross picked out Sigurdarson who controlled the ball excellently turned inside his defender and his shot was only parried by the keeper and it required clearing off the line by one of the defenders. And three minutes later Barnsley got the breakthrough when the ball fell to sub Mellis ten yards out and he scored through a crowded area.
Edwards is replaced by former Barnsley winger Adam Hamill who is booed by the home fans and the final change sees Cassidy replace Sigurdarson but Wolves are out of ideas by now after playing nowhere near as well in the second half.
Ikeme – no chance with the goals and caught some good crosses
Foley – did ok generally although repeatedly failed to pick up players for short corners
Robinson – had a very busy and impressive first half but quieter after the break
Batth – won countless defensive headers and I made him Wolves best player on the night
Gorkss – generally sound but beaten on the turn a couple of times
Edwards – worked hard but contributed little
Henry – won his share of challenges in midfield but contributes little going forward
O’Hara – unlucky not to score and disappointing to see him taken off when the game was still there for the winning
Sako – had a very good first half but rarely in the game after the break
Ebanks Blake – made some good running down the channels but no scoring chances on the day
Sigurdarson – took his goal well and his pace is a real threat and wins his share in the air. Hopefully will get a long run in the team now
Subs Davis, Doyle and Hamill did little to change the pattern of the game
There has been promise in most of the games with Saunders in charge and the first half here was as good as any. But the wins are not coming and Wolves are in need of a hero or two to turn things around. The two home games to come against top of the table Cardiff and third in the table Watford look difficult challenges but the league table isn’t going to look very pretty if they don’t win either of them. They are two points adrift of safety as things stand and all three teams two points ahead have played a game less. And the team immediately below them, Peterborough, won 5-1 away on Tuesday. So from being hopefully too good to go down, Wolves are fast becoming relegation favourites.