Wolves stop the fat lady from singingBy: DJ | April 16th, 2013
Just as it was all starting to look like doom, gloom and relegation for Wolves they conjured up a win against second in the table Hull City to move out of the bottom three and resurrect hopes that they won’t after all, suffer a dreaded second successive relegation. It was a hard earned success in a closely fought game of few chances and one that bought as much relief as celebration as the final whistle blew.
With so many players unavailable it was almost forced on Saunders to stick largely with the team that had suffered a costly loss at home to Huddersfield on Saturday and the recall of Doumbia for the suspended O’Hara was the only personnel change, although there was a change in formation with a 4-4-1-1- adopted instead of the usual 4-4-2 with Hunt starting centrally behind Doyle;
Doherty, Johnson, Gorkss, Robinson
Sigurdarson, Henry, Doumbia, Ward
The game started in pretty tepid fashion with Hull content to control the game at a slow pace and Wolves, with Doyle looking isolated up front at times unable to provide much of a threat. The first serious goalmouth action came 18 minutes in when Ward shot from the edge of the box but his shot was blocked as was Hunt’s from the rebound. Doumbia was making an encouraging return to the team but Hull were generally looking more comfortable on the ball and the more confident of the two teams which was no surprise given the respective league positions. But there was very little goalmouth action in the remainder of the first half with two long range efforts the only attempts of note. Quinn’s shot for Hull deflected off Ward and was only narrowly wide before Doumbia hit a decent shot from distance that wasn’t far away.
The opening ten minutes of the second half saw more of the same before Molineux came alive as Wolves took the lead. Doumbia did really well to win the ball in midfield before playing in Sigurdarson who in turn fed Doyle free on the left of the area and his low drive from ten yards out found the far corner of the net.
Now the only issue was whether Wolves could keep a clean sheet for the remaining 35 minutes and the omens did not look good as the frequency of Hull attacks increased and Brady blazed over from a half chance. When Wolves did break away Doyle made a good run but then found no team mate within 40 yards of him as he looked for support, as Wolves increasingly sat on the back foot. But then from another breakaway they did create a real chance with Doumbia blasting wide after being set up by Ward.
Wolves certainly had the crowd on their side now as they fought hard to maintain their lead and Steve Bruce gambled on getting back into it by replacing centre back Faye with striker Fryatt. And Hull came so close to tying things up as Simpson is played through and his low shot beat De Vries but came back off the post. Seconds later Simpson is through again but Doherty makes a superb tackle to relieve the danger and when the ball is played up the other end, Wolves almost clinch the points. Doyle closed down the keeper who makes a poor kick out which Hunt anticipates and drives into the area, the keeper just gets a hand to the ball to prevent Hunt being clear on goal but the ball ran free to Sigurdarson who hit the side netting from a decent opportunity.
Hull were producing attack after attack as the game wore on but Wolves were defending well and were in no mood to give up these vital three points. Foley replaced Ward and Batth for Sigurdarson as Wolves did all they could to hold on to what they had and after 4 minutes of added time which seemed to last an eternity, Wolves earned an all important win.
De Vries – despite lots of Hull possession he had few shots to save but caught some good crosses
Doherty – the pick of the defence including a game saving tackle to deny Simpson
Johnson – a mixture of good defending and terrible distribution
Gorkss – better tonight against a Hull team that lacked a cutting edge
Robinson – had a decent game and does look a promising defender
Sigurdarson – not able to get into the game too much but had some good moments
Henry – worked hard but struggles nowadays to make a real mark on the games and so prone to passing the ball backwards
Doumbia – his best game since early season and can be a real boost to the end of season on this showing
Ward – like Sigurdarson, didn’t find it easy to get into the game but did ok and added to the defensive battle towards the end
Hunt – looked a little lost in a central role first half but looked much better when drifting to his more favoured left side after the break
Doyle – showed again how excellently he plays the lone striker role, took his goal well and I made him the best player on the night
Foley and Batth came on to join in the defensive duties late on
After the home defeat on Saturday there was an air of despondency around Molineux before the game but this result has given real hope that Championship security can be gained in the remaining 3 games. It’s Charlton away on Saturday then a vital home game against Burnley the week after. The defeat for Huddersfield and the late equaliser conceded by Barnsley on Tuesday means those teams have joined already relegated Bristol City in the bottom three. And with the bottom of the league so closely packed now its all to play for with just three games to go.