Wolves stretch winless run to sevenBy: DJ | November 18th, 2012
There have been no successes for Wolves in 7 games now after drawing their last 3 home games and losing the last 4 away matches. It’s a run that has seen them plummet to 16th in the Championship and Premier League football is looking a long way away from Molineux right now. Their defeat at Watford on Saturday came after they went down to ten men in the first half for the second game running so there are excuses, but what Wolves need now are some wins not some reasons for not winning. Solbakken made a couple of changes to the starting line up with an enforced change due to Henry’s suspension and a couple of selection changes;
Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward
Pennant, Edwards, Doumbia, Sako
Wolves opened the game brighter than they have in recent weeks with more tempo to their game and a more positive intent than in recent away games. And no one was more responsible for the improvement than Sigurdarson whose movement and athleticism was helping Wolves get possession in their opponents half. But despite putting Watford on the back foot they were not able to create any clear cut openings. Watford were relying on breakaways but were looking more like scoring when they did due to balls through the Wolves defence for attackers to run on to. And one through ball to Deeney presented the key moment in the game after 25 minutes.
Deeney had a yard on the Wolves defence and Berra seemed to hold him as he tried to advance. But the Watford striker shook off the challenge and got through to shoot just wide and that appeared to be the end of the matter as there were no appeals for a foul and the player had got through for a shot. But to the amazement of the Wolves fans behind the goal and to all the home fans, the referee awarded Watford a free kick and produced a straight red card for Berra. Although some kind of impedement had happened I dont think anyone in the ground would have been surprised if the ref had not even given a foul as the striker had been allowed to get his shot in and the advantage rule seemed to have been allowed. It was the second week running Wolves had a player sent off in the first half and on both occasions the player fouled had not even gone to ground and had retained possession of the ball.
For the second game running Pennant was sacrificed and this time it was Danny Batth that came on to fill the gap left by Berra, and Wolves changed to 4-4-1 with Sigurdarson moved to the right of midfield and Doyle alone up front. But the home team went ahead after 35 minutes with a breakaway goal. Yeates got in behind Stearman on the left and picked out an unmarked Chalobah in the middle. His effort was well saved by Ikeme but he couldn’t hold on to the ball and the striker followed in to turn the ball home. And Watford had a few attempts on goal in the latter stages of the half as Wolves struggled to adjust to being a man down.
There was some anxiety for Ikeme early in the 2nd half as he dropped a simple cross and only just recovered the ball before it went into the net. Solbakken was tinkering with the formation to try to get Wolves back into the game and he tried 3-4-2 and then 4-3-2 to try to get back into the game. But Hogg should have scored a 2nd for Watford when shooting over with only the keeper to beat. Wolves levelled out of the blue and yet again Sako was behind the goal. His inswinging free kick was inexplicably missed by Watford keeper Almunia and it sailed into the net.
Wolves were making a game of it after that but the home team were getting lots of corners and following one of them a cross found the head of Deeney who scored from 6 yards. Wolves never gave up and had quite a few goal attempts of their own in the late stages. David Davis who had replaced Doumbia had three attempts from just outside the area with one well over and another easily saved before bringing a diving save from the keeper with his final effort. But the closest Wolves came to a 2nd equaliser was a tremendous shot from Sako that went inches wide.
Ikeme – unlucky with the first goal, almost gifted a second when dropping a cross but did well otherwise
Stearman – generally sound but they did get in behind him a couple of times
Johnson – had a good game and was constantly encouraging his team mates
Berra – I thought he was unlucky to be sent off but its another suspension Wolves could do without
Ward – didn’t get forward much but defended well
Pennant – made little impact before being taken off following Berra’s departure
Edwards – worked hard to little effect
Doumbia – played deep and didn’t influence the game greatly
Sako – not at his best in recent games but still looks the most likely to make something happen in the final third
Doyle – quiet first half but improved after the break
Sigurdarson – much improved performance. Looks fitter and stronger now with good running off the ball and won his fair share in the air. Defintely ready for a run in the team now and I made him Wolves best player on the day
Batth – looked nervy when he first came on but had a good second half with some strong defensive challenges
Davis – had a good 20 minutes after replacing Doumbia and may have earned a chance in the continued absence of Henry
SEB – came on late for Doyle but made little impact
It was better from Wolves today and without the sending off they may well have got something from the game with Sigurdarson encouraging. But 7 games without a win is disappointing in anyone’s language and Solbakken, despite saying all the right things, needs some results to keep the support of the fans on board. There are home games to come now against Forest next Saturday and Millwall the following Tuesday, and we certainly wont want to be talking about 9 games without a win after those.