Monday, October 03, 2011

Who's the wanker thoroughly bloody nice bloke in the black?

Wolves 1 - 2 Newcastle Utd

ASBO may not have been present to irritate Wolves - something Alan Pardew lamented after the game, claiming he "might have stopped or slowed down the game" - but we still managed to upset them with a combination of clinical finishing, breathtaking goalkeeping, committed defending and, perhaps most crucially, the not inconsiderable assistance of the officials.

Following last weekend's fluent victory over Blackburn, Pardew understandably named an unchanged starting XI, with Hatem Ben Arfa and Davide Santon both still awaiting their first Premier League starts of the season. Wolves came into the game off the back of three straight defeats, the 3-0 capitulation at home to ASBO's new side QPR abject to say the least, but they proved to be far tougher opponents than that match would have suggested. Their tally of 25 efforts on goal tells its own story - but, after Tuesday's paintballing trip, our players must be getting used to coming under heavy enemy fire.

Tim Krul had already been called into action to deny Jamie O'Hara and Kevin Doyle by the time Demba Ba's clever flicked header from Yohan Cabaye's corner beat Wayne Hennessey at his near post. Now Ramadan's over, clearly it's a case of feed the Ba and he will score...

Having fallen behind, Wolves continued to threaten, though we were determined to trade blows, having efforts of our own from Spidermag and Mr T. While Obertan Kenobe was busy banishing all memories of his scintillating display against Blackburn, on the other flank Spidermag's performance seemed an acknowledgement that our offer of a contract extension (which he accepted) was indeed conditional on greater involvement in the decisive action. The Argentine tried his luck on several occasions, doing so to best effect in the 38th minute when he nipped in to mesmerise dithering Wolves defenders, burst into the box and slide a left-footed shot across Hennessey into the bottom corner. There was then the added pleasure of seeing Karl Henry go into the book, ASBO's assailant later hauled off by Mick McCarthy before even an hour had been played.

Steven Taylor was for once outshining Sideshow Bob, tackling and blocking with relish, but was extremely fortuitous not to concede a penalty shortly before the break when referee Mark Halsey conveniently ignored the fact that our defender's clumsy challenge on O'Hara had taken place well inside the area.

In the second period Krul really earned himself the match ball, pulling off a string of sensational stops to prevent a resurgent Wolves from getting a foothold in the game. There were opportunities to add to our lead, but we seemed relatively comfortable with the two strikes we'd already registered - something we could have come to regret.

With Ba replaced by Peter Lovenkrands and us flagging in the heat just as Wolves were working up a late head of steam, Krul was finally beaten by a header from the unmarked Steven Fletcher and, but for a dubious decision in the 94th minute from the assistant referee, we might have snatched an inglorious draw from the jaws of victory. Matt Jarvis headed Adam Hammill's ball back to Kevin Doyle, who forced the ball in at the second attempt - but the officials adjudged the initial cross to have drifted behind the by-line. We might currently be playing well, but we certainly can't deny we got the rub of the green in this one.

The win kept us in fourth, though it had temporarily pushed us up to the even headier heights of third before Chelsea's tonking of Bolton yesterday afternoon. It means we've now gone ten games unbeaten stretching back to the Liverpool defeat at the start of May, and also confirms us as having the best defensive record of any team in the top four divisions - a bewildering statistic for a club hardly noted for the ability to protect its goal.

We're used to regarding international breaks as a welcome respite and opportunity to recharge, regroup and refocus, but this one's an intrusion to be cursed. That said, our next opponents, the equally in-form Spurs, will feel much the same way, and they're likely to have more players in action for their countries than we are - so perhaps it might yet work in our favour?

A Wolves fan's verdict: Wolves Blog

Other reports: BBC, Observer

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If O'Hara had not jumped into the air as if he had springs under both boots he would have landed in the penalty area and got his spot kick.

Suarez got Rodwell sent off by doing something similar. Whenever I got fouled playing football I would usually go down like a sack of spuds. It seems to me that players must practice reacting to being fouled, to make sure the ref notices.

10:25 am  
Blogger cupiddstunt said...

A nonny mouse have you not twigged to the fact that ever since the ever increasing influx of none UK players especially those from South America and the Mediterranean (basically those of latin decent) the play acting has become ludicrous.

Although I must add not as ludicrous as it was 5 to 10 years back when after getting tackled some players would put in more spins and twists than a gymnast tumbling

I must admit to feeling that if you are just starting to realise that players practice getting fouled I can only assume that the ping pong must have been very absorbing, as you aint been watching football.

6:08 pm  

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