Writer: Stuart Smith
Date:Monday August 4 2008
Wolves rounded off their succesful pre season build up with a 4-2 win against Paul Inces Blackburn Rovers at Molineux on Saturday.
Vital Wolves were there as guests of the Commercial Department to view the new International Suite and we would like to extend our thanks to Paul Lakin and the rest of his team for their hospitality.
The match itself was a mixed bag of good and bad, with defences at both ends showing signs of frailty that you might expect in a final friendly, but for Wolves part, the good tended to far outweigh the bad.
Wanderers took the game to Rovers from the start, with Michael Kightly's creative jinking and turning causing the Rovers back four problems whenever he ran at them, and it came as no surprise when Wolves took the lead on nine minuites thanks to a powerful George Elokobi header following a David Jones corner.
The lead lasted 8 minutes before Rovers picked their way through the Wanderers back line, Morten-Gamst Pedersens knock down setting up Matt Derbyshire who flicked the ball past a helpless Wayne Hennessey with ease.
Not to be outdone, Michael Kightly then showed some of the class that has every Premiership manager watching his progress like a hawk.
Tearing into the Blackburn half, and riding two challenges, he sprayed an inch perfect ball out to the left for Stephen Ward to run on to, whose shot was blocked by former England 'keeper Paul Robinson, only to see the ball tucked away by Andy Keogh from four yards to restore Wolves lead, albeit very temporarily.
With the Wolves fans still celebrating, Tugay fed Roque Santa Cruz inside the Wolves box, who controlled the ball and rifled home, restoring parity once more.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was withdrawn shortly before the break having been poked in the eye, giving big Chris Iwelumo his home debut.
There were no wholesale changes to the Wolves side at half time, which could be a sign that what we were seeing was McCarthy's probable starting 11 for next weekends match at Pymouth.
Few that were at Molineux on Saturday would have had room to complain if that is the case.
The lapses that led to the Rovers goals in the first half disapeared, but the teeth in attack remained, as Wolves once again took the game to Rovers.
Fifteen minutes into the second half George Elokobi showed the talk of his attacking game closed season has been turned into action with devastating effect.
Brushing off two challenges like they were flies, he charged into the box, centreing for captain Jody Craddock who pulled a great save from Paul Robinson.
The ball once again fell to big George who nimbly skipped past David Dunne before being hacked down by the former England International just inside the box.
Chris Iwelumo sent Paul Robinson the wrong way to restore Wolves lead, and from then in, there never looked any doubt about the result as Wolves continued to press, whilst Rovers wilted.
Sam Vokes replaced Andy Keogh on 66 minutes, and shortly after Matt Jarvis came on for Srephen Ward, providing the moment of the match soon after.
Picking up the ball in the Wolves half, Jarvis carved his way through whoever Rovers threw in front of him, sprinting into the box to stroke the ball past Paul Robinson to make the final score Wolves 4 Blackburn Rovers 2.
OK, so it was 'only a friendly', but there were enough positives to be taken from the match leave Molineux full of high hopes for the coming season.
All of the closed season additions acquited themselves well, with Richard Stearman the outstanding player on show.
All of the subs showed McCarthy does have the strength in depth he has talked about.
Attacking we looked dangerous every time we moved forward.
If the defence looked a little ragged in the first half, it looked solid enough in the second, and the longer the central pairing play together, the tighter they'll get.
Overall it was a good performance against top flight opposition who came to Molineux with a managers point to prove.
That they went away conceding four goals, with only 2 in reply is a testament to the hard work done at the club since the end of last season.
Date:Monday August 4 2008
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