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It`s a Knock-Out: Wolves Lose a One-Goal Chiller

I bought my right to listen to our cup game today the easy way, joining my wife to watch Murray play in the final of the Australian tennis championship. I say easy, but in many ways it was like the Wolves match later: plenty of huffing and puffing but error-strewn and ultimately disappointing.

Like Andy Murray, it was a tale of fluffed opportunities. According to the Beacon broadcast, Ward missed several chances, while Vokes headed straight at the goalie (where else?), Fletcher hit the post and Milijas failed to put away a penalty. We also should have 'won`a spot kick earlier as a result of a Huth elbow in Berra`s face.

At least Murray was beaten by a better player. My notes suggest that the teams shared the first half, though we had the better chances. On the other hand, we seemed to shade the play after the break and should have wrapped up the game long before Huth scored from a needlessly conceded free kick. Even then, Robbie Dennison was confident we would score ... and we should have done. Never mind Vokes`s misdirected header, how could Milijas, of all players, fail to convert from the spot? He should have placed the ball 35 yards out in order to get the range and direction!

It`s all a bit conjectural because, again, I have to deliver a report blindfolded, but the game apparently only sparked into life once Huth had scored. Neither side played particularly well and if, true to form, we missed chances, so did Stoke. Hahnemann deserves some plaudits, kicking aside, and kept us in the game on several occasions. It looks as though our lackadaisical side turned up again ... but as long as the one with the fighting spirit goes to Bolton on Wednesday, I`ll be happy. Well, I will be if we get a result.

Even so, I find myself remarkably indifferent to the result: we can do without the distraction and the potential injuries. Of course, I am disappointed, especially at the sloppiness of our play but am not as downhearted as I would have been, had Stoke overrun us. If that had occurred, confidence would have suffered (mine is always flaky). I just hope the body-count of limping wounded isn`t too high because we need everyone fit next week. If not, we may see Hammill start a match earlier than expected.

So what of the positives? Again, this is difficult to assess because the commentary in general conflicts with the reports. So, I won`t. Jarvis, however, upped his game and Fletcher showed touches of class (unfortunately, not precise enough touches). We seemed to achieve parity, at least, in midfield, but without making it tell.

In defence, reports suggest that all four players performed reasonably well in spite of occasional lapses, though reference to Berra grabbing Carew round the neck in the tenth minute, had me worried that he was going to get the run-around. Carew and Jones can be a handful. At one point, Dennison claimed that Berra was outpacing Carew, a real result, if true. Perhaps he has been training with the sprinters at Aldersley Stadium. Ah! My long-lost youth!

As a bonus, Jamie O`Hara is coming to bolster our midfield, a great addition as long as his back holds out. Now, that`s a subject I can write about with authority. And are there more to come? Rumour has it that Stoke`s Whelan and/or Faye might be switching to the other side of the pitch in the near future. MM dampened down expectations in his post-match interview but that means nothing. I will be interested in the transfer news tomorrow and, of course, to view the results from the top of the Billy Wright stand on Saturday.




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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 30 2011

Time: 7:29PM

Your Comments

Ohara staright into the squad, and regardless of whether its Faye or Scrooge McDuck, they knock Stearman/Berra/Ward out of their spot.
AdMant
OHara will need special permission to play with his back brace on,he loves the Wolves gym,as he will probably spend a lot of time in there!.
Crete Wolf
If that doesn't sort him out, I'll give him the addresses of every physiotherapist, chiropractor and osteopath in S.E. England. I reackon I've visited all of them over the years.
Southbank60
Well, having worked my Chicken Mcnuggets off burning the early evening oil in the office until nearly, get this, 8pm on Saturday, I repaired to Manhattan for a few post work beverages. Perhaps the crackling from the open fire distracted my attention from time, it could have been the hearty Guniess and shots of Tequila, at least half of which were free, but it was 430 am before I made it home, and thinking the game was on at 7am, i figured the only chance I had of watching it would be to stay up. Was it online, was it effers. Arsenal v Huddersfield? Who wants to watch that? Okay, so I wasn't exactly thrilled by our fixture either way- you always hope for something with a little bit more- cup romance, squaring up against a minnow, a home tie (preferably) against one of the elite. As it turns out, the game was to be found NOWHERE online, at which I resorted to flicking through the various text commentaries avilable (license business means FA Cup coverage is particularly restricted over here) - as the game was plodding on, my level of disinterest grew. Of course I hoped for a win- I had predicted a draw, but as the game wore on I figured we might force and goal, and then be able to look forward to the ecxitement of a 5th Round draw. The wife asked how it was going and I replied with a description of the worst possible predicamant- are they losing? No, it has replay written all over it- the last thing we need. One minute later Stoke scored and I toddled off to the kitchen to make a coffee- I didn;t return to the control desk for perhaps an hour, checking the scoreline, 1-0 as duly anticipated, and only then read from the report that Ol' Nenad had had a penalty saved. I still wasn't really bothered. Before the game I was in the thought zone, pondering our chances against Bolton. Our mood and optimism fluctautes with spectacular similarity to our team and their performances. Funny that. I will say that I don't expect much from Bolton- I never look forward to playing them either- and I would ahead of the game, happily settle for a point. All this said and done, I feel a sense of optimism and are ready for a surprise. The market has gone crazy today- as for our signings, I was hoping for one more in the mould of O'Hara who I think, if as suggested his back holds out could make all the difference to our midfield, but I think Hammill given this lease of life, this great new opportunity to make name for himself, will come straight into the side and make a name for himself. I think we will have to wait to see O' Hara start a game for a little longer. Ultimately we have spent a pittance, and the signings by the likes of Blues and Villa, etc - who are right there in the mix - well, they've spent and they've made some very shrewd signings which doesn't bode well. We can only work with what we have. Mick said he was happy with his lot but couldn't contain his delight following the O'Hara signing. I really do believe that he can make the difference to a midfield that spends too much time sending the ball backwards or putting the pressure on the wingers repeatedly sending it out to them which is becoming predictable. I think we will not see Mick mixing up the formation in relation to who we face. He managed to figure it out last season, and I continue to believe he has enough, the squad has enough quality and belief to keep us up. Come on Wolves, give us something to smile about come Wednesday.
New York City Wolf
I think you need to update your coffee-maker, NYCW: it only takes me a few minutes to perk up my cafetiere. Mind you, it was hard for anyone or anything to feel perky, given the sleep-inducing performance of both sets of players on Sunday. Let's hope for a sparkier performance tomorrow. Apart from your coffee-making capabilities, I think your analysis of the transfer market was spot-on. I, too, was hoping until this morning for news of a defender or two coming in. O'Hara is a good signing and he will make a difference. It's a pity last night's game against MU was postponed as it would have provided an early opportunity to assess his fitness and touch.
Southbank60
 

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