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Thank Goodness for Wingers

Thank Goodness for Wingers

All week official and unofficial sites have been assessing our chances of beating Sunderland today. On the one hand, pundits were pointing out that Sunderland were suffering an injury crisis and, anyway, were safe and would not be 'up` for the game. However, MM was warning us against over-confidence, not that he has to remind me: I don`t do confidence as far as the Wolves are concerned.

In retrospect, with the knowledge of Blackpool`s 4-3 victory over Bolton, it`s clear that we had to win. On Gillette Soccer Saturday Matt le Tissier still thinks we will be relegated and, had we lost, all of Jeff Stelling`s chums would have marked us down for the drop.

I had trouble following the match today. I have not been able to access the Beacon Radio commentary for a number of weeks and the official blog suffered from technical problems. The freeview site kept on sticking or switching to a variety of adverts. To ease the pain it regularly showed me pictures of buxom Russian girls who were anxious to meet me. I spent the afternoon trying to restore the visual link and dashing into the living room to follow the progress of the Blackburn-MU game.

Bizarrely, I was almost pleased that I could not follow every second of the match because it reduced my tension. At 63 minutes, with the score at 2-1, I wrote in my notes that I could not stand the strain any more and was thinking of going out. Goodness knows what state I`ll be in by 22 May. And that afternoon I will be stuck in the BW Stand with thousands of equally anxious fans.

As for the match I still can`t believe we won the game 3-1. Sunderland were all over us in the first half and I thought that we would be lucky to gain a draw (think of any number of games this season). This was worrying, given the reports that were coming through of the Blackpool match. We scored against the run of play, though a five minute break in transmission meant that I did not see the goal live. Would that every technical hitch had the same outcome! Nice cross from Hunt, who continues to impress.

I was therefore not surprised when Sunderland equalized, though if our defenders had done their job properly, it would not have happened. Clearly influenced by the WBA school of defending, we gave Sessegnon acres of space in the box. More back-to-basics drills are needed at Compton I fear. The players in front of them also played poorly, with little service coming through from midfield to the front runners. The only moment of excitement was a dipping shot from O`Hara that hit the crossbar.

Everything therefore depended upon MM`s half-time pep talk and his strategic substitutions. Thankfully, he got both of them right. The players came out in a more positive frame of mind and the replacement of Guedioura by Jarvis won us the game. In the 54th. minute he dropped a pinpoint pass onto Fletcher`s head and he nodded it into the net. That made up for his 48th. minute miss from a position (and time) very similar to the one from which he scored last week. At the moment, however, I can forgive him anything. George made it certain in the 77th. minute. I could now relax a little and took the opportunity to pour myself a beer.

We played far better in the second half and managed to maintain a high line of defence. That is not to say that Sunderland did not have their chances: fortunately the referee turned down a penalty shout in the 67th. minute and several attempts went wide or were safely gathered by Hennessey. Had we obtained a penalty in the 42nd. minute as a result of a Mensah hand ball, we might have gone in for tea in the lead and in a more confident frame of mind. I`ll watch Football First this evening with interest.

It was good to see Doyle back on the pitch and that will boost our chances next week. He looked sharp and, given that our 4-4-2 formation did not operate as effectively as it did last week against WBA, MM will have a tricky decision to make next week. Of course, he could play Fletcher and Doyle up-front but I am not certain that this combination would work. It`s difficult to drop Fletcher, whose aerial power is becoming an essential element of our game.

I am not certain how I am travelling up to Molineux next week. Normally I drive, the effects of a couple of pints of Banks`s bitter disappearing by the end of the game. However, should we stay up, I want to party, as, I expect, will thousands of other fans. It could be a great night in the city on Sunday ... but will the pubs be open?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Saturday May 14 2011
Time: 4:08PM


All we have to do is beat Blackburn next weekend and we will be safe!!
15/05/2011 05:57:00
Sounds simple, but Blackburn will not be a push-over, especially as they will need points to avoid the drop. This afternoon's results will clarify the situation and could see us finish the season above two teams. So, let's hope for a WHU victory at Wigan and a Birmingham defeat at home to Fulham. Unfortunately, as MM keeps telling us, we have to do better than three other teams. A draw might suffice next week but we cannot bank on it. We have to go for a win, which is eminently 'doable' at Molineux, but it's going to be an extremely nervy 90 minutes ... oh ... plus extra time (a reminder to our players who tend to switch off at this point).
15/05/2011 06:58:00
Wonder what sort of team Blackpool will face next week?never mind we could already have enough,lets see how things unravel today!UTW.
Crete Wolf
15/05/2011 10:37:00
Shocking really; back to back 3-1 wins and we still go into the last game of the season needing to win. Of course results may go our way- indeed we shall learn more this afternoon but even as things stand a draw, meaning 2 wins and 2 draws from our final four games could see still us relegated. Not many teams in the past have had to provide such a points turn around, and it still may not be enougn thanks to the previous five games. It is no good painting a great portrait then boshing the nose at the end. 'It was going so well!'. The thought of relegation still leads to a miserably disbelieving depression; it should never have come to this and I for one, whilst bouncing around the living room for each of our last six goals, can not shake of reality. I am past the point of kicking every ball with the players, biting my nails through every minute. I sit back and watch and how we wonder how we find ourselves in this position. We had the best run in, as in eight games. It has taken the last two to put us in pole position to stay up. The hard work should have been done right? Beating Albion and winning at Sunderland. Belief has returned. We still make errors but there is a determined belief amongst the players. The same team has to turn up once more. The past two games have been on the telly over here; next week we are not and for what proves as important a game as any over the last twenty, twenty five years?... for our club I shall repair to Nevada Smiths in Manhattan who will be screening most of the games live on their numerous screens at the same time. It shall prove a fitting finale. A seasons anxiety squeezed into 90 final minutes; the result will shape the next five years of our future.
New York City Wolf
15/05/2011 14:26:00
It's going to be worse for me, Yorkie: I'll be at Molineux, watching the drama unfold.
15/05/2011 14:48:00
well, for whatever pain you go through, you potentially have one of the best days in years to embrace at the final whistle. I do believe we have done enough, and will do enough to ensure our safety. I believe we will beat them because, despite our error prone nature the thing we have spoken of so often, the spirit within the players has returned- you can just see it in them again- and along with their abilities, it will be enough to see us over that final hurdle. I think Blackburn have a lot more to worry about than we do. Despite the win yesterday I would not want to be on the road for our last game. The paying customer has a right to voice displeasure and the fans have done that but they have stuck with the team and next Sunday I think the noise will be something else- I just think we have too much for them. Somehow I have reached a calm. As the days tick by however await the panic ahead of the game. Truly, I expect to be running down third avenue with my handful of Wolves friends waving the gold and black whilst people wonder what the _ is going on.
New York City Wolf
15/05/2011 17:05:00
For a long time this afternoon, it was a perfect day for us: both Wigan and Birmingham were losing 2-0. Then I finished the work I was doing and with a pint of beer in my hand went into the lounge to watch Jeff Snelling and his chums reporting on the PL games. At that point Wigan started to make a come-back, and, with mounting excitement from Charlie Nicholas, incredibly stole a victory in the last minute. If only Carlton Cole hadn't fluffed a golden opportunity a couple of minutes earlier, we would now only have to worry about Birmingham, Blackburn and Blackpool. Now we have to consider Wigan as well. Henry's stupid tackle at the DW Stadium in October and our pathetic display at home in December may yet come back to bite us ... leaving out Zubar's moment of madness against Bolton in February, of course. At least, it's still in our own hands and Blackburn will not fancy the trip to Molineux, though it's going to be a nerve-wracking experience. If we win, it will be a great feeling in the crowd but, if we lose, we will be suffering in the same way as the WHU supporters were doing today. I remain oprimistic - no I am not but cling on to the belief that the one point advantage will see us through. At the moment my prediction for the remaining relegation slots are Birmingham and Blackpool but the situation will probably remain fluid throughout the afternoon. Will I have to take a radio with me to listen to the scores in the other matches or will they be relayed over the public address system, if that is allowed? How am I going to survive all this pressure?
15/05/2011 18:51:00
Survive you will Southbank. On Sunday it will be '60 again against Blackburn! Look at all the confidence around, MM's and mine in loads, for months now, when darkness was all around. Should any Wolf be reminded that out of darkness cometh light, the May magic I have been speaking of: West Brom, the Stadium of 'Light', 6 goals in two matches, problems about who NOT to start, attacking play .... all my preaching has not been in vain! This is the way. Forward and no fear. And if we do fall behind on Sunday, a fact: I was not happy with Birmingham 0-1 down, I wanted it 0-2, for should we lose by a single goal, and the Blues somehow get a point at Totttenham, who are in a battle with Liverpool for an Europa League place, it will be Wolves and Blues on 40 points with an identical goal difference, then it will come to goals scored, and then it is, as of now, Wolves 44 - Blues 36 . This is to help you survive should we fall behind. It will need a small miracle for both Blackpool and Wigan to pick up more than one point at MU and Stoke, and if they do, our goals difference is better, just, but better. As long as a Wolves defeat is restricted to a single goal, one point will not be enough for the three teams on 39 points to finish above us. Something I would like to share with all who watch streamed games now: the best I have found, no breaks or going offstream because of 'illegal content' are: freesports 1 , or 2 ,and star-sports flash 1. For Highlights, except for the somewhat short ones on Fox, extended highlights ( 8-10') are excellent on all three of the following: Freesoccerhighlights, Goalstube and ECSSPORT. No need to subscribe or even register. I have just relived the Wolves games this season. 3-0 it was in 1960, eh Southbank ?
15/05/2011 22:00:00
It was and I still have the souvenir edition of the Pink to remind me (though it wasn't pink that day). I'd attach an image from the paper but I don't know how.
15/05/2011 22:24:00
Going into the final game I think we are the best placed out of the 5 still in it. Confidence and belief has been restored, the fans will bring the house down. I would not fancy a trip to our place on the final day if I was any of them. Blackpool, Wigan and Birmingham all have very difficult away games; Blackpool and Wigan showed they can dig very deep for a result but, despite all the hoopla about the United line up I don't think they are going to want to sign off with a home defeat to Blackpool. It is a huge game for Tottenham, and they will be looking at their game knowing they are presented with a great chance of still sneaking in- I expect them to get the job done and do it well. It could of course come down to losing and still staying up but for a multitude of reasons let's hope that is not how we end our season. As long as we are above three others any of us would of course take that at the drop of a hat; I don't think we will have to. I think the restoration of belief should see us through even if we do find ourselves behind. Simplicity has won us our last six points and if the players run the same drill all week long why can't we repeat it. Good quality, good finishing, and as well as Fletch scoring for fun who'd have thought we'd have two defenders on the scoresheet last week. It's only Tuesday of course and as I've said with each passing day the nerves will get worse. The big soccer stations over here still have not announced their live games. As for watching games without interuption you could look up Fox Soccer on the internet or maybe Fox Soccer Plus; I will check their line up and keep you posted if they pick our game. I think you can subscribe on a monthly basis for a small fee and its the major network. Hook the laptop upto the television and Bob's your uncle.
New York City Wolf
17/05/2011 14:39:00
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