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The Turning Point?

The Turning Point?

That`s one worrying problem at least temporarily relieved, leaving another one to be permanently kicked into touch on Tuesday ... I hope! But, didn`t the lads make me sweat.

I have become a virtual prisoner in my own home for a fortnight, trying to shake off an infection and avoid picking up another one. Having steeled myself for the operation, I don`t want it postponed. Hence, I had nothing to do except brood on the Wigan game and the knife two days later.

I don`t know which was causing me more anxiety, even though your good wishes have helped to cheer me up. On Friday I received a card from a friend with a picture of pre-development Molineux, taken from Waterloo Road and showing that part of the ground where I sit. I wish I had been there today.

Some good news, though. My older daughter rescheduled her visit so she could stay over until after the operation rather than leaving at 2 pm today! That meant that I could watch the match without a conflict of loyalties. Even so, I was feeling pretty tense by lunchtime, what with the unspoken elephant in the room regarding the reason for her visit and everything.

At least it made me realise why I have a tight chest: it`s not the infection but the prospect of the operation ... and the feeling of foreboding about Sunday, of course. At least, the results on Saturday afternoon went our way with Blackburn, Everton, Norwich and WBA all losing. It was now up to us to take advantage of the situation and get a result. AND WE DID!!!

As I moved the settee closer to the TV at 1.45 pm, put my notepad and biro on the coffee table and shakily drank my cup of tea, I could feel my heart thumping. And, there was no chance of a relaxing pint of beer.

Both teams were extremely nervous and lacking in confidence but it showed more in our play than in Wigan`s. Well, they played attractive football until they glimpsed a sight of the goal and then they froze. Rodallega missed two sitters, the second a candidate for the miss of the season. How different would the match have been, had he scored? Even so, one could make the same point about Hunt`s dismissed penalty. That`ll teach him not to go down as if poleaxed!

Immediately after Rodallega`s dreadful prod round the post on 30 minutes, we unaccustomedly raced down the other end. Guedioura flicked on a long ball from WH to Doyle, who chipped it over the head of a defender and threaded it through three defenders to JOH to score. Finally, the boot up the field paid off!

I wrote in my notes at that point that this was the goal we needed to turn our fortunes round ... but it wasn`t going to be that easy though, especially as the players persisted in dithering on the ball, giving it away and failing to stop the runs of the opposition. This will be one game that Ward will want to forget (from a personal point of view, that is, and apart from the goal, of course). Moses ran him ragged and looked dangerous every time he received the ball.

In midfield, JOH is getting back to his best: playing behind the lone striker suits him. Doyle looked sharper too, holding up the ball well and passing the ball intelligently. He might not be scoring but his assists are mounting up. Guedioura, on the other hand, was poor. Apart from his header, he did nothing right. MM wisely substituted him for Jarvis at half-time. I am also pleased to see Henry have a good game. He was solid in defence and his run into the penalty box set up the second goal. Shame about the sloppy passing at times.

However, before the break, Wigan were back on level terms. Gohouri, the RB, beat Ward and clashed with Hunt, tracking back. OK, so it was a penalty but Hunty`s was too. Couldn`t the ref have cancelled them out? My heart sank, then lifted again, then hit the floor. Having got down well to Watson`s poorly hit spot-kick, WH was powerless to keep out the follow-up shot.

So, we went into the half-time break all square, a fair reflection of the play but one which made me wonder how the lads` confidence would be affected. Thankfully, Jarvis replaced Guedioura at half time and immediately made an impact, firstly as a defender ( within three minutes of the restart he had tackled Moses twice) and then as a winger.

After several minutes in which we played poorly, being caught in possession, giving the ball away and dithering, we finally made the breakthrough. Having driven into the box, Henry cut the ball back expertly to Hunt to inaugurate a bout of ping-pong between WW players and the WA goalie. Finally, Edwards hit the ball home. Edwards is another player who is improving and deserves to keep his place in the team.

Ward`s goal on 65 minutes sealed our victory. After a nice back-heel from Ward to Jarvis, the winger rounded his man and cut the ball back from the by-line to Stearman. His shot rebounded to JOH, whose shot was parried by the goalie to Ward and into the net.

Even at 3-1 I did not feel completely sure of victory. Wigan did not give up and continued to threaten on the break. Our defence creaked at times too. While Berra and Johnson have improved over the last couple of games, they are still error-prone. If Berra made a crucial tackle in the 16th. minute, he also reverted to wrestling his opponent to the ground. What are the odds that this is going to cost us a goal or two this season. Stearman and Ward were easily turned as well. Stearman was also responsible for the mistake in the 30th. minute, which Rodallega should have punished us for. Di Santo muscled him off the ball as he was bringing it out of defence and then crossed the ball over RJ`s head to Rodallega ...

Counting down the last ten minutes, I was looking for the appearance of Don Everall`s bus so I was somewhat surprised to see Milijas come on in the 82nd. minute in place of JOH. I could understand why JOH was tired but I had expected to see Elokobi or someone like that appear (is there anyone like George out there?) In the event, Ned did not have much of a chance to influence the course of the game.

To sum up, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Just as we can be heartened by a battling, if losing, performance against MC, we should not get too excited about beating the bottom team in the PL at home. However, there are positives to be taken from this game and we did secure a win at last. It would be churlish not to congratulate the team on their magnificent win today, achieved in the face of a great deal of criticism from many fans, including me. As long as we learn the lessons, we can continue to make progress. Indeed, we might have found a formation that suits us.

Although I couldn`t attend, the atmosphere in the crowd seemed tense and this surely only serves to undermine the team. Whatever we might feel about recent performances, we have to give the lads our full support on the pitch, especially now. Where was the intimidating Molineux roar today? When we are struggling, that is the time to encourage the team. I hope this victory will be the turning point of the season but we have to play our part. I bet the fans streamed out of the ground a lot happier than when they went in.

Now, bring on the knife!

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

Date:Sunday November 6 2011
Time: 5:52PM


Hope all goes well for you this week,we forget sometimes that this is only a game and there are more important things in life.I thought both teams were poor today and the defences both sides were awful,they could have been out of sight if they had any confidence up front,against better teams we will be punished more.That said I'm just glad of the win and the much needed three points that go with it!.UTW.
Crete Wolf
06/11/2011 18:06:00
You're right, Crete Wolves but we could do a lot better if we cut out the unenforced errors. It's one thing being turned occasionally by a top class winger (though one would like top class FBs in the team) but it's of a different order of error when we constantly get caught in possession or tamely pass to the opposition. There were several occasions in the match when stupidly losing the ball could have been fatal. MM please note!
06/11/2011 18:51:00
I think your assessment was spot on. Good luck for the OP btw. Both teams looked scared to death in the first half but over all I thought we were the better team in the end. They certainly had chances but so did we and as we hear week in week's the team that puts them away that wins. This is a letcher back though. I said on here that depending which wolves came out...we'd either win 3-1 or lose 0-4. Thankfully it was the first.....phew :) UP THE WOLVES !!!!!!!!!
06/11/2011 20:23:00
Two s**t teams plus one s**t crowd equals three points!I don't understand the maths either but I fully understand what I saw...and didn't hear.I thought we'd win today, based on the soundest of reasoning:I rate neither Martinez as a manager, nor WA as a team.The worst aspect of the whole day,in my opinion, was the realisation that we have one of the most insipid, unsupportive crowds in football.Rustmonkey asked on a forum thread whether the North Bank was coming across as morgue-like to those of us situated in other parts of the ground.I can confirm that today it did seem to be exactly that.I can be so sure because there was no noise coming from the other three sides, ergo:if the North Bank had been 'making some noise', i'd have heard you from the morgue-like South Bank!Our defence is a thing of constant worry, as is the inability of our 'fringe' players to make an instant impact, with 'can't-drop-me' type displays.I like both DE and AG but thought the former went AWOL between his early shot and scoring his goal and Addy,as he did last week,frustrated supporters like me who want to see more of him.In fairness to them both, they're returning from injuries, trying to get up to speed with what is happening around them.O'Hara, Doyle and Henry put in performances of which they can be individually pleased...but that defence!I've said to SB previously that there's no need to panic, until we decide there aren't three teams worse than us.I still don't think, using that reasoning, that we need to hit the panic button.Nor should we trot out the usual 'kick on from here' tripe, neither.I've always been convinced that Bill Shankly's "'s much more impotant than that" quote was never meant to be taken literally.As much as we can all masterfully suspend reality and decide that, for 90-odd minutes at least,nothing in the world is more important than watching twenty-two grown men chase a balloon around a field, we all know there are things "far more important than that".With that in mind,SB,I join all those who have already done so, in wishing you all the very best.
06/11/2011 21:27:00
SB all the best as for the match it was shocking are inability to defend is getting worse.The dithering on the ball or just giving it away seems to be getting a whole lot worse Stearman was the biggest culprit followed by AG and Berra only seems to know how to pass the ball back to the goalie.The cracks are there for all to see just hope MR Morgan opens purse strings in Jan we need help and fast.
06/11/2011 21:57:00
Thanks, guys. I'll be back after the international break. By then, Fletcher will be fit and that means we will be arguing about formations again. I expect lovesW will come up with 4-4-2, while some of us will think that our back four do not afford us that luxury.
06/11/2011 22:52:00
Hope all goes well for you SB!!! Was at the game today, I thought contrary to other posts the crowd did their bit. Given that only 23k attended it was no surprise that the atmosphere was a little flat. Plus Wigan only brought about 30 away fans. But overall a much needed win and a vital 3 points. Very pleased to see Fletch warming up too.... sporting some new boots to-boot. Lets hope they have a few goals in them! Special thanks to JOH too for netting me 8/1 on first to score. Finally Mrs Tasty can have that new drill she's had her eye on. UTW!!
07/11/2011 05:04:00
Does that mean that Mrs Tasty, like Mrs SB, is the one with the practical skills? I'll probably see her, with you in tow, at a Home Base one Sunday morning. JOH is beginning to repay our faith in him. Thank goodness we're playing him in his best position. We've needed someone who's sharp in the box. With Fletcher there as well, we would score more goals ... but how would we make up for the loss of a defensive midfielder? Yes, I know: buy a CD in January. It's on my Christmas list. At the moment WW seem to be playing the one entitled 'Appetite for Destruction' by GNR.
07/11/2011 06:31:00
SB all the best mate, I hope that everything goes well for you, not the most inspired of performances I have to admit, but we got the three point. Great article as usual!
07/11/2011 11:35:00
Shall have to save the report until later as running to work but just stopping by to wish you all the best Banksy. All the best mate you'll be back at em soon.
New York City Wolf
07/11/2011 13:34:00
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