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Still waiting for that barnstormer Mick........

Still waiting for that barnstormer Mick........

So Wolves verses Birmingham the sequel, the first part produced by ESPN and directed by Mick McCarthy and Chris Hughton didn`t get many people through the box office (St. Andrew`s) and the critics were scathing.

But with it being awards season, the FA Cup is always a big hit and a second instalment was quickly commissioned and screened by ITV. Usually a sequel is never as good as the original, but on some occasions, the second chapter of the story comes out on top and thankfully for those who turned out at Molineux they were treated to a much better game, well half a game, but it was never the barnstormer that Mick McCarthy promised and if this was a movie it would be one of those that went straight to DVD rather than the cinema.

Just like the first fixture, McCarthy made plenty of changes, ten in all from the draw over Spurs. Once again our Mick decided to start the game without Steven Fletcher and went with Kevin Doyle and Sylvain Ebanks-Blake up front, supported by Hammill, Milijas and Hunt with Jonsson sitting a little bit deeper in midfield. De Vries continued his FA Cup duty behind the back four of Doherty, Stearman, Berra and Elokobi.

The game had a much higher tempo from the off but it was Birmingham who had the first sniff at goal, but a nice cross was cut out by Berra on five minutes, Wolves swiftly moved up the pitch and within 60 seconds SEB was getting his first shot on goal, but it was easily saved by Doyle.

What the game really needed was an early goal to get the last tie out of everyones minds and Ebanks-Blake really should have found it a few minutes later with his second effort of the evening, a Hammill cross found Ebanks-Blake, but he couldn`t find the net with his header.

Despite the lack of a goal inside the opening 15 minutes the game continued to be much better than the previous encounter with the game flowing from end to end with both sides at times playing some nice football into the channels, Redmond for Birmingham was looking like their main threat, while Wolves spread the play around with Milijas pulling the strings in the centre of park and Hammill continually getting the beating of his man at full back.

The next example of Wolves joy down the right flank was on 20 minutes when Hammill played a ball over the top for Doherty to whip the ball across the six yard box, Ebanks-Blake read it well and tried to get there but alas he couldn`t reach the ball and another chance was gone, but Wolves were beginning to get a foothold in the game, Birmingham`s chances were now restricted to counter-attacks as Wolves stroked the ball around at will.

Birmingham were down to nine men on 30 minutes after two of their players clashed heads, with both players bleeding they were led down the tunnel giving Wolves a numerical advantage for a couple of minutes, but Wolves remained patient in their play and failed to make the numbers game count. In fact it was Birmingham that should have gone in front during a nine minute period when they were without their full compliment. Rooney was clear through on goal after a Berra mistake, but he hesitated, failed to get the shot on goal and gave Elokobi the chance to get back and make the tackle, Birmingham fans might have thought it was a penalty, but World Cup final referee Howard Webb was having none of it.

The final minutes of the half offered pretty little and I began to get flashbacks to the first encounter, which was unfortunate because this had threatened to offer so much more in patches. The thought of possibly another seventy five minutes of this was almost enough for me to give up the battle for the remote as Big Brother was about to come on. But I kept the faith and slyly hid the remote guaranteeing the second half would remain on.

For the first ten or so minutes I was beginning to wonder if Big Brother might have been more entertaining, or at least preferable to the nagging...Birmingham had a couple of speculative efforts and Elokobi had an effort from 25 yards deflected, but the game was threatening to be the stalemate everyone feared it would be. With half an hour to go before extra-time would McCarthy now start thinking about freshening things up? Well, Fletcher was warming up, but no real sign that there would be an immediate change. So Wolves kept on plugging away, Hammill had his shot blocked by Kevin Doyle who couldn`t get out of the way, before Jonsson fizzed one straight at Doyle of the Birmingham variety.

Redmond then had a shot for Birmingham which went off for a throw in, before Elliott had a weak effort saved by De Vries, it was enough for McCarthy who made his first change withdrawing Jonsson and bringing on Adlene Guedioura.

It wasn`t the attacking change we might have all been hoping for, but his first touch was a rasping effort which went wide, while Steven Fletcher began preparing himself for his introduction, which came with 20 minutes remaining replacing Kevin Doyle.

Elokobi then came the closest to breaking the deadlock, but fortunately for Wolves as it was down the wrong end it missed the post by inches, however the resulting corner did break the deadlock, Elliott hit the post first time around and as he sat on his arse the ball fell back to him and he poked home from two yards out.

The next few minutes resulted in 1-0 to the Championship chant from the travelling Birmingham supporters and close ups of Wolves supporting children with tears in their eyes and a few adults also looking thoroughly depressed.

It was turning into the FA Cup "upset" that the ITV bosses had hoped for when selecting the game for television.

The final change for our Mick was to bring Ward on for Doherty which forced a bit of a shuffle at the back, most of the play now though was down the other end of the field as Wolves searched for an elusive equaliser, an hour ago extra time was the last thing I wanted, but as Ebanks-Blake`s scuffed shot fell to Fletcher who collided with the Keeper, Hunt had that chance to find the net and give us added time, but his effort was also saved and went over for a corner, which was duly wasted.

With the clock ticking away Wolves struggled to create that final chance to take it to extra time and with the seconds ticking away, Birmingham duly played out the remaining time in the corner, much to the embarrassment of Wolves.

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Date:Wednesday January 18 2012
Time: 10:05PM


I'm glad you've written the report, Akela, because I am not certain that I could be arsed to do it.
18/01/2012 22:21:00
Time for games is over, Mick - 'barnstormer' ! Back to work now.
18/01/2012 22:25:00
Mick's team selection costs us again.. like it does week in week out.. Elokobi & Hunt were hopeless.. Jonsson looks a championship player at best.. Doyle and SEB did ok but didnt have the service.. the ITV commentator summed it up by saying we didn't have enough in our creative midfield area! I'm all for stability and longevity but someone has to take action!!!!!!! we've done well lately in getting everybody behind the ball and grinding out results, but, that doesn't give the players confidence in breaking down teams and causing problems for opposition defences... today was a perfect oppurtunity to put a strong team out, play well, and reinstall some belief (to the fans aswell as the players), but we didn't take that opportunity and now this period without winning goes on, and it could & should have been put right tonight! bad managing from mick, bad football by the players that were picked tonight, bad result........ bad season????? we'll see!
18/01/2012 22:30:00
Im sorry but it was hard to know who was supposed to be the PL TEAM and who plays in the championship. Wolves started of the better then Birmingham took over for all our huff and puff we did not create a great deal. According to the facts these are pl players well i beg to differ if we could pass the ball forward as much as we pass it back to are goalie we would be great.Example second half starts Wolves kick of straight back to the goalkeeper who then hoofs it up the pitch for a Wolves player to pass it straight back to him.He then passes to another Wolves player who you guessed passed it back to him 3 back passes to the goalkeeper in the first 3o seconds of the second half.Which just about summed up are performance cant score goals cant pass a ball forward and to many average players. Birmingham looked a lot more comfortable on the ball passed the ball better we looked as if we did not know what to do when we had the ball.Which just about says everything about are squad all huff and puff but with little skill or ability it is now going to be a struggle for the rest of the season unless we get some new players in.But unless we move players on are we going to get any one as no body wants the crap we have playing for us. We keep on being told there up and comeing who are getting better well im sorry there not most should be up and on their way out they are just not good enough. And its just not tonights performance its been the same for most of the season 20 odd games in cups and the league do not lie.Also we had a 2 man advantage for at least three minutes and what did we do nothing not one attack or one shot on goal i could not believe what i was seeing embarrassing comes to mind.
18/01/2012 22:47:00
smithy?olves wake up - would you rather Mick have played the full first team and risk injuries?The team Mick picked "should" have been good enough to see of a very poor blues team, maybe that was the problem - the players knew like many fans knew that blues are ***** and thought it would be easy, ok we were poor - but to lose to a blues team that were simply crap is gut wrenching. I don't mind losing to a good team (hell I do) but to lose to a team like blues is !!!!! kiawolves -you really are a moron! ok we didn't play well tonight , but how dare you turn round and say they are all crap, why don't you ***** off and support a team like man u, I don't care how bad we play but I will NEVER insult my team the way ***** like you do. I am not bothered we are out of the cup because the league is far more important - I will be there again on Saturday like I was tonight - WILL YOU!
19/01/2012 00:43:00
.....'but to lose to a blues team that were simply crap is gut wrenching. I don't mind losing to a good team (hell I do) but to lose to a team like blues is !!!!!'.....quickly followed by...'I am not bothered we are out of the cup because the league is far more important'....and he calls other people morons.I'm bothered that we're out of the FA cup.I'm even more bothered, though, that the team we started with was far from being made up of kids and fringe squad players.A couple of months ago I stopped lobbying for players that weren't in the first team to be given a run. Quite simply because they got their chance(s) and made no difference.I don't think tonight was meaningless, I think the whole sorry display was indicative of how our season has gone.We have a squad of players unable to string a series of passes together, in order to create clear cut chances for the forwards (just one defence splitter before the season's out...please?)Compliments on our dogged away displays against the big boys count for nowt on saturday. We're at home against a none too special Villa side.Lets see what our 'first XI' can do...when backs to the wall grafting just won't be enough.
19/01/2012 04:12:00
What I am bothered about is after last nights performance is......well lots of things. The team that was picked should have been enough to beat Birmingham, but the tactics just shocked me, what midfeild. Just hump it up to two forwards that had no chance in the air. the second it was played to feet we looked ok. Stephen hunt was shockingly bad, and what didn't help was George ( I admire his heart but he is poo.) IThe left side gave nothing in defence and even less in attack. I noticed that Hunt and Hamill swapped sides I think that was so that Hammil could help cover george and for Doherty to help Hunt cover his slot in midfield. NM just didn't produce, I thought that Johnson had a reasonable game holding and supporting but didn't offer much else. I felt sorry for the guys up front as all they could do was chase scraps. MH had a good game and showed some attacking intention but with no-one to help him inside he couldn't shine. Doherty at right back did look solid got turned once early and it didn't happen again so he learnt which is a good thing, he also looked good coming forward. I am trying to put some good points up so its not all doom and gloom. But end of Stearman, Hunt elikobi need to go soonest. And the others need to have a serious look at themsleves. I am gutted that we are out of the cup. I think that we could have used it to help us get things going in the league, and I do like the cup. End of i really hope that Mick puts a rocket up their backsides and sorts it out NOW!!
19/01/2012 08:24:00
No comment!!!,will comment after the Villa game!.
Crete Wolf
19/01/2012 08:32:00
Johnwolf im a moron were you watching the same match as me Birmingham were a poor team they were better than us.If the team plays crap ill say so because im not blinkered like you who seem to think we played well we all know on here who the moron is.
19/01/2012 08:42:00
Bizarrely, I find myself in agreement with some of johnwolf’s comments. Not his customary rant against WW supporters, of course, but rather his assessment of the significance of the fixture. My main concern was for the health of our players in the run-up to the far more important match on Saturday. In this respect, I did feel tense but only when clicking on the official WW site to see who was playing. Phew! I could relax, that is, until MM Fletcher appeared on to the pitch in the 71st. minute. Apart from that, my only worry was to choose the most opportune time to tell my wife that I was going to see the match at a friend’s house. I was going to chicken out but the bag of clinking bottles gave the game away. The match was marginally more exciting than the first encounter but hardly merited the barnstormer tag that MM had given it before the kick-off. It could hardly have been anything else. Birmingham, a pale imitation of their PL team, are an average Championship side, whereas we put out a team of fringe players. Of course, as johnwolf points out, it should have been good enough to defeat BC but I am more philosophical about our performance than SmithyWolves and kiawolves are. It will be different against AV ... at least I hope it will be because the WW team that does not turn up might turn up on the day. If the game offered our fringe players the opportunity to force their way into the starting eleven, none of them really caught the eye. Hammill started well, beating his man, and setting up a couple of good chances for SEB. Indeed, our striker should have scored from one of them in the 8th. minute. Overall, SEB was his usual energetic self and at times looked like vintage Doyle with some good hold-ups and lay-offs but he has lost his striker’s edge. Doyle’s has disappeared completely. In midfield we looked fragile and the fact that we were not completely overrun was an indication of BC’s weaknesses rather than our own strengths. In advance, I had hoped that with Milijas back we had someone to provide the killer passes . He had his moments but at best his overall performance was patchy, another consequence of the ludicrous red card he received against Arsenal. As the commentators observed, we lacked creativity in midfield. Jonsson hardly sparkled either, doing his job competently but showing no imagination going forward. When passing, he invariably chose the safe, short and square option. Guedioura promised greater energy and had one near miss from distance but, like the rest of the team, fell into the torpor affecting the other players. At the back, we held the line quite well but that proved nothing. Berra made a dreadful error, which would have resulted in a goal, had it not been for an excellently judged tackle by Elokobi in the box. Then George almost scored an own goal. I was almost sorry that it missed by inches because the last thing that I wanted at that moment was for the game to go into extra time with the added risk to Fletcher’s precious legs. At RB Doherty was steady in defence and keen to get forward with some fine overlapping runs. He’ll make it in due course. So, a disappointing night but one that I had expected ... and we suffered no injuries. Even better, my wife had forgotten that I had been intent on sneaking off to watch the match. The day ended with us viewing ‘Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason’ on TV. At least if you are a fan of Romcoms you are sure of a happy ending.
19/01/2012 09:21:00
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