Another Three Points Thrown Away
An even quieter week on the site, as more of us have resigned ourselves to our fate. There`s nothing to get excited about and none of the tension that normally precedes a WW match at this time of the season, as we struggle to avoid the drop. The trap-door`s already swung open and we`re dangling in mid-air. If you see any sign of life, don`t start envisaging mathematical improbabilities because it`s only residual muscular spasms. After being hung out to dry for a few weeks, we`ll be cut down and unceremoniously dumped in the Championship grave.
I expected to watch the match on a dodgy freeview site today but at 5 pm., noticing that the match was on ESPN, I paid £9 to enrol and sat down to watch it. I probably wouldn`t have bothered but results had gone our way and I discerned a glimmer of hope. Silly me!
A pattern is beginning to emerge. We start strongly and get a goal. So, today, in the 25th. minute Kightly drove in from the right flank and tried to cross the ball to Edwards, running through the middle. He missed it but put off Begovic and the ball ended up in the back of the net. Briefly, my pulse picked up.
Then we throw away the lead, either through a dubious penalty or a piece of bad defending. This time sloppy defending let us down. Firstly, Kightly gave away an unnecessary free kick to the right of our penalty box. Remember, Stoke have Crouch in the middle. Initially, the ball was cleared but when it returned, Stearman failed to deal with it effectively. It fell to Huth, who drove the ball home through Hennessey`s legs. He`s as demoralised as the rest of them!
At half time Keegan observed that if Wolves wanted to win this match - and they had to- they had to score twice because he couldn`t see them preventing Stoke from finding the net again. And so it proved. Ward gave away a dubious free kick in the 59th. minute and Crouch, at the far post, headed the ball back across the goal beyond Hennessey`s reach. The replay showed that Ward won the ball but caught the player in his follow through.
Having lost the lead, as ever, we found it impossible to level the score, let alone score twice. In essence, we huffed and puffed to no good effect and the game petered out:another winnable game lost!
At the end of the game I suddenly realised why we are doing so badly. We create loads of chances and can score goals ... even take the lead. Unfortunately, we are constantly let down by defensive errors. In his ever more despairing attempts to conjure up a solid pair of central defenders, TC turned to Stearman and Bassong today. It worked no better.
In midfield I was surprised to see Henry replace Davis as I thought that the latter has been one of the few players to show some fight and flair. Defensively, Henry`s performance was reasonable but his distribution remains woeful. Davis, on the other hand, is mobile, can tackle, distributes the ball well and can run with it. He had only a few minutes to show what he could do.
On the flacks, it was Jarvis`s turn to shine, even though Kites scored a goal. He rounded his man at will and sent over a stream of crosses, not all of them in the right place. It didn`t matter because no-one was available to pop them home. Fletcher went AWOL today and while SEB ran hither and thither, he never looked like scoring ... and his control was poor. Doyle replaced him in the 82nd. minute but saw little of the ball.
We had to win this match today and could have done so. Stoke did not make that much of an effort. Even so, without really raising their game, they equalised and then took the lead. It was so predictable. We are going down but with the money we get from the sale of our 'stars`, we need to invest it in a complete set of defenders.
It`s so frustrating. We had enough chances to win the game. Bassong sent a free header wide in the 52nd. minute; Fletcher should have poked home a Jarvis cross two minutes later; and Jarvis missed a sitter in the 65th. minute, after good work by Kightly on the by-line. We have to put away our chances, given our frailty at the back.
In the last three matches we have taken the lead on each occasion and were clearly the superior team for most of the time. We should be nine points further up the table now but because of basic errors in the back we`re dead and buried. I am travelling up to see them on Wednesday and I can`t even hope for a few minutes in the lead. We`ll probably win it just so that the footballing gods can prolong my agony a little longer.
I`ll not be able to report on the game - at least not immediately- as I am driving on to stay with my sister-in-law in Derbyshire. I am working in the county for a few days and that means no report on Saturday either. I`ll be otherwise occupied.