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Jangling Nerves at Molineux

Jangling Nerves at Molineux

It was my first match of the season, having had a major knee operation in June, but the tension of the last 26 minutes made it seem all too familiar ... apart from the unusual experience of watching us hang on for a win, of course.

Limping up to the top tier of the BW stand at 12.45, I saw acres of empty seats, many of which remained unfilled throughout the match. Some of the supporters may have relocated themselves to the SC Stand but with an attendance of 20,230 one wonders why it had to be heightened at this point in our history.

Prioritizing the spending of money on laudable but unnecessary improvements rather than on filling the gaps in our team seemed even more absurd as the game progressed. Yes, we won - and over in Upper BW we breathed a collective sigh of relief when the final whistle blew - but we were bloody lucky that it wasn`t Derby revisited. While I noted a number of positives, we still have glaring weaknesses and these should have been addressed when we had the chance to do something about them.

Funnily enough, the back four should not bear all the blame for today`s lapses. Having castigated Johnson for his shortcomings on numerous occasions last season, I have to admit that he is a transformed player this time round. He`s still slow but his positional sense has improved and he is solid in the air. Berra had a decent game too, making vital blocks and tackles. Even so, he is still prone to error and regularly had to resort to tugging and body-checking.

At RB Stearman was a vast improvement on the dreadful Zubar (and it pains me to write that because I like Ronald`s ' joie de vivre`) but he, like Ward, were hard pressed by their wingers. I would prefer the more dependable Foley at RB. Ward also had a better game (even if he still backs off too much) and executed a number of saving blocks and tackles. And he is good going forward, if as inclined to hoof the ball upfield as anyone else in the back four.

Surprisingly, given the quality of our new recruits in midfield, this is where we came under the greatest pressure. Thankfully, Henry returned to the side to give a modicum of stability and when WW were in the ascendancy in the period before half-time, his presence gave Doumbia greater freedom to move forward. Sako looked classy too. What a peach of a free kick on to SEB`s head for the goal. Peszko, on the other hand, had a more difficult game: his touch was awry, he seemed hesitant and was easily knocked off the ball. He`ll have better games.

Then, we lost it in midfield in the second half and Leicester streamed past our men almost at will. Doumbia`s contribution became more fitful and Sako tired badly. Even so, TD`s replacement by Edwards in the 66th. minute was a mistake (unless it was due to injury) because the latter was virtually anonymous. Sako`s tendency to hog the ball rather than lay it off to a better placed colleague also had the effect of squandering potential chances. We still lose possession too easily ... it added to the tension of a nerve-wracking finale to the game.

Leicester naturally came out after the break determined to wipe out the deficit. The situation screamed for calm heads with players concentrating on keeping possession of the ball , advice that was even more essential after Leicester had scored their goal. We needed players to put their foot on the ball and knock it around safely, frustrating Leicester and exploiting the gaps that would emerge. Instead, we panicked, allowing our opponents back into the match. As the bulk of the action was taking place at my end of the pitch, I could see at first hand how close Leicester came to equalizing. In the build-up to the shot that rebounded off our post, my friend exclaimed 'They`re going to score`. I still cannot believe that we kept them out.

Up front, Doyle showed that he is returning to form. His holding up of the ball was almost as good as it had been in our first season in the PL and he manages to get his head to the ball far more often than one would expect for a man of his size. In this respect, he is far more proficient than SEB ... nice headed goal though. Overall, SEB had a good game and he linked up quite well with Doyle. Between them, they engineered a number of chances. SEB, for all his bulk, is surprisingly mobile.

At the moment, they look the obvious pairing. While Siggie displayed one or two neat touches, in general he looked lost and out of sorts, typified by a dreadful missed pass right at the death. He will improve but he is not the instant saviour we thought he might be.

The main positives to be taken from today`s game are the three points, the boost that this provides and the form of some of our players ... and the potential among others to improve. We will get better but it will take time. And, we do need to bring in more recruits in all sections of the team to hasten the process. At least, we`re not going down!

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

Date:Sunday September 16 2012
Time: 11:54PM


Southbank, thank you.
17/09/2012 04:09:00
Another fair assessment of the game SB.
17/09/2012 04:40:00
When choosing an image to head up the report, I immediately thought of Doyle, whom I thought had a storming game. He was a constant threat and with a little luck could have scored two or three goals, as well as making a similar number of assists. In the 41st. minute, for instance, either of his two shots could have gone in, while with one minute of proper time to go he ran past the entire Leicester defence and cut the ball across the goalmouth ... unfortunately SEB had left the pitch by then. Overall, the team had its moments and at times I could see improvement in our passing game, with neat touches, lay-offs and flicks to players running into space. Of course, they also gave us plenty of reminders of the uglier side of their game, especially after Leicester scored their goal: players tightened up and panicked; composure was lost; passes went astray and we blundered around in our penalty area. We were extremely lucky to get away with it but perhaps the players have learnt a lesson. They can do it and I want to emphasize the positive aspects of the game. We still need one or two new players though.
17/09/2012 09:01:00
Fitness seems to be an issue with some of the new boys but that will come with games.
17/09/2012 18:49:00
I'm becoming increasingly pleased with Roger Johnson. He bollocked Sako whose arrogance seemed to exempt him from chasing back and shouted so loud to claim a header in the 2nd half that the shreik could be heard all the way back to Sandwell Town. I think I like what is happening at the Wolves ....
17/09/2012 23:35:00
RJ has certainly sorted out his act.ngood on him.
18/09/2012 23:11:00
Yeah RustMonkey yet everyone had a pop at RJ for bollocking Hennessey , I hope to god Hennessey doesn't get back in , Ikeme is twice the keeper he is , sell Henno , get good money for him , He is far to lightweight n big headed for my liking , the amount of soft goals he has had go past him is unreal and then he will pull of a world class save to make everyone forget the mistakes hes made , Johnson has improved , personally I think he was just so shocked at how bad Berra was , him n Dann was a partnership , only downside is the more clean sheets we keep the more Berra will play , you know the self transfer listed Berra , so what happens if we keep doing well until January and a team comes in for Berra out the prem ? , lets hope he gets replaced by the pizza boy soon , Berra lost all my respect when he handed in a transfer request when he was at fault for most of the f!!! ups last season !
Will the Wanderer
23/09/2012 10:58:00
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