Attack is the Best Form of Defence
This was the proverbial game of two halves. Birmingham dominated the first one and Wolves went in at the break lucky not to be a couple of goals down never mind a fluky goal up. This time, however, our team did not switch off in the second half and, upping the tempo, continuously had the opposition on the back foot. We could have won by two or three goals.
Watching a recording of the post-match interviews it was nice to see an opposition manager complaining that his team didn`t deserve to lose. Sure, if referees awarded points but WW got the goal, held resolutely on to the lead and ended up the dominant side by far.And, as I continuously pointed out when we were failing to hold on to one goal leads (or a draw), attack is the best form of defence. So, instead of defending ever more deeply as BC sought an equaliser, we kept our formation and put them under constant pressure.
Even so, unlike last week, we need to impose our ourselves on the match from the start: we never looked like scoring in the first half. Thankfully, our defenders collectively played well and somehow managed to prevent Birmingham from getting through. When Caddis did get off a clear strike on goal, Ikeme, at full stretch, was up to the task. Fortuitously, we also benefited from an eagle-eyed linesman, who throughout the game judged all the close offside decisions in our favour.
It does help to have Henry in midfield too as we do not get overrun so easily with him on the pitch. And, in spite of some characteristic poor passes, his glorious through ball to SEB led directly to our goal. A quickly taken Birmingham free kick sent the ball deep into our half: a short pass forward from Ward to Henry and in a trice the ball was at SEB`s feet on the BC by-line at the edge of the penalty area.
A soft push by Caldwell allowed SEB to fall over and we had the free kick from which we scored. Sako drove the ball low and hard into the goal area, hoping to get a ricochet, and it worked! Sako was rightly awarded the man of the match award because of the constant threat he posed. However, he has his weakness: he tries to do too much on his own; loses the ball (I counted three occasions in the first 23 minutes) and is becoming a little wayward with his deadball kicks. But he is a magnificent player moving forward. In the second half he turned Caddis at will and, if only we had a Fletcher to finish off his crosses, we would score bucketloads of goals.
That`s not to say that we are not improving on that front because Doyle, SEB and Siggy are beginning to gel as an attacking force. Doyle had an excellent game, while Siggy has now adapted to the demands of the Championship. SEB played alright but did not take his chances. He will be the one, whom Cassidy displaces, should he prove his worth when he returns in January.
So, it`s back-to-back victories and, if the players gain encouragement from their second half performance, they should go into the Middlesbrough match next Saturday with considerable optimism. After all, Birmingham beat them last week. There`s still a long way to go but if we can hold our nerve, we should make steady progress. Much depends on action in the transfer window, of course but, who knows, we may do a Reading!
Apart from Cardiff, no other team is dominating the division and why shouldn`t a resurgent Wolves be up there in the mix? But, let`s play hard for the entire 90 minutes (plus, extra times, of course). OK, lads?