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Wolves Salvage A Point

It`s particularly difficult for me to comment on Saturday`s game against Rotherham. Apart from the fact that I did not attend the match, WW`s official blog failed to materialise on my computer. I was therefore forced to follow the Express & Star account which only intermittently came to life. Rather like our team really.

And it started so well. Having missed goals by not jumping high enough, Batth put us ahead by stooping down among the flying studs to nod the ball home. Unfortunately, as so easily happens, the euphoria of the moment meant a relaxation of concentration. A minute later RU had equalized after poor defending from a corner allowed ex-loanee Dicko to fire home from close range.

In the 35th. minute Doherty`s injury put us behind. His absence meant that Golbourne rather than the much taller Ricketts was marking Agard as Pringle floated the ball over from the left. Outjumping our defender, Agard directed the ball beyond Ikeme`s reach into the far corner of the net.

Both goals were avoidable, as was the third. Another perfect Pringle cross bisected our defenders and up popped Dicko to chest the ball past Ikeme. If today`s match was a test of our team`s resolve and how they responded to KJ`s testy half-time tirade, then the prognosis was not good.

While it`s hard to complain about our bad luck this season, given the fluky wins we`ve achieved on the way, it`s certainly true that referees have rarely given us the benefit of the doubt. So, it was nice to be the beneficiary of a decidedly dodgy penalty decision in the 57th. minute.

Game on, as did LG in the 61st. minute. Actually, I thought he had scored with his first kick of the game, having read a Sky Sports post that indicated a goal to WW. Every so often the same source would report another goal minutes after it had happened, leaving me either elated or despondent, according to the resting place of the ball.

I was therefore still in a state of confusion when the stream came up with the announcement that Henry had scored a minute later. And what a great individual effort, following a neat pass from Edwards to put him through. Charging through the RU defence, warding off a rugby tackle en route, he calmly hit the ball past Collin`s outstretched arm. From then on, we were in the ascendancy and could have won the match had not Griffiths stumbled and a couple of other chances gone in.

So, a match that could (and, perhaps, should) have resulted in a third defeat in a row, with all the problems accompanying it, now seems like a triumph in adversity, a demonstration of our grit and fighting spirit. Well, it has halted the blip in our fortunes. However, we have to pick up from where we left off on Saturday rather than revert back to the aimless display we gave in the first half.

We still have weaknesses to put right. Siggy, given the opportunity to prove himself upfront, failed dismally. Griffiths has to come back. Even if he fluffed a chance, at least he was on the spot and he is the only one who is likely to score. By all accounts, Sako played OK but I still think he is a luxury we cannot afford. He might turn the outcome of the match in one moment of magic but Henry did that yesterday and he is always in the game. I hope he is his groin strain has healed because we really need him.

I also pray that Doherty will soon be fit enough to play. We miss his overlapping runs down the right flank, which provide us with one of the few genuine attacking options we possess. His presence would also allow us to move Ricketts to LB in place of Golbourne, who looks vulnerable in that position. We could try him out in midfield.

If KJ is still concerned about our strikers, he has an even bigger headache when considering our midfield. Judging merely from the blog, JK`s decision to take off Price for DD looked like a negative ploy, designed to hold on to a point rather than go for a win. It also suggests that Price had not done the job assigned to him. And yet, we almost contrived a win. Of course, McDonald will be back on Boxing Day but, though welcome, that still does not resolve all the issues. I expect KJ that will still be experimenting with our midfield when LO roll up for the crunch match on Sunday. It`s somewhat disconcerting.

I hope for four points from these two matches and a further six against Tranmere and Gillingham, if we obtain them, we could still be in an automatic promotion position. If so, we should be able to attract new recruits in the January window. It looks as though we might sign up Phillips, a guaranteed goal-scorer, but he`s not a tall target man and seems too similar to LG to play the two together. Perhaps we'll use him as an impact striker off the bench. In midfield I know the type of player I want but am at a loss to name an individual who is available and who would come. I trust that KJ has someone in mind, though whether the management will give him the funds is an expression of hope over expectation.

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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday December 23 2013

Time: 10:09AM


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