I’m cheating this week. Thankfully, I decided some time ago that a lunch time kick off in the Black Country was an absurd waste of time and effort with the game being on TV. It looked like the players agreed with me.
As pleasing as a 7 point haul from the last 3 games has been, we rode our luck at Charlton, beat a poor and crumbling relegation candidate and should have been 2 down before rescuing a point against Forest – it was far from being the foundation of an assault on the top half of the table and, deep down, most Town fans knew it.
Still, we had hope dangled before us in the first 20 minutes of this game and had we possessed anything like a cutting edge, a flat and unconvincing Wolves could have been under great pressure from a quiet, grumbling crowd who were audibly displeased at their team’s poor passing and hoofing.
In contrast, Town played with confidence and some fluidity but the familiar and unresolved problems in the last third saw good work peter out in tame shots (other than one half decent effort by Carayol) and a wilting threat.
In the opening period of hope, at least the front men pressured Wolves in to long punts forward easily defended and turnover of possession was regular, and with more composure, Bunn could have given the visitors what would have been a deserved lead.
Then it all fell apart. Cranie, who was otherwise one of very few of the side who came out with any credit, tried a strange lofted ball inside catching Huws static (sadly, this became a feature) and MacDonald drew Whitehead in to a missed challenge, played a one-two with Henry which took Lynch out of the game, strolled forward and hit a shot past Steer from 25 yards for a shock lead.
Other than a good run by Huws – pretty much the only time he got ahead of the forwards – which fizzled out with a tame shot when both Bunn and Miller were better placed, neither side looked threatening and a largely dull game was played out until half time.
The second half was worryingly poor from Town. Miller disappeared and while he had only offered nuisance value on the whole in the first half, he couldn’t make his presence felt at all in the second.
But of all the poor performances in a desperate second half, none were as inept or damaging as Davidson’s. From being nutmegged early on which should have lead to a goal from a near post header, to a suicidal back pass which 99 times out of a hundred would have resulted in a penalty and a sending off to losing the ball for Wolves’ icing on the cake 3rd, the Australian was simply awful and a massive liability.
While his unconvincing first half could have been excused by Carayol’s reluctance to help out, the presence of Bunn as auxiliary after the break removed that excuse, and it is to be hoped that this will prove to be temporary incompetence.
By the time Davison had played in Le Fondre, Wolves were already 2 up – guess who was playing Le Fondre onside to set up our old friend Afobe for a tap in?
Afobe, who had a terrible first half, outpaced Ward for the final goal and an abject display was rightly punished by the worst defeat of the season.
There were few, if any, straws to clutch at in the performance. An increasingly frustrated Whitehead worked hard alongside the languid Huws, who should have been replaced earlier than he was and Cranie did little wrong, but after that it is hard to point to any Town player who remotely performed to an acceptable standard.
Had Town scored in their dominant first 20 minutes, things may have been different – a sparse looking Molineux seemed pretty grumpy until the goal – but that failure in itself exposes the limitations of a team reliant on Huws for goals in the mini revival.
In a contest between two distinctly average sides (and this is showering Town with hyperbole), Wolves only had to increase their intensity to sweep their opponents aside, and by the end they looked a mile ahead of us as they forced their way in to the top 6 for at least an hour or two.
A late effort by Wells was the only trouble caused to the home keeper throughout the second half and it was all summed up by a dreadful corner delivery by Patterson (on for one trick pony Bunn – his turns are telegraphed before the ball even reaches him).
I’m as thankful for the international break as I was for not having to trail down to Wolverhampton – but another tough trip to Ipswich follows, and there seems little likelihood that the striker problem will be resolved by then, especially if the answer to the question is Leon Best.
Maybe Vaughan’s clearly strained relationship with the club will be eased, but even he isn’t much of an answer if his form last year is anything to go by, and Scannell’s regression continues to be another worry to heap on Powell’s shoulders.
I’m now preparing for more TV disappointment with the England rugby team, but it won’t hurt anything like this display.