Solidly placed in the top 6 of the Championship, on a tremendous run of unbeaten games, we attend these games with more optimism than we would have in previous seasons. These are days to be remembered and cherished.
I haven’t been to Molineux previously and was mightily impressed by the stadium if bemused at the 4 very different designed stands that failed to link together. Hopefully when we get around to our 4th stand we ensure it marries up well to the rest of the stadia.
As for the match, all I can say is that for an hour we struggled for a toehold. The first half was forgettable in terms of performance. Passes went astray, link play was absent and we scarce threatened the Wolves goal. This said the defence worked tirelessly and as Wolves threatened more they worked harder to stymy them.
Save for a Pitman effort that he blazed into the South Bank the first half was dominated by Wolves efforts and Cherries defensive heroics. Boruc had to be at his best throughout the half as Wolves belied their recent poor run and took the game to the Cherries. Quick attacks down the flanks had us on the back foot and using the old boxing analogy rocking on the ropes.
A sharp shot by Henry stung Boruc’s hands early on, with Ritchie then going down the other end and forcing Wolves keeper Ikeme into an identical save. Then after Pitman’s skier, it became one way traffic. Boruc parried a shot from Iorfa, only for striker van La Parra following up placing the ball into the side netting. Van La Parra had 2 further efforts swept aside by Boruc. Callum Wilson had an effort flash over the bar after latching onto the end of Francis run.
Then came the breakthrough for Wolves, just when it seemed we had weathered all that they could throw at us. It came from something of nothing and was unexpected given where the move was. From the far side of the pitch Henry floated a cross over that Graham latched onto and a glancing blow sent it goalwards on the cusp of half-time.
Interesting QI goal fact from the Echo was that this was Wolves first goal in 5hrs 48mins and our first conceded goal in 5hrs 49mins.
Into the second half and finally the Cherries started to threaten. Ritchie forced an early save from Ikeme and then the moment on which the game totally changed. A leading arm from van La Parra on Cook saw the Wolves frontman see red. Whether it was intentional or not, in real time it looked a clear red and the referee did not flinch from giving. The Cherries then took the ascendancy as Wolves immediately mounted a rear-guard defensive action.
Smith on for Daniels had a clear shot that struck the side netting. Cook then placed an effort over the bar after a Pitman was deflected into his path. Finally the Cherries endeavour in forcing Wolves back was rewarded. A move that started with Ritchie, then a Surman stepover, allowed the ball reach Arter who sent in a flashing shot from outside the box. The travelling army erupted.
More shots rained on the Wolves goal. Ritchie forced a save & Wilson saw an effort cleared off the line. Then another scramble in the Wolves box had everyone up and down off their seats, uh-ing & ah-ing, as the ball pin-balled around the box, only for Ritchie to latch on and rifle home the winner.
One final act in this drama saw Doherty dispatched for a 2 footed lunge on Pitman and leading to unseemly scenes at the end as Wolves Chairman remonstrated with the referee at the supposed injustice of it all!
As for the Cherries position at the top solidified and looking a unit more than capable of taking on anyone in the league. Onwards and upwards boys. UTCIAD
My man of the match – Harry Arter – a key lynchpin in midfield & it was from him all things happened today.
AFCB: Boruc; Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels (Smith); Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Pugh (Kermorgant); Pitman, Wilson (Gosling)
Subs not used – Fraser, O’Kane, Stanislas, Camp
Nick Wallinger, IOM