nick parkes shares his thoughts as wolves win 2-1 at bournemouth
Wolves came from behind to beat winless Bournemouth away in a game which saw O’Neil and his men climb to 12th in the table with 11 points.
Wolves were looking to continue their recent good form and stretch their unbeaten run to 4. With Semedo and Lemina both suspended, O’Neil gave starts to Doherty and Traore, and continued with the 5 at the back formation.
Wolves started well and the man in form, Pedro Neto almost continued his goal contribution run with a wonderful curling effort from range which rattled off the crossbar after 5 minutes. He picked up the ball on the right, cut inside and beat 2 or 3 defenders, tried his luck from distance and only the woodwork prevented him.
We continued to probe, looking to break the deadlock and good work from both Neto and Hwang on separate occasions saw us in good positions but to no avail.
Wolves were on top throughout the opening spell of the half but Bournemouth opened the scoring against the run of play on 17 minutes. Far too much room in the middle of pitch, allowed them to play from front to back quickly. Ait-Nouri was caught out of position which let Bournemouth play a ball across our box and a wonderful flick finish by Solanke found the bottom 3 side 1-0 up.
A swift move on the half hour mark saw Ait-Nouri find Neto in the middle of the pitch in space, he carried it to the edge of the box and played in Cunha, who quickly looked to play Neto back in on goal, and only a crucial interception prevented him with a clear chance to score. Great build up play and unlucky not to finish it off.
The first half continued in the same vein with Wolves having possession and looking threatening but that killer instinct still lacking. We found ourselves in good positions but no end product. Bournemouth however, were looking dangerous around our box. Finding spaces far too easily and a team with real conviction would have caused us more issues. Wolves went into the break 1-0 down but were far from out of the game.
Wolves came out for the second half with a point to prove and O’Neil made one change which saw Joao Gomes replaced by Doyle and within two minutes it had paid off. Doyle picked up the ball deep in our half, played a wonderful ball to Neto who danced his way passed a few players to the edge of the box, played in Cunha who beautifully curled in from 18-yards, giving the Bournemouth keeper no chance and drawing us level. Despite having a poor first-half, Cunha produced a moment of real quality.
Another key moment in the game happened not long after Wolves equalised. Hwang reacted to being hacked down by Cook, they both confronted each other and Cook leaned in with his head to hit Hwang, although Hwang made the most of the contact, it was a definite red card and Bournemouth found themselves down to 10-men.
Wolves were looking much more connected and cohesive going forward with Doyle on the pitch. He added purpose and pace to our attack which was needed to break down a team who had 10 players behind the ball. At times our play was slick and on 60 minutes, a swift attack had Cunha race forward and play in Hwang on the left of the box, he played in an overlapping Ait-Nouri whose shot on goal was blocked and out for a corner.
The pressure continued to mount and Cunha constantly found himself involved. This time a deft touch from himself on the right found Doherty who put in a cross for Cunha whose header went over the bar. Again Cunha was in the action with a decent shot from the edge of the box on 75 minutes, his shot was saved well but only found an on-rushing Hwang who blazed his close range shot over the bar.
Wolves turned into prime Barcelona late on, and if Neto had found the net, it would have been a goal of the season contender. With incredible and intricate play down our left involving Hwang, Cunha, and Ait-Nouri as they danced around several defenders. Quick sharp passes between the three found Ait-Nouri playing in a ball across the box but slightly behind Neto, his shot just off target. Incredible football and greatly admired by the travelling fans who had a close up view of Hwang, Cunha, and Ait-Nouri turn into Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta for 10 seconds.
The minutes were winding down but just as he did against Everton, super sub Sasa Kalajdzic found himself in the right place and the pefect time, to score our second and the all-important winning goal. A very sloppy pass out by the Bournemouth goalkeeper saw Sasa rob the defender of the ball, it ended up with Hwang, who intelligently lifted the ball over the rushing defenders leg to play in Sasa who opened his body up in the middle of the box to place home to make it 2 goals for him in the league and the second for Wolves on the day. Credit to Hwang to have the awareness and cleverness to play that ball for the assist.
The ref blew for full-time and the game finished 2-1 to Wolves. A deserved win away from home which saw us climb the table. Gary O’Neil deserves a special mention for his tactical sub at half-time. Doyle looked very impressive and direct when he came on as he looked to get on the ball and dictate our attacking moments. Neto with another assist to continue his incredible run of goal contributions. Hwang again involved in the action and excellent to see Cunha get his goal.
All-in-all a decent performance, a good second half saw us come from behind. In previous seasons we have struggled at places like Bournemouth so was great to see us find a way to win and also to break down a team with 10-men and come out on top. Things are looking good for us at the moment and may the unbeaten run continue.
ARTICLE BY NICK PARKES
Hi, I’m Nick! Born in Wolverhampton and currently living in Barcelona. I’ve been a Wolves fan since birth (dad’s choice) and was a north bank season ticket holder in my younger days. My favourite all-time player, Bully!
I’m an English teacher by trade and when I’m not scolding teenagers in the class, I’m either running, gardening or watching cricket!