NICK PARKES REPORTS ON WOLVES WIN AGAINST SOUTHAMPTON
An incredible second half performance saw 10 men Wolves take all three points at St Mary’s yesterday afternoon. With super sub and debutant Joao Gomes side footing pasT Southampton’s keeper late on to seal a dramatic comeback win on the south coast.
Logetegui made one change from last week’s thumping of Liverpool with Moutinho coming in for the injured Hwang. Our bench continues to strengthen with Gomes making the squad for the first time and a very welcome return for the Portuguese sensation, Pedro Neto.
The opening minutes saw Wolves on the front foot with a lively start which saw Dawson play two magnificent balls through to Semedo down our right, but our full-back was unable to produce anything of real quality both times. Then on 9 minutes came the first yellow card of the game from incompetent referee Jarred Gillett who booked Lemina for catching the player’s heel before the ball. Next in the book was Semedo who received a yellow despite clearly winning the ball. Saints broke the deadlock in the 24th minute as Alcaraz’ blocked shot found him again, for him to then shoot from distance with the ball going in off the post.
A few minutes later found referee Gillett at the centre of attention once more as Lemina was sent off for protesting what was a clear foul on him, it has been said that Lemina “approached the referee too aggressively”, despite being the third player to go to the referee. Wolves hard done by once more, and an all too obvious theme is repeating itself with referee and Wolves’ games. However, the referee cannot be blamed for Wolves’s poor start. Unable to make anything significant stick up front and struggling to get a hold of the game and impose ourselves which we have come to see under Lopetegui’s reign. Southampton had one basic tactic which was to lump the ball up to their giant of a striker who won the ball everytime. This allowed other Saint’s players to contest for the second ball, which in the first half they were winning. We looked slow and void of any creative ideas. On a positive note, after coming under scrutiny of late, Jose Sa’s ball distribution was much improved, clearly working on it in training. All-in-all a mild and limp first half against a team propping up the league, and with us down to men we had it all to do in the second half.
As has come to be expected under Lopetegui, Wolves made two subs at half time, with Adama and Bueno replacing Ait-Nouri, who was on a booking and Moutinho, who had a quiet first half. 10 minutes into the second 45 found Kilman almost costing Wolves dearly by underplaying a routine pass back to Sa, and as the Saint’s player looked almost certain to score, Sa managed to produce an incredible save to not only keep Wolves in the game, but also saving Max Kilman for the second game running. Shortly after this, Wolves found their rhythm and really moved up in gears. The introduction of Adama at half time and Costa on 60th minutes clearly making the difference with us starting to find spaces out wide and both of them causing havoc against the Saint’s defenders. Wolves pushed bodies forward and was able to connect with each other with more intent, a shot off target by Semedo in the 70th minute galvanised the fans behind the goal we were attacking and Wolves could smell the panic in the Saint’s players. Shortly after saw the arrival of much talked about Joao Gomes, who instantly looked assured and quick in decision making. Wolves’s pressure finally paid off as on 74 minutes the three subs combined with Bueno dancing into the box to play a ball along the 6-yard box to Costa who had his shot blocked. The ball then fell to Adama who squeezed out a shot on goal, and with the help of Saint’s defender Bednarek, the ball rolled over the line to make the score 1-1 thanks to an own-goal. A much deserved goal based on the last 15 minutes of Wolves play.
Only 4 minutes later Wolves should have found themselves in front with Costa being found by a beautiful through ball for him then to play a ball across to Sarabia, with the ball just getting ahead of him slightly, his stretch effort going wide. From being 1-0 down with ten men, there would surely only be one winner in this game, and the travelling faithful behind the goal knew it.
The 87th minute and the moment of the game, one which will live with the match-winner for a long, long time. After a mix up by two Saint’s defenders, the ball fell to Gomes’ feet and after a blocked effort just inside the Saint’s box the ball fell nicely for him to open up his body and side foot it beautifully and incredibly calmly passed the helpless keeper. A truly incredible moment for a player who is quickly becoming a cult figure at Wolves! The fans went wild, the players went wild, Pedro Neto, who rushed from the sub’s bench went wild. A truly memorable moment and one which secured a huge 3 points for Wolves and also opened up a 5 point gap from the bottom three. A late Ward-Prowse free-kick which saw Sa saved well from a shot was the only nervy moments before the ref called time on a great win for us.
A game reminiscent of Boro away and Bristol City away in the Championship winning season, one which needed grit, togetherness and a bit of quality and boy we sure got them all! A poor first half performance and handicapped by a poor referee’s performance but the passion and fight on show made every Wolves fan proud. There were very good performance from Sa, Dawson, and Neves. Also, huge credit goes to Adama who has turned out a few good performances of late and crucially contributing in front of goal. A huge three points away from home with a great team performance sees Julen’s Gold & Black army go marching on on on!
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! And favourite current player is Coady!
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!