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This is the type of game that Wolves always seem to struggle with, it’s been the same for years and today we need to ensure we take advantage of a team on the ropes. Gary O’Neil has said that he doesn’t want to slip up against them and many people outside the fanbase of Wolves will expect a few goals from us after United lost their last game 5-0 at home to Brighton. We all know that it doesn’t work that way in Wolverhampton, suffice to say we can throw our hat into the European qualification race with a win.

Wolves remain unchanged from that fabulous victory at Spurs, it’s a chance to kick on but Sheffield United make a few changes which can work both ways. It’s obvious from the kick off that they are playing a 5-3-2 formation, I’m sure that may morph into a 442 as the game wears on, they are not that stupid to play 3-5-2, are they? We start brightly and in the first 6 minutes Neto is creating a few problems down the left as we kick towards the South Bank. A cross by him on 4 mins just evades Sarabia and on 6 mins a Neto drive gets blocked and he shoots wide with the rebound. Even at this early stage of the game, Sheff United are playing for time already, goal kicks and throw ins taking too long to take, which already frustrates the Wolves faithful who burst out the “BORING, BORING” chant. That’s probably just what Chris Wilder wanted to curb our enthusiasm and get us on our players backs. We are patiently passing the ball in the midfield and waiting for the right ball to play in behind the defence. Eventually on 15 mins, we have to defend a United attack, Rayan Ait-Nouri has to track back with the attacker and uses his strength to win a goal kick, amid appeals for a penalty, no way. We break on the right on 16 mins with Semedo bursting down the right, his cross is cut out at the near post with Lemina steaming in to connect. The resulting corner is a short one and the ball is worked into Joao Gomes but he puts his effort over.

We have to be careful in this game because the opposition look dangerous when they break, Sa has to make a great save at the far post from a stinging volley on 18 mins. It’s a warning that isn’t heeded throughout the half as Sheffield United continue to break at speed but if they could finish, we could have been behind. The misplaced passes by us are causing all sorts of nervous moments in the stands, you can sense it today.

Finally on 30 mins, we get the breakthrough, some good work down the right side between Neto and Ait Nouri, gives the Algerian space to clip a wonderful right foot cross into the far post, Sarabia meets it with an unstoppable header, 1 – 0 Wolves!!

This should open the floodgates, surely? Neto has a shot after tricky work on 35 mins but it’s over. We keep putting pressure on the goal but there are no clear opportunities and its not happening for Hwang, who loses his footing or can’t wriggle away from his marker. A final effort on 44 mins sees great interplay between Toti and Neto, Toti has a shot, its blocked and the effort from the rebound by Sarabia is blazed over.

VAR played a comical part in the half as Sheffield United players squared up to each other and a Violent Conduct check was made….how bizarre would that be if Sheff United had a man sent off via their own indiscretion? It was waved away and the half time whistle brought a muted response from the Wolves fans.

Half-Time Wolves 1 – 0 Sheffield UNITED

I’d like to say the second half would be a different story for us and we would come out and attack, more fool me, we started slowly again, as we always do. Sheffield had two corners in the first 5 minutes that didn’t result in any efforts on goal. On 50 minutes the United players seem to revel in the space we were allowing them to take, getting in behind both wing backs to swing crosses in but the heads of Dawson, Toti and Kilman cleared the danger. A low shot went just wide and this seemed to unsettle us as we couldn’t string passes together at all. On 54 mins we broke away in a rare foray forward, a cross from Semedo looked like it struck a hand and the rebound resulted in a foul on him. No VAR check, same old. Sheffield United kept breaking forward and causing us anxious moments in the box right up until the end of the game. We had one notable effort before full time, a one two with Sarabia and Gomes, ended with a shot by the Spanish man but that was on 65 mins. There were no other efforts to talk about if I’m honest and I can’t recall their goalkeeper making any saves, Sa was the busier of the two in the game.

The final whistle came and relief all around, no fist bumps from Gary O’Neil, I suspect he was a little miffed by his team’s performance and it was hardly a rip-roaring win. 

Full-time Wolves 1 – 0 Sheffield United

I personally went into this game with some reservations and thought we would be 2 – 0 winners, having a bit more quality than they could cope with. If I’m going to be candid, we played well below par and against a better team, we may have come unstuck.

That said, I’d rather play poorly and win, it takes us up to 8th place, 6 points off 6th and 1 point off 7th, a potential Europa Conference League spot. If we are to fight it out with 5/6 other teams, these tight wins will be so important, I’m sure we would all take where we are now at the end of the season but hang on……we can do much better and surprise everyone.

We’ll huff and we’ll puff and blow your house down…eventually!!

Craig Hickey


A 53 year old season ticket holder in the Steve Bull stand. Go along with my two young lads who love the Wolves and so far, the positive times. Long may it continue.

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