Football: Taylor rediscovers golden touch

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The Independent Online
Notts County . . . . . . . .0

Wolverhampton W. . . . . . .2

Thompson pen 54, Whittingham 89

Attendance: 13,438

GRAHAM TAYLOR may not regard orange as his favourite colour but old gold is beginning to look pleasing to the former England manager's eye. This was Wolves' first successful visit to Meadow Lane since 1930 but, more to the point, their fourth win in six matches since Taylor's appointment last month.

With five games to go, the possibility that a Taylor team might qualify for something this season is thus kept alive. Their ambition of a First Division play-off spot is still based more on hope than expectation but with three of those remaining fixtures at home the rebuilt Mo lineux may yet host Premiership football next season.

Taylor remains realistic. 'When I took it I said that it was a long shot,' he said. 'It is sixth place that we are looking at. The odds get shorter each time we win but the fact is that we are running out of games.'

The closeness of the finish line is worrying County more. They have only four more games to ensure that their rapid spring growth does not wither. Their impressive home form is deserting them, after winning 16 out of 20 at Meadow Lane before drawing against Tranmere in midweek.

Mike Stowell, the Wolves goalkeeper, frustrated them yesterday, producing excellent saves to thwart Paul Devlin and Shaun Murphy in the first half, Rob Matthews and Gary Lund in the second. Peter Shirtliff and Derek Mountfield formed a solid rock in front of him but County should have made more of a marked territorial advantage.

A penalty put Taylor's side in front, converted by Andy Thompson after Mark Rankine's attempted cross struck Murphy's hand. An enormous hole in the home defence allowed Guy Whittingham, on loan from Aston Villa, to race through and make the points safe a minute from time.

It was a day of farewells - to County's 84-year-old grandstand, due for demolition tomorrow, and to Allan Gunn, the Sussex referee, in his last game. But County felt that he denied them a penalty as clear as the one he gave Wolves and then overlooked an offside when Whittingham scored.