Football: Wolves miss Keane's bite
Sunday 11 April 1999
Crystal Palace 0
PERHAPS THIS result should have been obvious from the start, as between them these sides have only suffered one defeat in their last 26 games.
While Crystal Palace's incredible revival goes on, however, extending their own run to 10 games without defeat despite being pounds 23m in debt, this point barely strengthened Wolves' play-off ambitions. On the day of the Grand National, this mediocre draw was very much a case of also-rans.
And if Wolves are to confirm their place in the top six, they will need their one thoroughbred, Robbie Keane, but the Republic of Ireland striker is on international duty at the World Youth Championship in Nigeria and will be missing until the last two weeks of the season.
Wolves' assistant manager, John Ward, did not want to dwell on Keane's absence, although without their 16-goal top-scorer they only managed to force Kevin Miller into three saves, the best coming with only two minutes left in the first half.
Kevin Muscat sent in a deep cross to the far post and Carl Robinson, ironically a Keane lookalike, failed to produce a finish worthy of the teenager and saw his close-range volley blocked by Miller with his feet.
Miller, the hero in the draw with the prospective champions Sunderland on Easter Monday, was not as busy as his manager, Steve Coppell, had feared. Coppell was "more wary of coming to Molineux than some other places we've been to recently". One reason was the presence of "Wolves' personality players", although most of them suffered sudden personality bypasses.
Miller was called into action after only three minutes as Muscat let fly from 25 yards but, although the goalkeeper spilled the initial shot, he gathered at the feet of Neil Emblen.
Muscat, who found plenty of space down the right flank, and Emblen formed two of a former Palace triumvirate at Molineux, midfielder Simon Osborn being the third to have no joy against obdurate former team-mates.
After Palace had soaked up the first-half pressure - Wolves' manager Colin Lee said: "We were the team that looked to win the game" - the visitors had their first two shots of the match within 10 minutes of the restart.
Leon McKenzie went close both times. His 55th-minute header from Craig Foster's corner flashed over the bar, a virtual replica of his effort a minute into the half as Palace wore a distinctly more ambitious air.
But Wolves soon reasserted themselves in terms of possession, although they failed to create a significant chance in the second half, Lee's greatest disappointment. Only Robinson, again, got a shot on goal, and Miller fumbled but gathered the ball before it crossed the line.
Coppell claimed that since his team secured safety in Division One a few games ago, the only thing on his mind is the quality of performances, rather than results or play-offs, to encourage greater season-ticket sales this summer and improve cash flow. With only five games left, Lee's priorities are the opposite. As he said afterwards: "We're one point nearer our objective."
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners will only consider 'astronomical offer' from Atletico Madrid for Santi Cazorla
Why is it that there’s no women’s team at Manchester United? - Michael Calvin
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...