Football: Wolves missing Bull's eye

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The Independent Online
Notts County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Wolverhampton Wanderers. . . . . . . . . . . . .1

WOLVES without Steve Bull are like Judy without Punch, punch being the operative word.

With a little more of the latter Graham Taylor's side could have made a mess of a Notts County defence left exposed by an increasingly

supine midfield after Andy Thompson had equalised for the visitors through a penalty with 20 minutes remaining.

In the absence of the Black Country's favourite son and Tony Daley, whom they are still thirsting to take to their bosom, Wolves are unlikely to get their promotion challenge into high gear.

They deployed their right- back Mark Rankine in the No 9 shirt but it was Steve Froggatt, their pounds 1m winger from Aston Villa, who looked the greatest threat in a three- man front line, having what looked like a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside

after outpacing the defence.

County, unveiling their new pounds 3m 6,500-seat Derek Pavis main stand will probably be content with consolidation for which they had

Michael Simpson, a 20-year- old YTS product, to thank with a goal nine minutes

before the interval.

Simpson, filling the boots of the departed Mark Draper, scored his second League goal, in only his seventh League start, by exquisitely steering a shot over a crowded area and Mike Stowell, who had wandered off his line to counter a quickly taken corner.

County would have been two goals up had not Darren Ferguson not got his chest in the way of a shot from Andy Legg, but Wolves showed plenty of spirit and might easily have recorded a second league victory.

Gary Lund and Tony Agana produced horrible misses for County but Cherry came under increasing pressure culminating in Simpson's clumsy tackle on Rankine which led to Thompson's penalty. Cherry could only maul it en route to the bottom right-hand corner.

Three minutes from time Wolves appeared to have claimed the winner when Ferguson and Rankine combined to put Froggatt in the clear only for Cherry to make a point-saving stop with his legs.

There were five bookings including one for County's new Nigerian defender,

Michael Emenalo, for a foul on the Wolves tiro, Jamie Smith, who joins exclusive company as Roberto Baggio was Emenalo's last victim.

Notts County (3-5-2): Cherry; Turner, Yates, Murphy; Hoyle, Lund, Simpson (Matthews, 75), Legg, Emenalo; Agana, McSwegan. Substitutes not used: Cox, Reece (gk).

Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-3): Stowell; Blades, Shirtliff, Venus; Smith, Ferguson, Thomas, Thompson; Rankine, Kelly, Froggatt. Substitutes not used: Birch, Emblen, Jones (gk).

Referee: I Cruikshanks (Hartlepool).