Football: Wolves so keen

Wolverhampton 1 Keane 82 Middlesbrough 0 Attendance: 26,896
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The Independent Online
Wise men will maintain that there's still so much missing from this Wolves side that they cannot be taken seriously as Premiership contenders. Be that as it may, they still derailed a better Middlesbrough side with a late goal to move them further up the First Division table.

Ten minutes from the end, Robbie Keane, roving far and wide from his normal right-wing berth during the second half, beat Mark Schwarzer to Dougie Freedman's through ball and then lobbed the keeper for the game's only goal. Minutes later the industrious Freedman should have put the game beyond doubt when he combined cleverly with Paul Simpson for a one- two that swept them through the Boro defence but his shot rolled inches wide with Schwarzer helpless.

The moribund first half produced only one real chance when Freedman intelligently delayed his cross until Steve Bull had got out of the starting blocks but the striker's header shaved the wrong side of Schwarzer's left-hand post.

While displaying the more refined skills, especially when Emerson and Paul Merson started motoring, the visitors had elected to play a cautious game with Mikkel Beck in the lone-striker role. Nevertheless, they started the second half at top speed with Keith Curle almost conceding an own goal when his tackle ended a mazy Merson dribble.

Wolves' persistence rather than subtlety was still capable of giving their opponents plenty to think about, especially when Bull crashed his shot against the post in the 56th minute. Another came minutes later when Freedman stroked his shot beyond the diving Schwarzer only to be denied by Curtis Fleming's last-gasp block. True grit won the day for Wolves but their distressing lack of finesse - Freedman excepted - is a deficiency that demands correction if they are to genuinely foster hopes for a Premiership place. Boro certainly looked the classier side on the day even though they returned to Teesside pointless.

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