Charlton Athletic 1 Wolves 3: Teenager Vokes proves Wolves' golden substitute

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager, loves nothing better than to dig-up a raw talent from deep beneath the cash-laden Premier League summit and then parade him as his own little gem.

It worked a treat 18 months ago when he paid Grays, a Conference club, a modest £25,000 for winger Michael Kightly and he appears to have turned water into wine again in the summer by capturing Sam Vokes from Bournemouth for a somewhat larger £300,000 cheque.

Within a few weeks Vokes, 18, has turned himself into a golden substitute for the Wanderers and for Wales after hitting a late World Cup qualifying winner against Azerbaijan on his international debut in Cardiff last Saturday week.

His two opportunist strikes against Charlton at The Valley in the final nine minutes after replacing Matt Jarvis were no less impressive as Wolves maintained top place from Birmingham on goal difference.

Newcastle and Aston Villa were sniffing around Dean Court before McCarthy pounced for the player but the manager, somewhat tongue in cheek, doesn't believe Vokes would be sexy enough for the fans of those clubs right now.

He said: "The problem with Premiership clubs, they would go and sign Sam Vokes and loan him out to a club like us. The Premiership fans wouldn't find him sexy enough, would they? Sam Vokes from Bournemouth?

"That's the problem. Fans demand that you spend £32 million and if it all goes tits up it's a sad state of affairs. We've had good success through good scouting."

Nicky Bailey, the Charlton striker, could also be termed as a rough diamond having not long earned his League status at Southend and Barnet but no one could dispute his excellent contribution to a free-flowing game when he volleyed home a sublime opener on three minutes.

The match turned on its head when Bailey was adjudged, somewhat harshly, by referee Anthony Taylor to have tripped Andy Keogh in the box, allowing Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to drill in the penalty equaliser just after the hour. Alan Pardew, the Charlton manager, certainly did not appreciate the way his side allowed Wolves to dominate the final 20 minutes and seal their fourth win from five games when Vokes flicked home Stephen Ward's cross before heading in a simple second after goalkeeper Nick Weaver had blocked Michael Kightly's shot.

Pardew said: "At the moment everybody would say that Birmingham and Wolves are slightly above everybody else but there's such a long way to go so don't get caught in the trap that it's going to be a two-horse race."

Goals: Bailey (3) 1-0; Ebanks-Blake (pen, 61) 1-1; Vokes (81) 1-2; Vokes (87) 1-3.

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Weaver; Cranie, Fortune, Hudson, Youga; Sam (Basey, 79), Holland, Bailey, Buazza; Gray (Dickson, 79), Varney. Substitutes not used: Ambrose, Elliot (gk), Primus.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Hennessey; Foley, Stearman, Collins, Ward; Kightly, Henry, Jones, Jarvis (Vokes, 66); Ebanks-Blake (Edwards, 86), Keogh (Gray, 90). Substitutes not used: Shackell, Ikeme (gk).

Referee: A Taylor (Greater Manchester).

Booked: Charlton Sam, Youga, Bailey, Fortune.

Attendance: 21,547.

Man of the match: Bailey.