Cort eases pressure on Jones

Wolves 2 - Queen's Park Rangers 1
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The Independent Football

Striker Carl Cort scored twice to help lift some of the pressure from the shoulders of Dave Jones, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, at Molineux as the home side edged past a belligerent Queen's Park Rangers.

Striker Carl Cort scored twice to help lift some of the pressure from the shoulders of Dave Jones, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, at Molineux as the home side edged past a belligerent Queen's Park Rangers.

Cort's goals were the highlight of an end-to-end game played in atrocious conditions, although the dismissal of the Wolves forward Kenny Miller and a late goal for QPR set-up a frantic finale.

Cort opened the scoring with a clinical header from Kevin Cooper's pinpoint cross and then lifted the ball over QPR's goalkeeper, Chris Day, for the second after being sent clear by Seyi Olofinjana.

But Cort's contribution to the game was almost eclipsed by that of the dire Midlands weather. The wet conditions in the first half were nothing compared to the deluge that hit Wolverhampton over half-time as pools of water built up all over the pitch.

The ball regularly became stuck in midfield and the referee, Lee Probert, would have been forgiven if he had abandoned the game midway through the second half.

Perhaps only the influence of the home supporters desperate for more points to add to a meagre tally dissuaded him. Wolves found themselves in an ideal position to defend a lead against a QPR side which had lost Paul Furlong, the bulk of their firepower, to a groin strain.

Even with the conditions frequently ruining QPR's best efforts, Wolves almost gave the game away. Miller's dismissal for dissent, his second yellow card, was inexcusable but Kevin Gallen's long-range strike minutes before full-time was sublime.

The home side then survived appeals for a penalty when Gallen fell to the floor inside the area. The splash of water that flew up when he collided with the turf did much to aid the impression that the striker had, indeed, taken a dive.

Ian Holloway, the QPR manager, felt that the game should have been called off. "He would have called it off if the game was level," Holloway insisted. "Think about it: 10 minutes into the second half with conditions like that? The ball wasn't rolling, and if the ball doesn't roll on a football pitch you haven't got a game, have you?

"We were behind and when they scored the second it was all over. But if he'd have cancelled it he'd be in bits all over Wolverhampton."

Jones concurred, saying: "I think I'd have killed him (the referee) if it had been the other way round." But it was hard to begrudge Jones his stroke of good fortune. He is under considerable pressure from the Wolves board to deliver results quickly and rumours had been circulated that he was set to be sacked prior to the game.

"My wife worries for me," said Jones, when asked about the rumours. "Let her continue and I'll carry on sleeping and coming into work every day and doing my job until the hierarchy tell me otherwise."

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