Wolverhampton 2, Coventry City 1: McCarthy admits Wolves good luck

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The Independent Football

Even Mick McCarthy admitted that fortune favoured Wolverhampton Wanderers as they were reinstated as Coca-Cola Championship leaders.

Lucky to be only one down early on, his side rallied with goals by Michael Kightly and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake either side of half-time to dig themselves out of a mini-slump which had looked like becoming something more serious against enterprising Coventry City.

But there was a suspicion of offside about the winner and McCarthy acknowledged: "We won ugly and Coventry will feel peeved. That's why it's our best win of the season."

Wolves had gone into the international break minus their first-choice strikers and wingers and the three who returned for this competitive derby found confidence considerably lower than three weeks ago.

Coventry, their own tails up after climbing into the top six, were more than up to the task of exposing Wolves' nervousness and should not have lost, especially given the intensity of their push for an equaliser.

It's not the end of games that is haunting Wolves, though, it's the starts. For the third successive match, they trailed inside five minutes, Michael Mifsud highlighting his first start since August by slipping home left-footed after Michael Doyle and the former Molineux striker Freddy Eastwood had unhinged their defence.

Had it not been for the excellence of Carl Ikeme, the lead would have been two or even three inside half-hour.

The keeper is threatening to substantially extend Wayne Hennessey's resting and denied both Leon Best and Mifsud from one-on-one openings.

Besides a Richard Stearman header blocked on the line by Michael Doyle and Kightly's well-saved 20-yarder, Wolves threatened little until Kightly controlled Andy Keogh's astute pass away from Kieren Westwood to drive in on the turn.

Ebanks-Blake then got lucky for his perseverance just before the hour when he forced the ball in almost on the line after Westwood saved well from Kightly following the striker's own pull-back.

Ikeme's starring role was confirmed when he superbly thwarted Clint Morrison and Jay Tabb, and Coventry's manager Chris Coleman said: "I'm not disappointed we didn't take a point. I'm disappointed we haven't got all three."