Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Bristol City 1 match report: Wolves bite back after first-half horror show



Whether, as their manager Dean Saunders suggested afterwards, this match proves to be a turning point in Wolves' season remains to be seen. They are, after all, still in the relegation zone with just eight games remaining.

They will however take huge heart from the manner in which they turned around a game in which for over an hour pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Having conceded a truly ridiculous own goal and lost two players to injury it would have been easy for heads to drop, but Wolves kept working, and strikes of high quality from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Kevin Doyle secured a first home win since December.

"Everything was going wrong, we looked lacking in confidence, we weren't sharp and we conceded a calamity goal, the sort you can't believe has happened," said Saunders.

"When we went in at half-time I had a go at everyone. But I've been in this situation as a player and a manager, and you have to keep your belief. You have to have the strength of character to show for the ball, go in for another chance when you've missed three, take the full-back on, and in the second half my players showed that strength of character."

The first half was a horror show for Wolves. Looking both nervous and disjointed from the start, they had created nothing of note when they went behind in extraordinary circumstances.

Carl Ikeme played a goal-kick short towards David Davis, but the under-hit pass left the young midfielder with no alternative other than to return the ball to his goalkeeper. Ikeme, unable to pick the ball up, allowed it to trickle under his foot and into the goal.

The ground was still in shock when first Bakary Sako and then Dave Edwards limped off, and Saunders' decision to replace Ikeme with Dorus De Vries at half-time meant he had used all three substitutes with 45 minutes left to play.

"It wasn't an easy ball for Carl to deal with but he has to get something behind it. He had also hurt his hand on the field, and that made my mind up [to replace him]," said Saunders.

Initially there was no obvious improvement in the second half, and the crowd began to voice their disaffection, most obviously with chants aimed at club owner Steve Morgan, but the Wolves players kept working and in Stephen Hunt, who came on for Sako, they found the catalyst they needed.

It was his cross which enabled Ebanks-Blake to control, turn and volley powerfully past City goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Two minutes later, it was another Hunt cross which saw Doyle time his jump perfectly to beat Heaton with a header.

City manager Sean O'Driscoll was philosophical. "I was pleased with the performance but disappointed with the result," he said.

"We said at half-time they were just going to throw balls into the box, which is what they did, and we kept trying to do the right thing. We looked like a team that knew what we were doing."

What they lacked, however, was the touch of quality which players like Hunt and Doyle, with their considerable Premier League experience, gave Wolves.

It did not escape Saunders' attention that the crowd had been on Hunt's back from the moment he came on. "I thought Hunt did everything well," he said. "He gave us energy and spark, and I'll have to find out why the fans were having a go because normally they like players like that.

"We have the belief that we can score, no matter what the circumstances. They were great finishes from Ebanks-Blake and Doyle. You can't play for a big club unless you can play in adversity, because most of the time that is the case. That's why you get big wages."

Wolves (4-4-2): Ikeme (De Vries, h-t); Doherty, Johnson, Gorkss, Robinson; Edwards (Sigurdarson, 38), Davis O'Hara, Sako (Hunt, 32); Doyle, Ebanks-Blake.

Bristol City (4-5-1): Heaton; Moloney, Fontaine, Nyatanga, Cunningham; Anderson (Adamoah, 15), Skuse, Kelly (Kilkenny, 85), Elliott, Pearson (Baldock, 81); Davies.

Referee Geoff Eltringham.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power