Mick McCarthy may have watched his side record three points but the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager is trying his best to stifle a smile. The team edged their way past a gritty Luton Town side here yesterday, courtesy of a goal from the striker Jemal Johnson, his second winning effort in as many League games. His manager, however, says that given that the season is five games old, it will be some time before he risks sharing any expression of joy.
"I have just been taken to task about not smiling and that is because I don't walk around as if I have a coat-hanger in my face," said McCarthy. "I cannot say that we have been great.
"The game really has a knack of knocking it out of you. So I am pleased, but my feet are firmly planted." Fans could take little pleasure in Wolves displays thus far. After Wolves' Carling Cup exit at Chesterfield in midweek supporters must surely have been bracing themselves for uncomfortable viewing.
The first half was a drab affair with little in the way entertainment. Despite a confident start to the game from the hosts, murmurs of dissatisfaction were clearly evident from the crowd. Wolves ended the malaise with two goalscoring opportunities near the end of the first half. Carl Cort came close with a header on 38 minutes, with Seyi Olofinjana being denied by Marlon Beresford soon after.
The home side took the lead at the start of the second half. Jemal Johnson ran on to a header from Cort before he unleashed a fine, left-footed shot low into the goal past the outstretched arm of Beresford.
Luton's efforts after the goal seemed hurried. Wolves' assured passing game frustrated the visitors, who in turn resorted to even more desperate long balls into their strikers, Warren Feeney and Rowan Vine. Luton manager Mike Newell brought on new signing Sam Parkin, but Wolves fended off the late charges to claim the win.