Henry challenge fuels criticism of Wolves

Wigan Athletic 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Football

Kevin Doyle fears that Wolverhampton Wanderers' growing reputation as an ill-disciplined team could influence referees in future games.

Karl Henry's reckless challenge on Wigan's Spanish midfielder Jordi Gomez not only added to Mick McCarthy's growing headache, but provided further ammunition to those who have labelled Wolves one of the dirtiest sides in the Premier League. The Black Country club have had two players sent off in their last four league games while McCarthy's team are on course to rattle up 100-plus cautions this season after averaging three yellow cards for each league game so far.

Henry accused Arsenal's players of "going down like a sack of spuds" after he was sent off at the Emirates in April, yet he can have no excuses for his second dismissal in 10 league appearances. Even Doyle could not find the words to defend his captain and is concerned about how the team might be perceived in the future.

"Karl has apologised to us," Doyle said. "The only thing I hope it doesn't do is influence referees in situations where they think Wolves put in a few dirty tackles. Over the course of the season we will show that we are not [a dirty side]. If you look at it last year, we were one of the fairest sides in the league and I'm sure we will be again this season."

The problems are mounting for McCarthy. Wolves have lost their last four league games and have not kept a clean sheet in 10 league attempts.

You had to feel sorry for Roberto Martinez. The Wigan manager had waited almost six months for a home win yet Henry's actions overshadowed a thoroughly deserved victory, Hugo Rodallega sealing victory after Gomez had broken the deadlock with a sublime free-kick. Those two goals doubled Wigan's goal tally for the season.

"The lack of goals doesn't bother me because the players are starting to know each other and play for each other," Martinez said.

Match facts

Wigan Athletic 4-4-2: Al Habsi; Boyce, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa (Stam, 59); McCarthy, Thomas (Diame, 73), Gomez, N'Zogbia; Rodallega, Di Santo (Watson, 84). Substitutes not used Kirkland (gk), Boselli, Moses, Caldwell. Booked Thomas.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-4-2: Hahnemann; Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward (Ebanks-Blake, 81); Edwards (Bent, 81), Henry, Mancienne, Jarvis; Fletcher (Elokobi, 51), Doyle. Substitutes not used Hennessey (gk), Van Damme, Stearman, Jones. Booked Berra, Fletcher. Sent off Henry (11).

Man of the match N'Zogbia.

Possession Wigan 59% Wolves 41%

Shots on target Wigan 16 Wolves 0.

Referee L Mason (Lancashire).

Attendance 14,042. Match rating 5/10.