Stearman special scant reward for Wolves work
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Hull City 1
Sunday 30 August 2009
Time will tell whether Wolverhampton Wanderers can play much better than this in the company they now keep. What can probably be said is that they will not dominate a game more.
Trailing to an early Geovanni header, they so outplayed Hull City as to make both clubs' first draw of the season seem unfair. They created and missed several chances, most glaringly when Sam Vokes headed wide from Matt Jarvis's stoppage-time cross.
That Mick McCarthy still has not overseen a Premier League home victory, after 21 attempts with Sunderland and Wolves, was due in no small part to Michael Turner, the Hull captain, whose wave to the visitors' fans at full-time could be construed as a fond farewell. The defender is strongly linked with a £10m move to Sunderland and his manager, Phil Brown, said: "When people talk silly money, sometimes you have to listen and the world has gone crazy.
"The battle to hold on to him will be ever-increasing over the next 48 hours but we have turned down bids in the last six weeks and he had an outstanding game. He has been tested and has stood up to it."
Brown, however, was angry with the "inexcusable" defending that contributed to Wolves' 46th-minute equaliser. It came from an accomplished finish, with the outside of the right boot, by the defender Richard Stearman.
Hull were caught cold by Jody Craddock's flick on from Michael Mancienne's free-kick from halfway. They lived dangerously from then on, although Stearman was less measured when dragging a half-chance wide from 20 yards. Andy Keogh then dragged a one-on-one opportunity off target from an angle following George Elokobi's chipped pass and Turner did brilliantly to block a close-range shot by Kevin Doyle on the line as Nenad Milijas's free-kick bounced menacingly.
Doyle made an impressive full League debut as Wolves' costliest ever signing and the Irishman looks like becoming the carrier of many of his club's hopes once he is fully fit.
The Wolves faithful needed patience after their confidence was rocked inside three minutes. Stephen Hunt skipped round Greg Halford on the left and dinked an exquisite cross from the byline, beyond Wayne Hennessey's reach for the perfectly placed Geovanni to finish off almost on the line.
Wolves' defending was questionable, with Elokobi and Jarvis in close proximity to the 5ft 8in scorer, but the intensity of their response was admirable. Boaz Myhill clutched efforts from Keogh and Jarvis and saw Keogh glance a header well wide.
"We reacted well and in the second half we were terrific," McCarthy said. "To come from behind and play as well as we have done is a good sign. We should have killed the game off. We've had the chances and I can't remember any near misses round our goal."
Four points from four games is a start that both clubs will view as being somewhere between slow and satisfactory, but the plaudits were not confined to the players on view after a game that was pleasingly competitive, if not of the highest quality.
Stuart Attwell, the young referee who has found himself under the spotlight after being involved in controversies of last season, had a fine afternoon in front of Mike Riley, the new chief of referees.
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Man of the match: Turner
Match rating: 6/10
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