Wolves' rebuilding work on and off pitch beginning to bear fruit

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Fulham 0

The rebuilding of the stand named after Wolverhampton Wanderers' greatest manager is proof that this is a ground as well as a club that is in transition. Stan Cullis would have recognised the league table that on the final whistle showed Wolves, however briefly, top.

Mick McCarthy may never cast Cullis's kind of shadow over Molineux but the fact that for the third successive season his team walked out to"Fanfare for the Common Man" asmembers of the Premier League is its own achievement. The fact thatthey have six points from two matches suggests that this season, unlike the last, may not go down to the final afternoon.

You are not so sure about Fulham. Since their chairman, Mohamed al Fayed, was busy dropping into the BigBrother house this weekend, he may have missed the result – which might be just as well for his manager, Martin Jol.

The last time Wolves were top of the top flight was in 1973 in a season in which they lost their next five matches before overcoming Manchester City in the League Cup final.

It was a season in which Frank Munro, their Scottish centre-back who died this week, played a central role. They applauded Wolves' past before kick-off and they applauded the present at the final whistle.

McCarthy, naturally, was dismissive of it all, pointing out that Wolves start each season bottom on alphabetical order.

There was some lingering anger about this fixture that last season saw Bobby Zamora's leg broken after a tackle from Karl Henry that gave Wolves a reputation for pitbull football.

"That incident did us a real disservice, so it gave me great pleasure to watch my team beating them the right way," said McCarthy.

"But I think Fulham were at a disadvantage by playing on the Thursday night. It will be a long time before I'll want to play in the Europa League and if there was ever a chance of us getting in via the Fair Play League, I'd go straight on the field and tackle someone."

From the long-distance drives from Jamie O'Hara to Stephen Ward's last-ditch tackle as the goal gaped in front of Moussa Dembele, this was a complete performance from Wolves.

Cullis would have recognised the play as well as the table as Wolves funnelled the ball towards their two high-quality wingers, Stephen Hunt and Matt Jarvis, who stretched Fulham to and past the limit.

Jol agreed, though, that the game was lost before the interval.

It began with a long ball thatKevin Doyle and Brede Hangeland raced for down the Fulham right. The Norwegian allowed himself to be brushed aside in front of his own supporters. Doyle rounded Mark Schwarzer but the angle was tight and the Irishman was off balance, although he had more time than he knew. McCarthy's expression as he shot over was proof of that.

It was followed by another expletive from the Yorkshireman's throat but this time in admiration rather than frustration as Schwarzer tipped O'Hara's shot past the post.

Then came the fatal three minutes. A short corner was played back in and Doyle seized the ball from between Pajtim Kasami and John Arne Riise, held them off, swivelled and shot into the roof of the net.

Three minutes later came another of those crosses from Hunt that sooner or later were bound to tell. Roger Johnson's head met it before Schwarzer's glove; the ball struck the foot of the post and what had started with one winger ended with the other as the ball fell at Jarvis's feet.

Substitutes:

Wolves Foley (Hunt, 84), Kightly (Jarvis, 90), Elokobi (Fletcher, 90).

Fulham Dembele 5 (Kasami, 45), Sidwell 5 (Etuhu, 45).

Booked: Wolves Hunt, Doyle. Fulham J A Riise, Dembele.

Man of the match Hunt.

Referee M Dean (Wirral).

Attendance 22,657.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine