For all the occasional variety provided in midfield by the emaciated ball-artist, Gordon Cowans, and the all-round gifts of Neil Emblen, Wolves are a hit-it-and-hope operation. Taylor remains a groom still waiting at the altar, managing teams that challenge for titles, but who finish second.
Judging by this interesting but goalless contest against their promotion rivals, Barnsley, Taylor will have to rely on the play-offs. If anything, Barnsley should have won. A penalty awarded against them in the final, explosive moments was cruel.
A 90th-minute aimless cross was allegedly handled by a Barnsley defender in a ruck of players, and David Kelly, Ireland's latest hero, stepped up for the kick. Kelly, who had fetched and carried selflessly without ever looking like scoring, shot against the knees of the falling David Watson. Immediately prior to this drama, the Barnsley player-manager, Danny Wilson, was sent off for protesting too vehemently.
The neutrals' relief at Kelly's miss almost turned to elation as the Barnsley midfielder, Martin Bullock, mounted a final assault on the Wolves' central defence. In the last of a series of spectacular dribbles, Bullock tore past lunging feet and found himself clear, but his firm shot was pushed away by Mike Stowell.
Barnsley like to play their way to goal, and have a clever front two in Andy Liddell and Andy Payton. Bullock came close twice before his injury- time heroism, and his pass to Brendan O'Connell deserved more than the dithering finish it received.
Kelly and Steve Bull had struggled to convert Wolves' early midfield control into chances. A surging run and shot from Emblen, later injured, was their best chance before Kelly's spot-kick gaffe. When Barnsley raised the tempo, Taylor's side lost the initiative. The grandeur of the new Molineux has not yet quite found a team to match.Reuse content