Another game of two halves lands Wolves in more trouble

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 West Ham United 1

Phil Shaw
Sunday 23 October 2011 08:04

Molineux is where the crowd sing "Those Were the Days" and where demonstrating fans once chanted "Bring back the Fifties". For the Old Gold, the golden age was the era of "crack continentals" when Stan Cullis's side rivalled Real Madrid. Now, at last, Wolves are in the Champions League places – or at least they would be if half-time scorelines were results.

Mick McCarthy's team, who are actually third from bottom in the Premier League, did it again against West Ham, allowing the interval lead secured by Matt Jarvis's early volley to be negated by Mark Noble's penalty. They nearly succumbed to defeat when Frédéric Piquionne "scored" in the last seconds but were rescued when Mark Clattenburg spotted a debatable hand-ball.

With the next four fixtures pitting them against the division's leading quartet, Wolves needed more than a point against the only side below them. Jarvis, a contender for the England squad against France next month, was hard-pressed to explain their team-of-two-halves reputation. "I don't think it's a psychological thing. Concentration, maybe," the winger said. "But we've ended our run of four defeats. We actually played well in those games and were in front of some but lost. This time we've come out with a point, so that's progress."

While West Ham, who drew level from the spot after Clattenburg ruled Kevin Foley had fouled Victor Obinna, have gone 22 matches without a League away win, this was a fifth game without defeat. Their creativity, especially in midfield, shone through after the equaliser. Manager Avram Grant's priority in January must be to hold on to Scott Parker, another player who should be in Fabio Capello's thoughts.

Match facts

Possession Wolves 43% West Ham 57%. Shots on target Wolves 5 West Ham 7. RefereeMClattenburg (Tyne & Wear). Att 28,582. Man of the match Parker. Match rating 6/10.

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