Trending now:   Arsenal  •  Liverpool  •  Manchester United  •  Chelsea  •  Barcelona  •  Manchester City  •  Real Madrid  •  Tottenham Hotspur  •  Inter Milan  •  VfL Wolfsburg

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Teams /  England  / Wolverhampton Wanderers 
Wolverhampton Wanderers have 271 fans
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake strikes late to give Wolves win over Sunderland
Russell Kempson at Molineux - 7 years ago

It is always difficult to tell what sort of mood Mick McCarthy is in, such is his all-year-round gruff manner, but the beleaguered Wolverhampton Wanderers manager at least wore the hint of smile – just – after his side had ended a run of four successive defeats.

McCarthy had had to endure a fraught week, with injuries continuing to ravage his squad and the "Numpties" – his words – again calling for his head on radio call-ins and internet forums. And at 2-1 down Wolves were heading for the bottom of the table. How the Numpties would have had a field day.

But Wolves turned up the heat in the refridgerator that was Molineux, exactly when it was needed, with late goals from Stephen Hunt, his first for the club, and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake securing only their third league win of the season. Hunt and Ebanks-Blake proved to be inspired substitutions.

"Great manager, eh?" McCarthy joked. "If the substitutions hadn't worked, I'd have been the Numpty. It was a real conflict of emotions, though. They were up and down like a fiddler's elbow. The fans here, those out there, not the Numpties, were absolutely brilliant for us. At 2-1 down, they could have had a right old go."

On the first-half evidence, Wolves were barely worth a win. But at least they avoided conceding a goal in the opening three minutes for a fourth consecutive match. They were thankful, too, when a fierce Kieran Richardson free-kick struck a post, and extremely grateful when Kevin Foley put them ahead after a Matt Jarvis shot had been parried by Craig Gordon.

At last, Sunderland awoke. "That kicked us into life," Steve Bruce, their manager, observed. Darren Bent rattled in his seventh league goal of the season and Danny Welbeck nodded in a Phil Bardsley cross. Their impressive unbeaten run, including the stunning 3-0 victory away to Chelsea, was about to be extended to five matches.

Not so. The Sunderland defence imploded, unable to cope without Michael Turner and Titus Bramble, their injured centre-backs. "If we defend like that, then it's going to be a tough winter for us again," Bruce said. "Individual mistakes cost us the game. We were nowhere near the standard we require."

Hunt scampered on in his own inimitable crabby style to tuck in the leveller from close range, after Gordon had parried George Elokobi's header, and then Ebanks-Blake applied the gloss finish to another swift Wolves counterattack.

McCarthy: grumpy waster or tactical genius? Perhaps the phone-in freaks and internet geeks will have been humbly eating their words last night.

THE FANS' PLAYER RATINGS AND VERDICT TIM SPIERS, Observer reader With 10 minutes to go we were staring at another defeat, but the character, team spirit and determination McCarthy has instilled into the team pulled us through. We've been playing well recently, but have been unlucky and I really hope this win will be the springboard to propel us up the league. Our next four games are all winnable, so it's essential that we replicate all the qualities that were shown in this game over the coming weeks. It was a fantastic finish from Ebanks-Blake, and a smart move to bring Hunt on from the bench. Mancienne played well acting as cover for Henry.

The fan's player ratings Hennessey 7; Zubar 9, Stearman 5, Elokobi 8, Ward 7; Mancienne 7 (Ebanks-Blake 80 7); Foley 7, Milijas 8, Jones 6 (Hunt 63 7), Jarvis 8; Doyle 7

PETE SIXSMITH, With 15 minutes to go we were 2-1 up and looked very comfortable. Two good goals from Bent and Wellbeck meant Wolves were all over the place, and I could only see us winning the game. But we went to sleep and gave them the space to score two late goals and take the points. The first half was dyer but it improved after the introduction of Gyan who gave us a lot more fizz up front, and once we scored it didn't look they were get themselves back in the game. However we imploded once Mensah had left the pitch We must play better than this to stay in the top eight.

The fan's player ratings Gordon 7; Onuoha 7, Mensah 7 (Elmohamady 82 n/a), Ferdinand 8, Bardsley 8; Zenden 6 (Gyan 56 6), Henderson 6 (Malbranque 56 6), Cattermole 7, Richardson 4; Bent 6, Welbeck 7

To take part in the Fans' Verdict, email

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

Share your thoughts
Sign in to comment

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

birminghammail - Home - 3 hours ago
Companies from across the region recognised in the annual list of business excellence
birminghammail - Home - 5 hours ago
The AVFC attacker has been linked with a move to Leicester City this past week
birminghammail - Home - 5 hours ago
Latest Liverpool news sees one Reds star a notable absentee from new home kit launch for 2018/19 season
birminghammail - Home - 7 hours ago
The Liverpool forward has been in scintillating form this season
birminghammail - Home - 8 hours ago
Latest Arsenal transfer news includes Wenger's take on Giroud's switch to Chelsea
birminghammail - Home - 8 hours ago
Brian Dick and Shane Ireland pick their preferred Birmingham City line ups and you can too
birminghammail - Home - 8 hours ago
The Swedish musician, real name Tim Bergling, died in Muscat, Oman on Friday 20 April
birminghammail - Home - 8 hours ago
Wolves transfer news includes comments from sporting director Kevin Thelwell on club's loan players
birminghammail - Home - 8 hours ago
Scott Carson, the Derby County goalkeeper, was targeted by a string of insults in a tirade that lasted for more than two minutes
birminghammail - Home - 8 hours ago
Ash End Farm has been open for more than 35 years, offering generations of families and schoolchildren a chance to learn about animals and farm life.
birminghammail - Home - 9 hours ago
The old TRW Automative site in Mere Green is on the market
birminghammail - Home - 9 hours ago
Happened between junctions three and four of the southbound section of the motorway
birminghammail - Home - 9 hours ago
Birmingham City take on Sheffield United at St Andrew's on Saturday
birminghammail - Home - 9 hours ago
Local hero Mike Hawes has been blitzing rubbish in Aldridge for more than a year
birminghammail - Home - 9 hours ago
The incident took place on Park Circus during rush hour
birminghammail - Home - 10 hours ago
LFC visit The Hawthorns on Saturday - and it's a game Albion need to win
birminghammail - Home - 10 hours ago
The former Arsenal pair both left the Emirates for pastures new - and have noticed something similar at their new clubs
birminghammail - Home - 10 hours ago
LFC visit The Hawthorns on Saurday - and they have a quartet of injuries
birminghammail - Home - 10 hours ago
Arsenal transfer news sees Giroud explain what Wenger said before striker's Chelsea move
birminghammail - Home - 10 hours ago
Drama after driver allegedly failed to stop for police in Cobham Road, Bordesley Green
Kick4Life - changing lives through football