“I’ve never been to Ireland love, how do you fancy a couple of days in Dublin?”
Devious maybe, but effective. And sure enough on Wednesday evening the 46a from O’Connell Street transported me to Dalymount Park, home of the Bohs, Bohemians F.C.
The ground was largely deserted when I arrived, with the Wolves flags behind the goal almost outnumbering the spectators. No worries though, they were all in the bar!
Kenny decided not to risk Ikeme on the hard pitch and young Jonathan Flatt started behind our first choice back four, save for Doherty coming in for Ricketts at right back.
Flatt had very little to do as Golbourne, Batth and Stearman in particular all excelled. But the young keeper looked confident and assertive. I can see him pushing McCarey hard this year.
It was nice to see Doherty back and he did OK but I’d say he’s some way from forcing his way back into the starting lineup.
Wolves dominated play with good possession football, playing out from defence through to attack. MacDonald cruised alongside a surprisingly average Price while Sako looked keen and threatening on the left.
Seeing van La Parra for the first time was interesting. Sticking almost exclusively wide to the right touchline, he received far less ball than Sako. When he did he showed excellent pace, good control and a suggestion of real threat.
To me he looked like a guy who hadn’t really settled yet. I wanted him to demand the ball more. Hopefully he will gain confidence as he settles in because there’s a real talent there.
Jacobs started and played well in what is probably his best position, just behind the striker.
Clarke also took his opportunity to shine, dispatching two of his chances and only being denied a hat-trick by an excellent finger tip save. You could tell the fans are desperate for him to succeed so maybe this was just the start he needs. For me though, it’s Dicko until we need a plan B.
Kenny spent most of half time sitting between Sako and van La Parra offering what looked like words of encouragement and finishing with some warm pats on the back. More excellent man-management from the King.
A whole new team in the second half saw Ricketts effortlessly controlling the back alongside a very impressive Ethan Ebanks-Landell. For me he offers much more extra aerial strength and power than Stearman and has plenty of football in him. If he gets a chance, I can see him keeping the shirt.
Somewhat surprisingly for the huge, physical presence he is, Kortney Hause played at left back and I thought made a pretty good fist of it as well.
Henry played wide right and McAlinden made a game attempt at playing wide left, something he would not normally be asked to do.
With so much rejigging, it was little surprise the team’s control over the game was missing second half. There was much more long, direct football which eventually deteriorated into long and aimless. Dicko made a goal out of nothing emphasising the threat he possesses.
Wolves eventually paid the price for some sloppy play when an underhit pass from Edwards resulted in a well taken goal for Bohs and some merited reward for a decent performance.
In central midfield it was a case of little and large as Evans partnered the young Declan Weeks who I was seeing for the first time. He’s small alright but quite strong looking. He’s a lovely little fotballer with a wonderful a awareness and covers the ground with an athletic mobility. He didn’t look out of place at all and can only improve with experience.
So all in all, another satisfactory work out. The Bohs were friendly hosts and the loyal Wolves fans showed once again there are none better.
And the dear wife? Well she stayed in and watched Corrie. But she loved Dublin as much as me.
Try it out sometime. With or without the Wanderers.