Blackburn 1 Wolves 2

1 down, 37 to go.

For the second season on the spin, Wolves begin with a morale-boosting 2-1 victory and plenty of positives aside.

One such positive was the competitive debut of Roger Johnson, who looked composed, assured and in control throughout.

Ward was the hero

Yes, the build up to Blackburn’s opener was an all too familiar tale of woe, as Roberts buffeted our two centre backs to create the opening, but aside from that blip, both Johnson and Berra coped admirably with the physical threat.

The new skipper brings a calmness to the centre of defence that’s been lacking in recent years and even on this early evidence, he seems like an astute addition.

Another plus was seeing Steven Fletcher picking up where he left off last season, heading in a well worked equaliser to ensure we went in level at half time.

Both he and Doyle caused plenty of problems for a make-shift Rovers defence, proving they can play together in a successful Wolves team.

Sadly for Doyle, he wasn’t able to add his name to the scoresheet, seeing his meek penalty palmed away by Paul Robinson after Matt Jarvis was hauled down by Salgado.

Fortunately for the striker though, his blushes were spared by his fellow countryman Stephen Ward who bulleted home the sweetest of volleys from the resulting melee to give Wolves the lead.

It was a sumptuous strike and perfectly placed too finding the one spot in the goal where his effort wouldn’t have been blocked or saved.

He deserved the glory for a typically committed performance, shackling the pace and trickery of Hoillett effectively and getting forward to good effect in the second half.

Another player who really impressed me was Stephen Hunt. As always his work rate and tenacity were second to none, but some of his close control and interplay had the hallmarks of a seasoned Premier League performer.

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View from the away end

Indeed, Wolves as a team looked a top flight outfit once they’d got themselves ahead, moving the ball around smartly and seeing the game out with the minimum of fuss.

During the second half we saw some lovely football played between midfield and attack, opening up spaces that we could really have made a lot more of.

Blackburn lacked invention, aside from the typically all-action David Dunn, but they got plenty of balls into the box as they searched for an equaliser.

We perhaps rode our luck at times with last-ditch blocks and miss-cued shots, but satisfyingly we didn’t look like gifting them a way back.

And that is an important evolution.

It might only be one game and it might only be three points but the manner of this victory, particularly the second half domination, suggested that there’s plenty more to come from this Wolves side.

I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Comments

  1. Kwolf says:

    Clive?……….Clive?……..Are you there mate?

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    • Keithcolcol says:

      ha ha…….what do you say to that? (lets be honest, we all know what Clive is going to say to that don’t we?)

      Excellent start for the boys and nice to see the Hoff getting a cheeky for minutes under his belt !

      Did Stearman go off due to injury or tatics?

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  2. Louie says:

    One swallow makes a summer, it doesn’t mean anything, Ward is shit..

    Great team performance, we looked like a Premier League side and defensively looked good for msot of the game.

    Going forward, we looked more considered and it was pleasing on the eye.

    There is certainly more to come

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    • Ward is a professional who has got to the highest level in his sector and despite that peoplle who can’t type the word ‘most’ will be critical. I am at a loss to understand this. Prior to such comments shouldn’t the poster say how he has climbed the creasy pole in his sector and explain how he became an expert on prof football.

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      • Louie says:

        Ian, if you look back through the history of this blog you will see that my comment was a joke..

        Sorry about the typo, will try not to let it happen agian (see what I did there?)

        Maybe next time you criticise someone for their typing skills you should try to spell ‘people’ correctly ;)

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        • Bob China says:

          nothing like an overconfident pedant eh? do the creases in ‘the creasy pole’ make it easier to climb?

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          • Louie says:

            I don’t know what is funnier, someone having a go at me for spelling ‘most’ wrong or someone having a go at me for not praising Wardy

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  3. Morph says:

    Fantastic to start on a win.

    Just hope we can whip out a similar performance for us at molineux next week

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  4. kingbull says:

    excellent – although i remain a tad concerned about our left back position as much as i love george even his cameo role left me rather nervous.
    Despite all that a excellent start to build on and some good play was a joy to watch

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  5. Hamlet says:

    Great win here! We’ve gotten rid of that Blackburn losing streak!

    Hopefully, we’ve also gotten rid of that last-minute conceding of goals as well…

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  6. Clive From Houston says:

    Any one can mis hit a shot and turn it into a perfect volley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Fair play to Ward, it was a great shot, deservedly got us the 3 points, and yes, I’ll admit, he had a good game.
    Still wholly unconvinced with Berra, who still looks as though he is at a last gasp every time he goes into a tackle.
    Henry is just not good enough, Elokobi gives me the willies every time he touches the ball, and Stearman was indecisive.
    Hunt, Johnson, Fletcher and OHara were magnificent, Jarvis was good, as was Doyle.
    But, does anyone agree with me that Hennessey leaves a lot to be desired, just not commanding enuff in the box.
    Yes, a fabulous result, but once again, as against the shit last season, a very nervous last 20 minutes.
    I will take 2 – 1 every game, and like wot I said in a previous blog, Ward was a certainty to start, let’s hope he is an improvement….well, bless his little shamrocks, he was!!
    Look at the table, how long can we stay in second place………before we go top????
    Wonderful day, lets hope there’s many more.
    FOWB

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    • Craig D says:

      Agree, Hennessey not commanding enough on crosses/ corners into the box.

      Great finish from both Fletcher and Ward for the goals, but still far from convinced that the answer to our LB problems will be found by persevering with Ward or Big George regardless of how much premiership experience they accrue or how many times they put a shift in..

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    • Louie says:

      Hennessey made a couple of good saves, could have done better for their goal and yes, was a bit dodgy on crosses. It’s something that he has definitely improved on over the last year though.

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      • I thought Henry did a good job of the dirty work, covering for the fullbacks when they bombed on, giving O’Hara space and freedom to do the things Henry can’t.

        I think Wayne will be unhappy with his performance, seemed to freak out a bit at big bodies in his 6 yard area.

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  7. Harry T says:

    Following from America is a little tough but it sure reads as a good win with great teamwork. It sounds like Hunt did an excellent job and O’Hare also. Having 2 forwards seems to give us more targets and definately gave the defense more trouble. 1down,37 to go!

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  8. Ade In China says:

    What a result!
    Of course it’s too soon to get carried away, but I’d like to think that we can see some improvement in the squad already.
    I don’t think it’s easy to win ANY away matches, and even though BB are not the greatest team these days it’s still hard to go up there and get the 3 points.
    I would take Ward over Elokobi any day, so roll on the starts for him!
    Well done the lads!

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  9. Nick Dalton says:

    I heart Stephen Ward

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  10. These are the days.... says:

    Johnsons surging run…. Sprays the ball out left….. Continues his run and nearly scores…

    Can’t remember the last time any of our centre halfs had the skill and balls to do that. Great to see and a great result.

    Nice to see Robbie Keane score in a Ward mask. I knew we’d resign him.

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  11. mick the wolf says:

    At last found somewhere sensible after the end of 606.
    went to blackburn yesterday and thought you could see we are progressing as a prem team. loved how we did’nt panic at the end and just closed the game out, it cost us big time last year. Johnson looked the part though i still think ch and lb are needed. That said I was so happy for wardy you can’t say he does’nt give it all for us.
    A fit fletcher and Hunt is a big plus roll on next sunday when the steve bull becomes the north bank

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    • Thomas says:

      Welcome!

      Fully agree about the assured way we saw out the game. Reminded me of Vlla away last season where we looked like a proper Premier League side.

      I think the only player we’ll see arrive will be a midfielder now. Mick will stick with the centre backs and left backs he has.

      We needed another forward but the hoff seems to be back in favour now, so I expect him to make the 25.

      That to my mind only leaves one space.

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  12. Didn’t get to see this match sadly, but I thought Doyle’s penalty was rather weak. I know we all heart Doyle, but eventually i think he’s gonna have to prove himself as a goalscorer and not just an annoyance.

    Fletcher looked sharp though, well done on the header, and Ward making that last goal is great even though that probably means he’ll get more playtime. I still fancy SEB over Ward…

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  13. martin says:

    Great start and well done lads. I think if you were a Blackburn supporter though, you would be saying they had 3 of their first choice back 4 out and we took advantage of it.
    Congratulations to Ward on an exceptionaly good goal and 3 points earned. There is no way he is a left back though and it’s not his fault he is asked to play there. Big G isn’t the answer either and it remains a weakness. I reckon Foley would be more solid even on the wrong flank. It aint gonna happen though.
    Johnson’s a big plus so looks like we’ll do better this year if he strays fit. Lots of pluses and 3 more points next week i reckon.

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  14. Rob in Dubai says:

    Great result against our bogey team in recent years and we thoroughly deserved the three points. Like other posters on this blog, I’m still concerned about the left-back position and couldn’t help but hold my breath every time Elokobi touched the ball when he made an appearance.

    In an ideal world, we’d have a new full-back, centre-back and midfielder before the transfer window slams shut later this month. Hopefully, Mick and the board are doing everything to bring at least one new face into the club.

       0 likes

    • Ade In China says:

      I agree Rob – I’d be happy with even one new face and/or a loan signing because I think our lack of depth in the squad cost us last season when we had so many injuries and I’m still a little concerned we’re a bit light in numbers of ‘good’ bench players (Jones’ departure hasn’t helped this I’m sure).

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      • andrewwfc says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see no more arrivals this summer. A fit again (sic) Kightly is effectively a new signing, and based on David Davis pre-season, I think he’ll play a role as well this year. This provides cover for Jones and Guediora, who seems to be worryingly injury-prone.

        We’ve got 4 or 5 (if you count Ward) forwards and cover for every position at the back (whether the quality is there is another issue).

        Call it opening season optimism, but I see this as the strongest Wolves squad we’ve ever had whilst I’ve been a supporter and am excited to see what we can achieve this year.

           0 likes

  15. Clive From Houston says:

    Good to see we are all being realistic, and not getting carried away by a win against a poor Blackburn side.
    Is it me or has Ward bulked up a bit?
    He seems to be able to put himself about a bit more, which will help him, but make him slower as a full back!
    I watched the goals several times, Fletcher did brill to get his header in, and Ward’s shot was for me an early contender for goal of the month.
    I’m left footed and I did’nt score many that were better than that when I was a pup!!
    FOWB

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  16. robin says:

    Have to say that Fletcher’s goal though less spectacular than’s Ward’s was far more skilful and precise. It had to be from the position he was in. I’m not detracting from Ward’s effort, just feel there was an element of ‘deserved’ luck in it. Not so sure about Doyle, could he going to “Wenger-land”? – In a swap for Clichy? Elokobi and Ward are nerve jangling left backs.

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  17. Mark G Davies says:

    The result was fully deserved, but the performance was outstanding. At last MM seems to have got his tactics spot on, with Henry working in front of the back four and o`Hara, hunt and jarvis roaming in support of our two excellent front men. Blackurn had no answer to our pace and movement going forward.
    I hate to say it but Ward`s goal was a great strike, he couldn`t have hit it any better.
    i`m not getting carried away though because defensive problems remain particularly, the left side of our defence has no pace, and we just about got away with it at times when they attatcked down our right hand side. In two weeks n`zogbia and/or Albrighton will be playing right wing for the villa, and unless Ward has gained a couple of yards in pace, and there was no evidence of that at the weekend, there will be far more difficult times for him ahead i`m afraid.

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  18. danny velinski says:

    Last season we won only 3 away games and we only scored 16 goals. Against Blackburn we played 442 with two recognised strikers. We came back from 1 nil down. Hennessy made a magnificent save early on. There was passing and movement from back to front. The Blackburn goal did not come from a move on Wolves’ left. The build up and finish of the first goal was class. And the winning goal proof that a player’s performance is independent of all the bollocks written about him.

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  19. Just back from my jollies. What a great start! Can’t wait for motd 2 to check out the goals.

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  20. Clive From Houston says:

    Just got the result from the sandwell crem.
    Come on you baggshits!!!
    Ha Ha Ha
    Perfect end to the weekend’s footie!
    Can we declare now, so we’ll be in The Champions League????
    FOWB

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  21. The Wanderer says:

    Fantastic start.

    Good team selection from Mick, with the only exception being Stearman (who should not be playing at right back, especially when Foley is fit).

    Ward is definitely our best option at left back. Big George looked error prone, when he came on and can’t offer what Ward offers going forward (with the exception of the threat George poses on corners).

    Fantastic finish (by Mr. Ward).

       0 likes

    • Agree. Baffled to see Stearman ahead of Foley. Not sure what’s happened there and doesn’t fill me with confidence.

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  22. martin says:

    According to the sky sports table , Manchester Utd winning 2-1 means we’ve dropped fron 2nd to 3rd position. Identical points, identical score but theirs is worth more than ours. Typical.

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    • These are the days.... says:

      If we’re one place behind them at the end of the season on the same basis I’d be happy.

         0 likes

      • Hamlet says:

        Excellently put there, TATD! :)

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        • Clive From Houston says:

          Talked to my Dad today, his comment was” only 37 more needed now”
          He was refering to points.
          I said “bollocks, we only need another 37 wins this season”
          Can;t see the sense meself in looking for points as opposed to winning every week.
          Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?
          FOWB

             0 likes

          • It’s alphabetical. Part of the original global conspiracy against Wolves of putting W behind M (both in footballing formation and the creation of the alphabet). Disgraceful I think.

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    • Harry T says:

      Alphabetical order probably has more to do with it then a slight against the Wolves. With only 3 teams with victories it looks to be an extremely tight league again. It is nice to see us as one of the teams with 3 points!

         0 likes

      • martin says:

        All very magnaminous of you lot i must say, i still think we’re 2= and the next one 4, as in golf say.
        I know it’s hypothetical but it does raise an interesting point. What happens at the end of the season with two teams who have the same points, same wins, same goals for and against and the same head to head, say one win each. Is the league then decided on alphabetical order?Starting with the first letter and then the next if necessary. W-E, W-0, sorry Wolves you’re relegated, well done West Bromwich good alphabetical performance.

           0 likes

        • Hamlet says:

          It’s highly unlikely that that would happen, but I guess the only fair thing to do would be to have a decider match between the equal teams and whoever wins that gets to be higher than the other…

             0 likes

          • Kowloon Wolf says:

            That’s right, Hamlet. From the official rulebook of the PL:

            “31. If at the end of the Season either the League Champions or the Clubs to be relegated or the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because 2 or more Clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the Clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding League Matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the Board.”

            Link:
            http://www.premierleague.com/staticFiles/db/52/0,,12306~152283,00.pdf

               0 likes

            • So comments about it being alphabetical are correct for the moment, thus rendering pedants like me correct for the moment.

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  23. I see Fletcher made BBC Team of the week – as a midfielder !!!

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  24. Stourbridge Wolf says:

    Does the Fletcher goal also put to bed this ridiculous notion that Jarvis can not cross the ball?

       0 likes

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