Wolves 2 Crewe Alexandra 0

If football victories were Christmas presents, then the majority of 22,693 were treated to a pack of socks against Crewe Alexandra.

Wolves Crewe

It wasn’t particularly exciting or original, but securing a first win in four was a useful present that will definitely serve a purpose.

Having torn away the wrapping paper, this Boxing Day gift was pretty modest on the eye, with more questions being thrown up for manager Kenny Jackett to ponder.

In playing his favoured 4-4-1-1 – featuring Edwards behind Cassidy – Wolves looked functional enough, but not nearly threatening enough to trouble the league’s worst defence, which had conceded 43 goals until today.

Neither did we look resolute enough to banish all thoughts of the bottom side scoring, as seen in the dying seconds of normal time when a huge chance was spurned with the score at 1-0.

Thankfully for us they missed, we scored, and the three points that followed offered similar levels of comfort to a good old pair of Christmas socks.

The overriding question for Jackett now is how to make this team more plausible as an attacking force, without compromising the conservative approach he appears to crave.

Despite the spectacle being largely attritional, it still offered enough to suggest that an answer isn’t far away.

Jack Price was a personal man-of-the-match thanks to an industrious, selfless showing in midfield which gave McDonald licence to move forward, particularly in the second half. Surely this is the future for the big Scot, who flourished when he first signed in a similar role.

James Henry and Michael Jacobs were intelligent, intuitive outlets either side and when Leigh Griffiths eventually came on for the one-dimensional Edwards, we looked a proper team.

The sight of our cult hero lashing the ball home in front of an adoring South Bank in injury time was as uplifting as it was perplexing.

How can a constant goal threat with 13 strikes to his name be warming the bench while Jackett’s ridiculously inferior alternatives struggled in his place?

By bringing the top scorer on during the second half, Crewe were finally forced to turn around and defend, instead of serenely play around with the ball in front of their back four, much like MK Dons did.

With the defence taking care of itself – only to be strengthened whenever Doherty returns – this team isn’t too far away from being where Jackett would want it to be.

He deserves huge credit to have arrived at this point having picked the bones from a footballing bombsite only five months ago.

Hopefully, he is now holding out for the January sales where the acquisition of some raw pace up front would be infinitely more exciting than today’s Christmas gift.

Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    Good stuff as usual mate.

    The 90 minutes sandwiched between the two goals wasn’t pleasant viewing, but the result is a satisfactory one.

    Wasn’t impressed by KJ’s team selection, but if he’s resting Sako, Doyle and Griffiths for Leyton Orient, I can just about get on board. I’d always start the best players and then take them off when the job’s done.

    I also can’t believe Jackett’s post-match comments on Cassidy having a good game. Other than the smart ball to Golbourne in the build up to the early goal, I thought he was cack. Won little in the air, lost possession countless times and offered zero goal threat.

    Midfield was more functional than impressive. I think Jacobs and Henry are very similar. With both in the team, I think we’re a bit lightweight. I like both of them individually though so it’s a dilemma.

    Batth’s miss in the first half was criminal. I don’t quite know how he contorted his body to poke the ball against the post with the entire goal to aim at. Even the 5 year-old Crewe had in goal was rubbing his eyes in disbelief.

    Crewe threatened far more than they should have done. They missed three or four chances that a capable striker would have buried. Can’t help but feel our best team (i.e. with Sako, Griffths and Doyle starting) would have wiped the floor with them.

    Setup nicely for Orient now. Really looking forward to seeing them first hand. We haven’t beaten any of the teams currently inside the top 6 yet, so would be nice to score a significant victory.

       11 likes

    • 6 minutes for Cassidy ( Paul Featherstone) says:

      Yes I’m back. I’ve moved house in the last month and been without the titty net sorted now. I agree Cassidy didn’t have a great game but if you’ve been sitting on the bench for months only getting 2 minutes here and there, 2 minutes Jackett gave him against MK Dons brought him on in the 88th minute. He’s not match fit and I’ll stand by him and his record you seem to forget when he was a regular in the Tranmere team he was scoring for fun you don’t just lose that. He needs a run in the team and may be send him out on loan again look at the lad who went out on loan 9 times and now he’s looking at going to the world cup. Perhaps Cassidy not best at the way jackett sets up the team certainly he’s at his best when paired with another striker. I don’t think Jacketts knows his best two strikers to play together. I know one thing if Cassidy leaves Wolves where ever he goes he’ll score goals especially in this league mark my words. As for the game I agree crap but we won and that’s all that matters because we ended our losing run. And now for the big one, I believe I just write that the big one Leyto Orient, just another reminder how far we fallen when playing Orient is a big game. I only hope Jackett plays an attacking formation and doesn’t sit back and invite them on.

         5 likes

    • Incognito says:

      Did not go to the game but interested in the Cassidy selection above the other forwards and your take on his display. Martin Swain (I know objectivity has not been an attribute accorded to the E&S) said this of his performance: “The young striker, struggling to convince Molineux he can make the leap from promising academy graduate to first team performer, is still striving for the goal that is the ultimate currency of his profession. But in all other areas of the game he gave a much more encouraging glimpse of the qualities with which Jackett has been so taken, threading Wolves together with a combination of aerial power, control and some composed touches.”. I think I’ll go with your opinion though and agree that Griffiths has to start every game!

         0 likes

  2. FOREVER WOLVES says:

    Cheers, Happy Boxing day.
    He surely was saving Sako and Doyle for Sunday.
    Cassidy should be loaned out, I hope there is not some strange Welsh bias.

       3 likes

  3. John I says:

    Think we could see a lot of players out the door in January. Hennessey, Elokobi, Foley, Johnson, O’Hara, and Sigurdarson are all on the outside looking in. Then, likely making Henry and Jacobs move permanent and signing a striker could make Sako and Doyle potential players to leave too. I expect a busy January.

       4 likes

  4. Dave H says:

    Spot on Ben, couldn’t believe the team selection when we first arrived at the ground, we then scored early and that put me early fears to bed. However we then spent the next 85 minutes trying to finish a game off which should have been wrapped up by half time.

    Totally agree with the comments on Cassidy, hardly won anything in the air, did not give passing options for the midfield – I know he is short on confidence which is probably why KJ left him on so long, but couldn’t help thinking Doyle should have come on sooner.

    I have up to yet thought Price to be lightweight, he was in my opinion man of the match today, typical holding midfielders performance, if he replicates that performance against the sterner test of Orient, we eventually may be sorting our midfield problems out.
    Cant say the same for Mcdonald, we are not the same without him, but did not think today was one of his better games, same for Jacobs and Edwards.

    Thought Henry was our best player going forward especially in the first half and Goldbourne’s overlapping play was also threat.

    Looking forward to 25000 plus gate on Sunday, KJ putting our best eleven out and hopefully us bagging three points.

       2 likes

  5. Have to say i was not there but i too found the selection perplexing leaving out Griffiths and Sako again for Cassidy in as a lone striker…really !! Surely this fixture was an opportunity for our misfiring strikers to get back on track. Fortunately Griff obliged as Crewe threw everyone forward for a last gasp equaliser.

       1 likes

  6. Not many comments about i will have another dip. Interesting observation by Ben on us being a footballing bombsite when Kenny took over – to play devils advocate were some of those bombs dropped by the fans too easily disillusioned with the club and niave about how the premier league works. Anyhow now we are in the third division anything less than promotion will be failure for me.

       4 likes

  7. Danny Velinski says:

    KJ was clearly experimenting with the Spanish formation in which you keep your forwards on the bench and the midfield tippy tappy their way to goal and in the first three minutes it seemed an inspired plan. Unfortunately, rather like the meaning of life the meaning of Cassidy was mysterious. He seemed to be playing for a place on the bench with his fellow strikers. If like Huddlestone he decides not to cut his hair until he next scores then he could be appearing as Rapunzel in next year’s pantomime. Dave Edwards has the enthusiasm and energy of a teenage boy on his first date. He also has the first touch of a teenage boy on his first date. But we won and Price was industrious and effective, Landell deputised well for Golbourne. Jacobs Henry and MacDonald all showed their potential to create. And Griffiths showed he can score goals. Sunday will be a tougher test of KJ and his theory of evolution.

       10 likes

  8. wwwebs says:

    Can’t really fault that summary. I agree that Peter Daniels was MOTM. It was heartening to see that KevNil Doyle dropped but equally disheartening to see Edwards in his place. In a brief cameo, Griffiths showed how it is done. He needs a proper strike partner. It’s as plain as the nose on your face.

       1 likes

  9. Ade In China says:

    Great result, and 3 points is all that matters!
    I also raised an eyebrow when I saw the team sheet, but perhaps Kenny was trying to give some second stringers some minutes against a ‘sure thing?’

    Now we’ve rested the bigger names, I expect them to play against the O’s, and that’s really the litmus test of whether we’re really going to finish as champions.

    Nice to see a late goal for Griffiths, as we really needed him to get back to scoring ways.
    UTW!

       1 likes

  10. timberwolf says:

    Cassidy. As the lone striker. In a 4-5-1. At home. Against the leakiest defence in the 3rd division. This is what we’ve become?

    Unbelievable.

       5 likes

  11. robc306 says:

    Felt it was a strange team selection, but got to acknowledge it got the job done (which we failed to do in last 3 games). Think he was keeping some in reserve for Sundays bigger game.

    I’m sure KJ realised that we need reinforcements in Jan. Just hope M&M do and back him properly.

       1 likes

  12. birchy says:

    If we cant give a young stiker, who was top scorer in this division last season, a chance against one of the weaker teams of the division. Then when can we? The whole team seamed set up to get JC some game time. People should go into games without the expectation that we will win every game because we are Wolves! I just cant believe 6 months ago how many of us were calling for JC, BS or LM to be given a starting role…BS hasnt impressed unfortunately but lets give the young lads a chance. Without jumping up and down if they dont score.

    We only have to look at the players that have left us in the last few years who arent doing badly, like Vokes and Mendez-Liang.

       1 likes

  13. as the school reports say MUST do better

       0 likes

  14. Border Wolf says:

    Happy with the 3 points & a correct prediction for myself.

    Really would like to see us finishing off teams early on though as its much easier on the nerves! Would also like to see more goals going in from our strikers on a more regular basis.

    Like others are saying I think it could be a busy transfer window, as long as we bring in not just clear out & boost the bank balance!

    We need to start to put a decent gap between us & the chasing pack starting with a win on Sunday.

       0 likes

  15. El Plim says:

    First game for me this season, agree with your summaries guys that:
    1 – Price was MOTM, loved the way he demanded the ball from the centre backs and was willing to turn and keep the ball on the deck.
    2 – Cassidy did not have such a good game for me, he barely won a header in the first half and tried too many flicks and over complicated things at times. When we gave the ball back to McDonald could then thread balls thru.
    3 – Thought Ebank Landell had a great game when he came on, plus Ricketts looked far more comfortable at left back.
    4 – we looked weak at times, couldn’t understand why they tried to play pretty football from the back when we outnumbered them in midfield and they seemed to cause us trouble at every set piece or high ball.
    5 – i’d forgotten how miserable fans are at games! We strung a 20-pass move togetehr in 2nd half that almost produced a goal, then in the next move the fans are screaming for us to get it forward quickly again and shoot anywhere from 35 yards from goal!

    UTW

       1 likes

  16. Stourbridge Wolf says:

    Functional victory against a poor side – hope KJ rested a few in preparation for the tougher matches to follow.

    Have to say that if this is the strength of the extended squad we will need to invest heavily if we go up.

       0 likes

    • Morning Stourbridge Wolf. Where have you been you old rascal?! Hope you are well and had a good Christmas! Hope to see more comments on here too, like the halycon days (when we were a Premier League blog!!)

         1 likes

  17. I agree El Plim. I should have mentioned how impressive Ebanks Landell was when he came on. Very encouraging display I thought. Big, athletic and an imposing outlet down our right when he came on.
    You’re right about that passing move too. It was the Griffiths header against the bar wasn’t it? My memory might have failed me, but it was a lovely move and I was willing that ball in to quieten one or two down a bit!
    Finally, I didn’t even describe the opening goal in my blog. It really was a belter and possibly the best team goal we’ve seen at Molineux. A really incisive pass out wide from Edwards to Golbourne (again, my memory ain’t great!!) and a gorgeous cross to the onrushing Jacobs who headed home. It even hit the right part of the net if that makes sense. That was worth the admission fee.

       2 likes

  18. Wolfman Jack says:

    It seems KJ is a ‘horses for courses’ manager, hence when playing a club that plays a possession game (which Crewe have been doing for decades) you pack the midfield. But I wonder if Doyle wouldn’t be a better option in the Edwards role when playing this system.

       1 likes

  19. Twixfix says:

    Good post Ben .. as always. Like you I was a bit perplexed at the team selection but have put that down to rotation and resting the nuggets until Sunday (Thats if they’re picked!) I’m not sure I would give Price the MOTM award as I felt he was marking/chasing shadows during some of Crewe’s sorties.. didnt let anyone down tho. I just dont see Edwards in the behind the stiker role despite all of his energy. He and anyone else in that role highlights why Doyle doesn’t get on the score sheet enough.. just never quite up there from open play. I was impressed with Ebanks B.L who shows a good physical presence and athleticism. We definitely must start with the big guns on Sunday.
    SO .. Sunday is our cup final day .. lets hope Matchroom Barry goes home pissed off when the O’s get mullered. fowb

       0 likes

  20. theDOOGooder says:

    A bit of a pantomime at times yesterday.
    Cassidy hopping about like Cinderella after she lost her slipper.
    Edwards looking like one of the lost boys.
    Jack Price planting the seeds from which the promotion beanstalk might just flourish and lead us to the crock of gold.
    Ikeme flying around his goal like a firm buttocked Peter Pan.
    Batth providing the comic relief with his Wishy Washy miss.
    And Griffiths being the Genie who, when released from his bottle, eventually cast his magic spell and won the day.

    All watched over by Widow Twanky and Tinkerbell’s portly elder sister.

    However, I think we might need some help from the Fairy Godmother in January because, the chasing pack, to quote from the words of some of the great pantomime Dames……

    “Are behind you!”

       8 likes

  21. Bilstonian says:

    Adequate performance imo. You could really feel the atmosphere lift when Griffiths came on. He gives defenders much more of a headache than players like Cassidy, and if he had a strike partner with the same flair and appetite for goals, Wolves could be devastating. I hope he plays on Sunday, and doesn’t go anywhere in January.

    I feel the same about Sako, for all his inconsistencies.

    Plenty to be optimistic about with youngsters like Price and Ebanks-Landell. But I wish they wouldn’t let teams like Crewe have so much possession.

       0 likes

  22. GoWolves says:

    A win felt great, and also much needed, not only because It kept us on joint 1st just ahead of the pursuing Brentford, but also psycologically ahead of the big clash on Sunday; the players will need to go in that game feeling they’re on an equal footing. Job done and another 3 points towards the promotion campaign.

    Still can’t help but feel we’re making this all a lot harder than it has to be though, and like many of you above, the only way I can explain yesterday’s team selection is out of preparation for Sunday: keeping some of the best players fresh. In fact, other than that, I really do think KJ now has to stop dicking with the team selection and pick his best 4-4-2 each game and let them gel more and play better as a team. It’s the only way we will start rolling over some of the teams like Crewe.

    Striker-wise, I think we still need adjustment. Cassidy is not the guy, sorry. He’s had plenty of chances now and the guy’s just another Michael Branch or Andy Keogh. Can’t score. I like Doyle a lot and he should have been cruising it at this level by now, forming a deadly combo with Griffo, but his continuing lack of goals has to make even his biggest fans wonder whether the guy’s confidence has been damaged beyond repair. We need a Dean Sturridge like player to come in in the January window and score every game like Deano did. If we can find a player like him to partner Griffo, then I think the team we have will come good for promo by the end of the year.

    Fingers crossed for Sunday!

    Go Wolves!

       1 likes

  23. Steve L Biles says:

    Ok, so not the best footballing display, but 3 points will do me. And seeing as I got the score correct too I am quite happy

    UTW/FOWB

       0 likes

  24. 6 minutes for Cassidy ( Paul Featherstone) says:

    Can anyone tell me why we are playing 1 up front again at home people have been saying Cassidy had a bad game and I myself have said it wasn’t his best game but as I’ve also said he’s been on the bench for months with the odd start here and there and of course those vital 2 minutes against MK Dons. More worryingly for me is the formation and system Jacketts playing. Playing one up front is not going to help our goals for colum and why at home. If we play 1 up front against the mighty Orient we will lose with there attacking threat and there front 2 yes 2 strikers they play with 2 strikers up front how ingenious is that a. Saunders and McCarthy thought playing 1 up front would keep us in the championship and Premership and it didn’t that’s the reason why we are playing Orient this Sunday. If we sit back and allow them to come on to us we will get hammered.

       1 likes

  25. Steve showcase says:

    Terrible 88 minute performance against the bottom club.. they could of even grabbed a draw.!.

    However Orient will be an equivalent match standard that we all expect to see next season in the championship so let’s do it and show some class…

       2 likes

  26. Golden Wolfie says:

    Good win – I feel the performance very much reflected the game. There were spells where we were under pressure. I think though that that’s been the case in every fixture this season. But I think our quality or perhaps arguably the lack of on Crewe’s behalf. Must admit I was surprised that Sako, Doyle and Griffiths were all benched. Say what you like, this was a must win game. Next up is Orient at home. I think we can do it. The last two games have seen us regain our grittiness and get by the opposition. Orient is going to be a really difficult game, and they beat Gillingham 2-1 yesterday – a stoppage time header from Lasimant so they’ll be confident too. But I honestly feel we can do it. The two best teams so far in the league, and with the quality they have up front there will be goals. A lot of our goals are coming from defense and midfield surprisingly and hopefully Griffiths is now back. Their keeper Jones is out for 3 months, so hopefully their back-up is nothing special. I predict 3-2 Wolves. As for Crewe, I fear for them. Thin squad and poor form – we’ve been there! I still wish Steve Davis the best though. As a fellow Wolves fan, I hope to see him and also O’Driscoll back on their feet soon.

    Hope you Wolves fans had a great Christmas. Up the Wolves!

       1 likes

  27. I agree KJ has put a good team together, but the return of the team selection seen at Notts County was infuriating. Five in midfield and Cassidy alone up front against a team second bottom. I wonder why Griffiths is constantly omitted and I can only think that it’s Jackett showing him who’s boss. I’d argue KJ has as much chance of losing us promotion as gaining it.

       3 likes

  28. GeorgeyBoy says:

    Good review of the game, however think scoreline flattered Crewe a little. Yes we were a little unconvincing in between the two goals but I think we controlled the game with relative comfortability. Jackett clearly wanted to play a slightly weakened side in preparation for the Orient game and, with that in mind, I thought it wasn’t a massively unpromising game..improvements needed for promotion to be ‘inevitable’ though.

    That said, thought Jack Price was fantastic yesterday..really gets about the park and puts a shift in, really compliments the steady more level-headed McDonald. Really like Henry/Jacobs wing switching, thought when Henry was on the left he and Golbourne (who is really beginning to impress me more and more each game) linked up well.

    Shaky at times at the back but this is Wolves we’re talking about right? Depending if Price can manage another 90 minutes I’d maybe like to see him mcdonald behind Sako Jacobs Henry with Griffiths up front. Fascinated to see what KJ plumps for

    When all is said and done, I’m quietly confident for the Orient game. BRING IT ON. UTW

       0 likes

    • johnhpayne says:

      I agree Sako, Doyle, Griffiths, Jacobs and Henry should all start on Sunday, a proper 5 man attack – the best form of defence. Lets score some goals. With McDonald, Price, Golbourne, Ricketts Stearman and E-Landell (or Doherty if fit.). Blimey, ther’s no room for agoalie. Oh well, one of them has to be ‘on the bench’ aka 1st reserve.
      Thats a team to win the league for us.

         0 likes

  29. Good to read plaudits for Jack Price. From what i have seen i think he has got something. Midfield players are a bit marmite at the Molineux. I dont think there has been a widely popular one since Kenny Hibbit who scored a fair few goals.Now my visits are more limited one thing i dont miss is that groan from some fans when we pass the ball instead of just firing it aimlessly forward.

       0 likes

  30. Sleachy says:

    I tempered my disappointment at missing what would have been my second game of the season by taking solace in the fact that the first goal was after only 3 minutes, so i would probably have been finishing either my pint or a piss as the onion bag was rippling.

    Although the game sounded a little tedious, I still would have loved to have been there.

    Happy with the win, and it sounds like although we aren’t perfect we are also far from terrible, which makes a nice change from recent years. With our most likely match winners rested ahead of a big crowd at God’s Golden Acre on Sunday, I’m hopeful we will find the energy as both a team and a crowd to make a real statement of our intentions for the season.

    Just before I go, want to say a massive thank you to everyone who contributes to this site, Thomas and Ben do a fantastic job in keeping this going, and everyone who takes the time to add their 2 pence worth makes being an exiled Wolf a much easier task. Your opinions are much more valuable to me than the dross served up by the apparently professional hacks.

    I hope you all had a great Christmas, and are rewarded with a memorable and rousing victory on the weekend.

    UTW
    SOTA

       2 likes

  31. dorsetwolf says:

    Another improvement in the points department since the two zero returns,a nice steady build up for Sunday .

    COME ON YOU WOLVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

       0 likes

  32. johnok says:

    I was away for the crewe game,i was kept in touch via my son,who said even though we were only one up we looked comfortable and a bonus when Griffo came up trumps again.
    I’m all for playing our strongest and best side unless something needs to be changed,ie,injury or suspension.
    Looking forward to the Orient game on sunday when i’ll be back home,
    a win will take us back to the top,and perhaps we can stay there with a few additions if M&M gives KJ funds for us to make that final push out of this shite league.
    Big Pacey striker needed imo then we will win the league.UTW.

       0 likes

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