If E.T. asked me to explain to him the experience of being a Wolves fan, I’d show him the highlights of this Christmas cracker.
The stuff of neutral’s dreams and an exhausting experience for those on the terraces, so determined were the efforts of both teams to throw the three points away.
It was Wolves who first conceded their lead, with Stefan Johansen given ample space to lash into the top corner of debutant Harry Burgoyne’s goal.
That strike cancelled out Kortney Hauses’ scruffy opener and was arguably against the run of play as Wolves had up until that point set the tempo of the fixture, with Helder Costa and the improving Ivan Cavaleiro once again serving as the focal point of our attacks.
What ensued between the time of that equaliser and the half time whistle was symptomatic of the majority of our performances this season. The defence wiltered at the first sight of sustained pressure, our midfield trio went missing and, before you know it, Fulham are 3-1 up and seemingly cruising to a routine victory.
Burgoyne, who to me recalled memories of a young Wayne Hennessey, must be ruing his luck as his performance did not warrant the concession of four goals.
The youngster would have been forgiven for thinking that the gods were conspiring against him when Tom Cairney lashed Fulham’s third into the goal, it being the sort of strike that he’ll probably try to score a dozen more times this season without reward.
Those who have been watching Wolves over the last two seasons will know that our teenage goalkeeper was always on a hiding to nothing with our current quadrant of defenders playing in front of him.
It was another bad day at the office for all involved, regardless of the fact that Hause and Matt Doherty both bagged themselves a goal.
January’s transfer window cannot come soon enough for Paul Lambert, so desperate is the need for him to add experience to our defensive ranks. It’s a shame that injury has deprived us of the services of Mike Williamson, who would have surely curtailed some of the more basic errors we’ve been making, but we simply cannot afford to wait for the former Newcastle man to regain fitness.
Kevin Thelwell and our new head coach must deliver a commanding centre back in his mould if we’re to start seriously climbing the table and there is an argument also to be had about the need for at least one new full back, given Dominic Iorfa’s frightening regression as of late.
Thankfully, the noise coming out of the club indicates that Lambert will at least be co-leading our mid-season recruitment drive and he’s already spoken of a desire to cut the wheat from the chaff and add some division standard players to our ranks.
Given the state of affairs at halftime, we should take comfort from the spirit shown by the players when clawing their way back into the game. Enthusiasm waned very quickly under Walter Zenga’s stewardship and was never present during Rob Edwards’ brief stint at the helm but the first team once again seem to be playing for their manager, though the visiting side were most generous in their defending for large periods of the second half.
Doherty was given the freedom of Molineux when tapping in Nouha Dicko’s nod on and Cavaleiro had acres in which to sprint before scoring our third, though the fashion in which he did was worthy of praise.
When Dave Edwards buried our fourth it seemed as if we’d completed the most unlikely of comebacks but in true Wolves fashion room was left for a final twist in the tale, that being a second goal for Floyd Ayitè and another equaliser for the Cottagers.
Of all the goals conceded, it was the fourth that was the cause of the most porous defending. You can’t excuse leaving the front and back post exposed at any level of professional football, let alone the division below the top flight.
It was a frustrating end to an otherwise encouraging performance and it’s fair to say that nobody associated with the club has any doubts about the size of the job Lambert has on his hands.
Fosun will need to deliver players of a far superior standing to the likes of Gladon, Oniangue and Silvio if they’re to realise their oft stated Premier League dream.