Wolves 2 Hull City 2

One schoolboy receiving a raucous ovation for stealing the ball from a Hull City coach in the dying embers, and what looked like another stealing the headlines with an unlikely equaliser when the game looked lost.

It really was one of those evenings, where our dwindling energy reserves matched the levels of common sense around Molineux.

When 1-0 up, Helder Costa’s suicidal pass was followed by a similarly braindead foul by the recalled Miranda and a needless penalty resulted in the twitchiest of evenings. In truth, we looked absolutely shattered before Meyler had levelled from the spot and when Wendy and Wolfie looked the spriteliest in gold shirts all evening – beating a Cadbury’s cream egg in a mascot race – you knew this was a weird old night.

Tired bodies definitely gave way to tired minds, which made the impromptu actions of our ball-boy all the more impressive, as we all craved such quick thinking by the players way earlier in the evening. Suffice to say he was turfed out the ground.

This was a game we were supposed to walk against a toothless Tigers side, who looked so insipid against Villa a few days before. But in truth, they were as good a team as we have seen at Molineux for a long time, keeping the ball for what felt like an eternity during spells of the first half and creating the better chances in the second. Had we have lost this, we could have had few complaints, with Ruddy making a fine reflex save from close range and a Hull player heading wide from a free kick when everyone expected the net to ripple.

And while it is difficult to quantify such a claim, it did feel like every break, every panicked clearance from a corner or sliced hook from a free kick, landed on the lap of a gleeful player in white, with the referee exacerbating matters by seemingly giving the lions share of the decisions to the Tigers, once Adkins had berated the official continually once we were given our own penalty. In other words, it was one of those games.

Thankfully, after an unfortunate own goal by Bennett, the net did ripple at the other end when Oskar Buur Rasmussen stooped to score via the inside of the post. It was an equaliser few could have predicted we’d score in the context of the game, from the head of a player even fewer had heard of!

A late rally then ensued, with Gibbs-White looking lively off the bench, even if he was disposed too easily for the Tigers’ second goal, and Cavaleiro a bigger threat in his rightful position, rather than right-wing back in Doherty’s absence. It all got a bit crazy, as typified by the ball-boy incident when by rights, the sharper away side should have been pushing for a winner themselves in this ‘free hit fixture’, rather than killing the clock.

Having slept on it, this was most definitely a point gained, with commendable levels of determination ensuring that our useful unbeaten run remains intact ahead of our mammoth Cardiff clash in two days’ time. The worry is that Fulham look thoroughly unbeatable too, who look increasingly likely to win every single remaining game they participate in.

This is Wolves we are talking about, remember. Even if we are managing our own destiny way better than previous years, we still have the highest points haul never to make the Championship play-offs, and the highest tally to get relegated from the Championship (if memory serves). The nagging fear is that an all-time record total will be recorded to miss out, with something special brewing along the Kings Road.

But no matter, we go again on Friday night, when our tired limbs will be thrust into the breach once more, just seven days after they were laid flat out on the Riverside pitch.

But if the same levels of attitude and application are applied once more – as typified by the Buur and the ball-boy – then you sense we’ll be ok.

Wolves Vs Hull City Preview

Although they’re three wins away from mathematical certainty I think Wolves are already close to meeting the top two requirement.

Many believe Fulham will win all of their remaining fixtures, but I fancy them to slip up once or twice.

Either way, with victory over Middlesbrough and a favourable run-in after Friday’s showdown at Cardiff, the target should be 100 points.

The battle of Boro will have taken it’s toll, so this one may not be the formality the league table suggests.

Hull

The Tigers further derailed Aston Villa’s promotion hopes on Saturday in a tedious stalemate at the KCOM Stadium.

But it was a useful point for Nigel Adkins’ side to put them on 40, 6 above the relegation zone after others at the bottom also collected positive results.

Their away form is wretched with 11 defeats from their 19 games and just 3 wins. They may need to improve their average return in April to avoid the drop.

Abel Hernandez is back after a long spell out with an injury he picked up in the reverse fixture back in August. They’ll be looking to him to fire them to safety.

Jarrod Bowen has made a few headlines too this season and he’s definitely another to watch. At the back, they’re still leaning on the experience of Michael Dawson.

Wolves

You could argue that Matt Doherty’s suspension is more of a blow than Ruben Neves’, given that we don’t have a like-for-like replacement.

Nuno could bring in Vinagre down the right or play him left side and switch Douglas over. Or he could move Bennett out to wing-back and bring in Batth, Miranda or Hause. He put Gibbs-White there for the final minutes against Boro so that could be another solution.

Although we’ll miss Neves I was happy enough with Saiss and N’Diaye against Leeds in a game Wolves totally dominated. There’s no reason they can’t do it again.

Helder Costa has discovered a bit of end product lately so hopefully he, along with Benik and Cav can overwhelm a porous Hull defence.

Predictions

Even with their exertions at the Riverside on Friday and the players missing through suspension, Wolves should have too much for Hull.

They played their game a day later too, which is to our advantage. I doubt we’ll have it as easy as the last two home wins, but I expect victory.

2-0.

Up The Wolves!

Hull City 2 Wolves 3

Just a few weeks ago you’d be forgiven for earmarking this fixture as a battle between two of the division’s unknown quantities.

Embed from Getty Images

And though four points from a possible nine would suggest that moniker still applies to Leonid Slutsky’s team, our own is beginning to look a serious prospect.

Granted, Nuno’s side avoided plenty of scares in a second half dominated by the home side but few would bemoan a dip in standards after the two stellar league performances that preceded this fixture. Aside from Nuno himself, whose press conferences continue to give the impression he is quite the taskmaster.

Certainly, his methods have looked that of a genius in these opening weeks. Wolves are producing football that millennials such as myself have never had the pleasure of associating with old gold and black, and long may it continue.

Whilst the influence of our new Head Coach and his team cannot be underestimated, its important to acknowledge the work done by his paymasters who, let it not be forgotten, had become figures of derision in the eyes of many after a turbulent first season in English football.

Jeff Shi and Fosun have learnt from their mistakes and created an environment in which quality is favoured over quantity, recognising that the blood and thunder brand of football their first two managerial recruits favoured is unlikely to cut the mustard in an increasingly difficult division.

Much has been made by the national media of the way they have gone about doing this but the team already seems to have found a way of harbouring the animosity offered by opposition supporters into a winning incentive. I guess that’s not so difficult to do when you have players of Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota’s ilk to call upon.

Both were on the score sheet tonight, with the former likely to win much of the plaudits for the sheer audacity of his 30 yard screamer. Football purists may, however, give greater credence to our second goal which was the result of some sumptuous build-up play that was once again centred by the prodigious and increasingly effective Bright Enobakahre. Either way, it’s nice to have the dilemma of picking a favourite winning goal given that they have been in such scant supply over the last two seasons.

Equally as important as our attacking play is the new defensive resolve that has been instilled within the team, which saw them withstand plenty of pressure in the second period. John Ruddy and Willy Boly were the names doing the rounds on social media come full time but all of our new look back five are doing their bit at present, as are the midfield duo of Neves and a rejuvenated Roman Saiss.

History will tell you that a water tight defence and clinical attack – terms which have been used to describe us in these opening round of fixtures – is a recipe for success in the Championship so its hard to temper this feverish early season enthusiasm with memories of previous false dawns, despite logic suggesting this as the best course of action.

Another win on Saturday against a Cardiff City team also riding the crest of a wave would surely see logic put on the back burner for the foreseeable, which would be a most welcome state of affairs for Wolves fan to find ourselves in after the mundanity of seasons gone by.