Wolves 2 Newport 1

If you’re looking for a positive, look no further than Benik Afobe.

Afobe

Our number 10 exudes class in his every involvement. Whether he’s dropping deep to instigate the attack or darting in behind to win (and then score) the decisive penalty, he consistently looks like being the difference maker.

It’s not just his ability either, it’s the confidence and application he shows every time he steps out onto the pitch. If he stays fit, he’s going places regardless of whether Wolves tag along for the ride.

Hardly surprising that Kenny Jackett chose to wrap his star man (and skipper for the evening) in cotton wool for the last 25 minutes and give Adam Le Fondre his Molineux debut.

Unfortunately for the on loan Cardiff man, the game had descended into a scrappy end to end affair by that point meaning he had nothing more than long old hoofs down the line to feed off in a short cameo.

If most people were surprised Le Fondre didn’t start, every single one of the 10,000 spectators inside the ground were flabbergasted to see Matt Doherty deployed on the right wing. Suffice to say that little experiment didn’t really work out.

Down the opposite flank, Sheyi Ojo showed signs of promise with a few rapid bursts of acceleration and the odd nifty piece of skill. However, despite a smart cross for Dicko’s equaliser, his final ball too often looked questionable.

The same accusation could be leveled at Wolves as a whole, who flattered to deceive for much of the game with neat spells of possession too often failing to produce a meaningful attack.

But despite going behind to a sloppy opener, they did maintain a level of control to proceedings after Nouha Dicko smartly turned home Ojo’s cross to level the score.

It was only in the final knockings, where the game became stretched and both sides were guilty of ridiculous individual mistakes, where Newport threatened to take the tie into extra time.

A few smart saves from Emiliano Martinez kept them at bay and the on loan Arsenal keeper looked reliable throughout, save for a horribly misplaced pass that required urgent intervention from Jack Price to prevent Newport a clear run on goal. Hopefully that was a one off blip.

Did we really learn anything tonight?

Well, I now know conclusively that Matt Doherty isn’t the like-for-like Bakary Sako replacement we’ve all been craving.

I can also confirm we’re heavily reliant on Benik Afobe and that without Richard Stearman at the back, we lack leadership.

But we knew all that right?

And who cares anyway? We’re through and that’s all I’m really bothered about.

Bring on round two. Haven’t said that for a while.

The gaffer

Wolves Vs Newport Preview

My appetite for the cup competitions grows with every humiliating failure. I’m starving.

Terry-Butcher-008

When will it be our turn for a long, long, long overdue trip to Wembley?

Losses to Morecambe and Northampton in the last two seasons underline just how cack Wolves have been in the League Cup over the last decade (and more).

Sure, luck has played a part too. Whenever we’ve overcome the minnows early doors, we’ve invariably been paired with the likes of Chelsea or Man City soon after.

But these are all hard luck stories. It’s time to put the underdogs in their place and start causing a few upsets of our own when greater challenges present themselves.

Lets make it our year.

Newport

Newport_County_crestThe sum total of my Newport knowledge is that we signed Lee Evans from them, Terry Butcher is their manager and they’ve been knocking around in League Two for a couple of years.

They were tonked 3-0 by Cambridge in their league opener at the weekend and also picked up some injuries to key players.

A 9th place finish last season seems respectable though and you’d expect them to raise their game, much like Northampton did last year.

Digging around a rather stylish fan forum I spotted the following comment:

I don’t know if it’s been mentioned here before but as a reminder there is great history and relationship between the two clubs and this is an opportunity to see our team play against our brethren in a great and famous stadium.

Kind words indeed. Good luck to them after tonight.

Wolves

Kenny Jackett has already stated there won’t be wholesale changes tonight, which is music to my ears. We should still see a couple of Molineux debuts though:

Wolves team for Newport

Hard to predict who might be rested, but you’d expect Ojo and Le Fondre to start. I wonder whether van La Parra might be given a run out too with Dave Edwards spared? Ebanks Landell for Hause at the back could also be a goer.

Kenny talks in the below video about keeping a rhythm though so perhaps there won’t even be this many changes? What’s nice is that we can swap around three or four and the quality shouldn’t (theoretically) suffer.

The gaffer

Predictions

No PL points up for grabs in the cup competitions so it’s all just for fun tonight.

Surely playing (what seems like) a weakened League Two side at home must give us a good chance of progressing? This would probably be a bigger upset than Northampton.

I think we’ll avoid it with a degree of comfort, even though I say that every year and get proven wrong.

3-0

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