Swindon Town 1 Wolves 4

And Wolves make history…

Wolves at Swindon

Ok, so it might not be an ‘It’s Ours’ headline or a ‘Richards has done it’ Wembley commentary, but when Radio WM’s Mike Taylor uttered those words at The County Ground, it still felt hugely significant.

Our ninth consecutive win for the first time will be a barely noteworthy deal to anyone outside Molineux, who have no idea how utterly toxic our club had become.

For all Wolves fans who saw lifelong bridges burned to a crisp at Brighton last May, the rebuilding job Kenny Jackett has quietly undertaken is up there with any honour in the North Bank museum.

Nine months after walking through the doors to resuscitate a comatose club with the quiet efficiency of a New Cross clinician, Kenny Jackett can reflect on nine successive wins.

Winning 4-1 at Swindon Town is a red letter result in any season and despite a football fraternity all believing it to be part of the script for moneybags Wolves, we all know better.

Replacing idiocy with intelligence takes some doing when it’s ingrained to our recent ‘DNA’.

Doing it so quickly, while replacing huge earners Doyle, Ward, Henry, Johnson and O’Hara for these unsung heroes – on a fraction of their wages – is equally noteworthy.

As for those history makers who few of us had heard of before they came, the goals arrived thus:

0-1 (nine mins): Henry with signature cross-shot to Sako, who nodded in on the line

0-2 (19 mins) Sako beautully weighted pass to Dicko, who beat defender to drill home

0-3 (34 mins) Jacobs to Sako to go one-on-one, who dispatched unerringly

1-4 (90mins) Sub Leon Clarke raced through, finishing superbly from tight angle

Swindon Wolves

Aside from Leyton Orient and Brentford’s continued form of their own, this was another near-perfect day for our unchanged side.

They’ll now be told to keep their heads down, as we hold ours high for the first time in years.

Being able to call them history makers as a result is definitely a big deal, make no mistake.

Swindon Town Vs Wolves Preview

So impressed was I with Swindon Town at Molineux that I enquired about them getting promoted automatically with a bookmaker, after one of the most virtuous and glorious defeats I can remember witnessing.

Swindon Wolves

Not only did they pepper us with 23 shots – nine on target – in a performance that should have earned them a hatful of goals, but they rewrote many of our perceptions about League One football, which isn’t half as agricultural as we all thought.

Ever since donning Dick Turpin masks to somehow win 3-2 on September 14, I’ve kept my eye out for the return fixture as a barometer to measure our progression, not to mention a bloody difficult game of football.

Since then, I’m glad I didn’t stick that bet on the Robins as they’ve laboured somewhat to eighth position, winning just twice in their last 10 games.

And since then, Kenny Jackett has supplemented his squad admirably to consign those scrappy early season experiences to the dustbin, whilst maintaining the results.

Back then, Carl Ikeme was invariably saving our bacon with a string of fine saves per game unlike today, where our high tempo, possession football takes precedence, bearing a striking resemblance to…

…well…Swindon Town on a September afternoon!

Swindon logoSwindon Town

While games can’t be judged on paper, a look at the two teams provides clues in how the fortunes of both sides have changed since our late-summer encounter.

Tellingly, on-loan Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason is out with an ankle injury, which is great news for all Wolves fans (in the most respectful sense possible), being as he was quite brilliant at Molineux.

Mason, along with keeper Foderingham, Hall, McEviley, Ajose and Ranger, were all missing from Swindon’s weekend defeat to MK Dons, but played in our 3-2 win.

Wolves

As we can all gleefully testify, our team has changed a fair bit too, with Doherty, Davis, Evans, Griffiths and Doyle making way for Stearman, Price, Henry, Jacobs and Dicko.

Wolves team for Swindon

It is a team that quite literally picks itself and if it does succumb at the County Ground, then it won’t be for a performance like the one we put in against the same opponents last year.

The gaffer

The odds

Wolves come in as favourites for the win at 10/11, with Swindon available at a more favourable 7/2. The draw is 13/5.

If you’d taken Thomas’ tip of another 3-0 on Saturday, you’d have had an even happier Saturday than most. A fourth consecutive 3-0 is available at 14/1.

All odds here.

Predictions

The Prediction League points are being totted up, but with games coming thick and fast in March, midweek updates aren’t always possible.

But rest assured, it’s not been forgotten about!

Like our first impressions of Walsall, a role reversal would now be expected against Mark Cooper’s side as we search for a club record nine consecutive wins.

From my vantage point at Walsall, I just have a hunch that this one might yet be our toughest test yet, stupid as it sounds.

Call me a pessimist after such startling form, but I sensed understandable nerves against the Saddlers for the opening half an hour, along with some jitters at the end of the game when preserving our clean sheet streak – most of it self-inflicted.

With a huge club record at stake, I fear we’ll be battling ourselves as much as the opposition, who will still pose a threat from their other midfield operators Luongo and Pritchard, who also dazzled in the Molineux sunshine.

I’ll take a point and I’ll also take the same team as usual, which surely won’t be changed for this game, irrespective of potential tired limbs in the camp (particularly Sako who was also on international duty this time last week).

Come on you Wolves!

Wolves 3 Swindon Town 2

Sat in the family enclosure amongst like-minded fathers and sons was a lovely new experience for a nomadic Molineux frequenter.

Wolves Swindon

Packed with innocent, virtuous youngsters who unconditionally love the Beautiful Game was a sight that will live long in the memory.

A quite magnificent performance from Swindon Town.

When the children all around me weren’t stumbling over my trailing jaw, they were asking their parents how in God’s name we were winning.

It was as if their waves of attacks were mirroring the impossible amount of times I had to stand and give way for one little boy’s toilet breaks.

He must have had 15 in the space of the second half as I stood, sat, stood and sat as he scuttled past to empty his bladder.

About the same amount of times that our goal was peppered, which may well account for such chronic incontinence in one so young and tender.

Spurs loanees Luongo and Mason were almost literally untouchable in the middle of the park, as the former ran into open space like Jack Wilshere, while the latter just glistened.

Had Mason brought his shooting boots, which were only in evident in his scorching late netbuster, he could have scored four and Swindon six. I’m not joking.

So good were they that they made Crawley Town’s recent supremacy appear marginal, which made the three points all the sweeter.

Amid such assured company, Lee Evans and David Davis – in particular – struggled and we were simply incapable of keeping the ball.

Thankfully for us, our old boy Darren Ward was as leaden footed as ever for the away team and their defence looked shaky as a result.

That we scored three goals in such a one sided game tells its own story.

In another huge boost for Kenny Jackett, it is becoming abundantly clear that Carl Ikeme is the best goalkeeper in the league. He must have stunk of leather, such was the amount of times the gold and black Mitre kept thudding into his body.

Captain Ricketts made a worldly block from Nile Ranger to also keep the Robins at bay in the first half, while Danny Batth did likewise to deny that man Mason in the second.

And one final boost is the strength of our squad, with Siggy and Foley combining for the all important third.

As firepower goes, we do possess our fair share too, with an off colour Griffiths surely bagging a couple on any other given day.

Had the game finished 7-4 to Swindon, few inside Molineux could complain…

…A scoreline that most 6 year-old boys and their fathers in the family enclosure could doubtless relate to.

Wolves Vs Swindon Town Preview

Who else remembers a belting match between these two sides from the late 90s?

Nile Ranger Swindon

Dougie Freedman scored a snorter on his debut to put Wolves a goal up. Both teams were then reduced to 10 men, Swindon for a horror challenge and Wolves for Bully’s reaction. Swindon then equalised from a penalty before being reduced to 9 men for a foul on Robbie Keane. Keith Curle restored the lead before Paul Simpson put the icing on the cake with a spectacular lob from 40 yards out.

What a game.

They’ve only got it on YouTube too. Here it is:

Swindon

Considering the financial turmoil they’ve been in, Mark Cooper’s team are performing well, on and off the pitch.

Nile Ranger was their high profile summer signing, not least because he’s currently under investigation for rape. But the former Newcastle striker will bring quality and goals at this level, so he’s one to watch.

They’ve also added former Millwall striker Dany N’Guessan to their ranks as well as Tottenham midfielder Massimo Luongo.

The Robins results have been mixed thus far, meaning they arrive at Molineux in 10th place, but just two points outside the play-offs.

They’ve lost twice and drawn once in their three away games to date, but a recent 5-0 thumping of Crewe and a League Cup win against QPR at Loftus Road will give them belief.

Wolves

Depending on the injury to Sam Ricketts, it looks as if Wolves will have a full squad to choose from for this match. That gives Kenny Jackett a few selection dilemmas to. Assuming everyone is fit, I would imagine the team will be:

Wolves team for Swindon

Despite Sako’s antics prior to the win at Port Vale, I think he should be immediately restored to the starting eleven. We need the attacking outlet he provides, particularly at home.

It’s nice to feel comfortable with that team and still have players like Golbourne, Evans and Sigurdarson waiting in the wings. I wouldn’t be disappointed to see any of them start.

We’ve got a nice blend of youth and experience in the squad and no shortage of talent for League One. Injuries will no doubt challenge our progress at times, but I’m highly optimistic about our immediate prospects.

The odds

Wolves are big favourites to win this one at 4/5. Swindon are 10/3 and the draw is 13/5.

If you think Bakary Sako will signal his commitment to the cause with the opening goal, you can get 8/1.

The aforementioned Nile Ranger is also very good value at 9/1 if you think Swindon might grab a lead.

See here for up to date betting offers.

Predictions

78 people added to their tallies by predicting the win at Port Vale. Of those, 14 also got the 3-1 scoreline spot on to double up. Well done to one and all.

I think this is going to be a real test for Wolves.

We’re notoriously slow after international breaks and Swindon have discovered some form.

But I still think we should have too much for them at home and I’ve been one of the few people not to predict wins of late. So I’ll go for a narrow 2-1 home victory.

Up The Wolves.