Well, that was horrid.
On another sub-zero weekend, on the decaying Molineux pitch, Stoke came out on top with their trademark brand of agricultural non-football.
20 smackers well spent? Probably not.
Wolves for their part were easier on the eye, but only a little, attempting to pass the ball throughout on the uneven surface but rarely penetrating the typically well-organised opposition.
Mick deployed a strong side, resisting the urge to field the fringe and keeping faith with 9 of the players that started against Liverpool. And in many ways, the performance was very similar to last Saturday’s.
Once again, for all the huff and puff, nobody in a gold shirt seemed capable of sticking in the knife.
The only difference being that the strikers can’t blame the service this time.
Ward sent over a delicious ball just prior to the interval that Fletcher could only head against the post.
Sam Vokes was also profligate, guiding a superb inswinging cross from Jarvis straight at Thomas Sorensen, when a bulging net seemed inevitable.
Then finally, in the dying seconds, Milijas wasted the greatest opportunity of all, sending a meek spot-kick towards goal that the Stoke keeper once again repelled with ease.
That would have secured Wolves a deserved replay, but instead the FA Cup journey is over for another season.
Still, we can have few complaints about losing after Robert Huth was inexplicably left all alone in the six-yard box to power home the only goal of the game. It was a moment of slackness in an otherwise solid defensive outing, but again, it’s costly.
It was a dull game truth be told, that only really sprung to life in the final 15 minutes, but it demonstrated the crucial difference between two sides. Stoke, for all their shortcomings, kept things tight and made us pay for a moment of slackness. Wolves switched off at a crucial moment, then failed to capitalise when handed a reprieve.
Frustration was the overriding feeling, summed up perfectly by Mick McCarthy’s touchline rage following the Milijas penalty failure.
It’s quickly onto Bolton now, where we can’t afford wasted chances and hard-luck stories, particularly with a Man United/Arsenal double-header to follow.
We need points. Not excuses.
Wolves complete O’Hara signing
One piece of good news today is the loan signing of Jamie O’Hara from Spurs. Read the full story on the club site here:
He’s unquestionably an excellent addition to the squad, but hasn’t played a competetive game all season following a back injury. Fingers crossed he can hit the ground running because he’s definitely got the ability.
With the transfer window only open for another 24 hours, is there still time for any further additions? We’ve used up our last loan on O’Hara, so any additional business will have to be permanent.