If there is such a thing as ‘Second Season Syndrome’ Wolves are so far showing no signs of contracting the condition.
In fact, on the evidence of yesterday’s stirring second-half fightback, it seems entirely plausible that Mick McCarthy’s young side could very easily eclipse the achievements of last year.
To an outsider, yesterday’s scrappy one-all at Goodison Park will inevitably be attributed to an under-par Everton performance and consigned to the scrapheap of immediately forgettable Premier League stalemates.
Fortunately though, we’re not ‘outsiders’ and we didn’t just watch the ten seconds of footage crow-barred onto the end of Match of the Day, followed by Hansen and Lawrenson talking about the important issue of ‘Arteta for England’. Thanks for that, glad I stayed up til midnight.
No, this wasn’t just a score draw to tick off the coupon. Not to us. It was yet another clear example of just how good this Wolves side actually is.
We were battered in the first half. Everton enjoyed almost complete dominance of the football and spent the lion share of the 45 minutes camped out on the edge of our box. But the fact they only had one slightly controversial goal to show for their authority outlined the determination and character we have in abundance. Whenever danger loomed, there was always the boot of Berra, the head of Craddock or the hand of Hahnemann to rescue the situation.
But a goal down, Wolves needed more than defensive guile to leave Merseyside with anything other than a respectable defeat and having failed to string more than two passes together in the first hour of this contest, things looked decidedly grim on that front.
Enter Adlene Guedioura.
The tenacious Algerian changed the game, not just because of his individual contribution, but because his arrival signaled an important change in shape. Elokobi lumbered off, Ward slotted in at left-back and Matt Jarvis began prowling down his favoured left flank.
Suddenly we looked a threat and it wasn’t long before Guedioura mowed down two blue shirts, shifted the ball out to Doyle and made a lovely run into the box that freed a grateful SEB to fire home a deserved equaliser.
And just how pleasing was it to see our number 9 in there, exactly where we needed him, to gobble up the scraps and complete the comeback? OK, it was a tap-in, but everyone has to start somewhere and if this is the beginning of a long-overdue resurgence, I think we’ll all be delighted for the formerly prolific hitman.
A mention too for Kevin Doyle, for a lovely ball across the face of the penalty area which allowed his strike-partner to cash-in. It wasn’t his best game in a Wolves shirt, but nevertheless it was great to see him back out there.
It seems likely that Steven Fletcher will be fit and ready for the visit of Newcastle next week, so Mick better get his thinking cap on quick-smart and come up with a plan to make the most of his joint record signings and a forward who might just be getting into his Premiership stride.
Other conundrums lie ahead too. Think about the side we put out yesterday, how well they played and then consider the fact that £20 million worth of summer signings didn’t figure, as well as a clutch of other talents who could certainly aid our cause. No Fletcher, no van Damme, Mouyokolo, Hunt, Kightly, Edwards.
Two good results prove nothing of course, but don’t pretend you haven’t enjoyed a cheeky wry smile and an extra skip in your step at how things are shaping up at Molineux.
You can’t fool me.
* Just another shameless plug for my mate’s site as he’s promoting Birthday gifts for her on his excellent gift shop.