Ironic that ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless was blaring on the PA system moments before the teams took to the field, when most of us haven’t had a wink of shut-eye since Saturday night.
In a performance that restored the faith and a 10-point gap to third, Wolves put on another midweek masterclass to suggest that if there is a wobble at the summit, then it’s not as debilitating as some might think – including me.
Being billed as our first genuine ‘six-pointer’ of the season on Radio WM, the pundits couldn’t have imagined quite how prophetic their words were, with Aston Villa losing the three we all thought they’d plunder against QPR, as we chalked up three more to put us in the exact same position we were at 5.30pm in Birmingham the other night.
After five minutes, the game assumed an glorified attack v defence drill with Reading sitting deep, shuffling banks of players left and right in a collective effort to frustrate. After 10 minutes, their keeper was actually wasting time. After 40 minutes, the game was over.
Matt Doherty’s bonce released the pressure valve around Molineux, which might just have become audible had the score remained at 0-0 for much longer.
As it was, this was the most processional victory since…Reading last season come to think of it, with John Ruddy never tested and the back three rarely occupied. On the rare occasions they were, Ryan Bennett looked particularly easy on the eye and slotted back in like he’d never been away. Any fears of Jon Dadi notching his first ever goal at Molineux were allayed, or Dave Edwards scuffing one in as Reading showed absolutely no intent to attack for the entire 90mins. Both were impotent and barely noticeable.
If there was one criticism to be levelled at Wolves (and it would be a tad harsh to do so), then the levels of urgency and purpose could have been higher for a fair chunk of the first half and it was noticeable how the momentum was seized in the second period, with Costa definitely looking to be more assertive on the ball. It was he who set-up Afobe brilliantly for the second, the striker surely feeling good about life and looking more like his old self. And Cavaleiro occupied the types of positions that even the most defensive minded of sides struggle to cover.
A blot on the evening was the loss of Jota, who looked in agony when going down under a seemingly innocuous challenge in the first half. We can only hope it is not a serious one, but the blow might just be offset with a return to form of Costa, who did form part of a menacing front line with Afobe and Cav. Surely all three have plenty of miles in the tank, too.
As it was, the evening was rounded off by a splendid Doherty strike to seal the points – and the best night’s sleep we’ve all had in ages.