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Six Moments that Defined our Season

By Tom Bason
May 29 2012

Yes, ok, the last season was a disaster, winning just 18 points from our last 35 games – a frankly pathetic total. Yet, we were not mathematically relegated until defeat to the eventual champions, Manchester City, with three games to go. In theory at least, we were competitive for 35 matches. So which were the most important moments in these matches, eventually leading to our relegation?

Saturday 24th September, Liverpool Away
As one of only two pre-season signings, much was expected of newly appointed captain Roger Johnson, and the season started well enough for him (even if I did mention my worry at his ability to form a lasting partnership during his debut match) with two clean sheets and an assist in the first three games. Admittedly, we then conceded five in the next two home games, but we went to Anfield unbeaten away from home, and a real chance of getting something. The deciding moment in this match came after 11 minutes, as Andy Carroll pushed Johnson in the area. While Johnson got back up, he was out of position, and promptly deflected Charlie Adam’s wild effort past Wayne Hennessey. After just 11 minutes, it was already game over, and while we fought back in the second half, it was too little too late.

Saturday 1st October, Newcastle United at Home
Just a week after the match at Anfield, Wolves had the chance to bounce back, with the visit of in form Newcastle United to Molineux. Once again, Wolves fell two goals behind, and were left with too much to do in the second half. But, we were not assisted by referee Mark Halsey, who had courted controversy during the exciting 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur the previous season. Three minutes after going 2-0 down, Jamie O’Hara was felled by Steven Taylor. It was definitely a foul, but Halsey decided (wrongly after replays) that the contact had been outside the box. No penalty was given, and it took until the 88th minute for Steven Fletcher to finally pull a goal back. But the controversy wasn’t to end there; deep into injury time, a goalmouth scramble resulted in Kevin Doyle scoring. But alas, it wasn’t to be, an errant linesman’s flag incorrectly ruled that the ball had gone out of play. These two matches extended the run of defeats to four, and Wolves would not win another game until the visit of Wigan Athletic in November, by which time we were deep in a relegation battle.

Monday 2nd January, Chelsea at Home
Wolves had finished 2011 without a win in the last five games, but on an unbeaten run of three. One of those games was away at Arsenal, when Nenad Milijaš was inexplicably sent off, yet we managed to hold onto a creditable 1-1 draw. With the memory of Milijaš’ red card still fresh in the memory, it was of great surprise not to see Frank Lampard sent off for a lunge on Adam Hammill in the 24th minute. With the score at 0-0 at the time, and both teams having played just two days earlier, either side losing a man would have had a detrimental effect on the performance of the team. In a generally bad tempered match, Chelsea took the lead through Ramires, before Stephen Ward equalised late on. It wasn’t to be though, and Chelsea nicked all three points with a goal from, yes you guessed it; that man Frank Lampard.

Saturday 21st January, Aston Villa at Home
This game had particular resonance for me as I scattered my grandmother’s ashes in Liverpool on the morning of the game, before catching a train to just make it to Molineux in time. Despite falling behind to an early Darren Bent penalty, Wolves were clearly the better side in the first half, and went 2-1 up through goals from Michael Kightly and Dave Edwards. Having Kightly on one flank and Matt Jarvis on the other was a sight to behold, and left many fans wondering what could have happened were it not for Kightly’s injury hit three years. Former Wolf Robbie Keane equalised, but we still felt we were on top. Then, we managed to lose the two midfielders who had been dominating the game. If Frimpong’s kick in the face was unfortunate, then Karl Henry slyly back heeling Marc Albrighton’s chest was downright stupid. The tide of the game had turned, and there seemed a sad inevitability about the way Keane lashed home an 84th minute winner.

Sunday 12th February, West Bromwich Albion at Home
This is the game no Wolves fan wants to remember. But, it shouldn’t be forgotten there was a wave of optimism going into the match. We’d recovered from a pathetic performance at home to Liverpool (which led to Steve Morgan wading into the dressing room at full time) with a creditable 2-1 win away at QPR. With new signing Sébastien Bassong slotting in at centre back, a win over the local rivals would see us move to within three points of them. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Arguably, the defining five minutes of our season came in this match. With the score finely poised at 1-1 after 65 minutes, Albion took the lead in bizarre circumstances; Wayne Hennessey inexplicably letting a weak Jonas Olsson effort through his hands and into the goal. Less than five minutes later, Ben Foster makes one of the saves of the season from a fine Steven Fletcher header; From the resultant corner, Youssouf Mulumbu somehow – somehow – manages to head Roger Johnson’s header onto the underside of the bar and out. Those five minutes set off a chain reaction leading to a mauling at home, Mick McCarthy losing his job, and Wolves without a win for 14 games.

Saturday 31st March, Bolton Wanderers at Home
Yet, even after the Albion defeat, there was always hope. For me though, it disappeared in the defeat at home to Bolton. We absolutely dominated the first half, creating chance after chance. Fletcher alone could have a hat trick. But, at half time, you could just tell we were going to lose to a relegation rival. Despite Kightly giving us the lead just after halftime, it never felt enough. And so it transpired; Nigel Reo-Coker started to play, dominating the midfield, and inspiring his team to three second half goals. Although Matt Jarvis pulled one back late on, it was never enough, leaving us six points adrift of safety. And if that wasn’t enough, in the second half Wayne Hennessey and Roger Johnson got themselves involved in a slanging match. It wasn’t the first time this season they’d had a go at each other, during the home loss to QPR words were exchanged as well.

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Six Moments that Defined our Season
Wolves (IP Logged)
29/05/2012 08:08
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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2012:06:13:14:28:36 by toomb.

Re: Six Moments that Defined our Season
Tired and grumpy (IP Logged)
29/05/2012 17:33
six moments that defined the season, your having a laugh arent you! wolves are a great priemiership team

Re: Six Moments that Defined our Season
LordThor (IP Logged)
29/05/2012 21:44
I think the season was defined before it even kicked off...many will agree after the previous season and no response from the board it was inevitable..and so it proved.

Re: Six Moments that Defined our Season
Tired and grumpy (IP Logged)
30/05/2012 05:00
lack of good signings(Eggert jonnsson!why?), players being played in weird postions, weird negative tactics, the manager fiasco (mccarthys sackin and connors appointing), roger johnsons season, steve morgan and moxey trying to run the club

Re: Six Moments that Defined our Season
cedric harper (IP Logged)
30/05/2012 09:48
Yep have to agree with Lord Thor, the "excitement" if that is the right word of the last game of the season and the relief of staying up blinded a lot of people me included, to the fact that the team/management were simply not good enough. So were more or less down before a goal was kicked.

Re: Six Moments that Defined our Season
Zen Wolf (IP Logged)
01/06/2012 08:34
Not sure about negative tactics - more like over attacking set up tactics .Players werent good enough to play 442 with two wide players and be competent at the back at the same time.Anyone who packed central midfield ate us up and spat us out.

Re: Six Moments that Defined our Season
wolverina (IP Logged)
04/06/2012 17:40
The Chelsea fiasco did it for me - Lampard remaining on the pitch because - well, he's Frank Lampard. Ashley Cole not getting booked twice, and therefore being sent off because - well, he's Ashley Cole. They then combined to score.

I could tell we were doomed - we were all doomed!!

Ah well - let's see what we can do in the Championship!

Re: Six Moments that Defined our Season
Zen Wolf (IP Logged)
05/06/2012 08:54
Villa at home was the killer - if we could have won that there might have been a chance of getting 38 to stay up(if we had won villa would have finished below notlob)- combination of keane , henry getting sent off and frimpong injury meant 4231 experiment was over and our defence just fell apart after that.

Re: Six Moments that Defined our Season
ernesto hunt (IP Logged)
09/06/2012 13:04
Still so devastated - not really in the mood any more. Still think Morgans aquisition of Wolves for £10 was only a move to boost his ability to borrow commercially at lower rates for his wheeler dealing on the property market (#1 Commercial St. being the latest venture - link)

But on moments that defined our season Fat Man is just about there - it only takes a split second to die, and that was the moment Frimpong's leg went. With him fit till the end of the season we would have overcome all - including a poor manager in MM, another waiting in the wings in Connor, a CEO not doing a commercial job in Moxey, and a pathetically transparent 'carpet bagger' in the owner Morgan.

Oh! - By the way on the 2003 £10 'sale' by Sir Jack failed to attract any takers - until Morgan came along in 2007 forcing a desparate Heywood to rewrite the conditions of sale to suit Morgan.

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