Tuesday 22 August 2017

Wolves maul limp Blackpool

Wolves 4 Blackpool 0

Joe Lovejoy at Molineux

Mick McCarthy said he thought this could be the most difficult of Wolves' remaining matches --how wrong can you be?





Blackpool were "stinking", by Ian Holloway's own admission, and McCarthy's team took full advantage, scoring the goals they needed to climb not just off the foot of the table but out of the bottom three.

Three would have been enough for them to overhaul West Ham, Wigan and West Brom but the shortcomings of the opposition were such that they managed it with one to spare, recording their biggest win in the Premier League. It would have been more but for a man-of-the-match performance from Richard Kingson, the Blackpool goalkeeper.

Without their best player, Charlie Adam, who was out due to suspension, Blackpool were at sea throughout, bearing no resemblance to the team that beat Tottenham 3-1 on Tuesday. They were struggling, constantly on the back foot well before DJ Campbell was sent off for striking Richard Stearman just before half-time, at which stage the score was 1-0.

Campbell can expect a club fine for senselessly raising his hands and pushing them into Stearman's face -- violent conduct that will deprive Holloway of his leading scorer for a three-match ban.

Any butterflies in Wolves stomachs were evicted in the second minute, when Ronald Zubar played the ball down the right touchline for David Edwards to find Adam Hammill, whose short pass inside enabled Matt Jarvis to score from left to right. It was a goal worthy of the other end of the table.

Edwards would have had a second before the game was a quarter of an hour old but for the reaction save with which Kingson repelled a meaty goalbound volley. Blackpool resembled an ill-met bunch of strangers at the back and Wolves were unlucky not to double their advantage after 27 minutes, when George Elokobi headed in a corner from Jamie O'Hara at the far post, only for the goal to be disallowed because of an alleged, highly dubious push by Christophe Berra.

Blackpool were struggling even before the 43rd minute, when, instead of challenging for the ball in the air, Campbell backed into Stearman with elbows to the fore, then turned and pushed him in the face.

Indefensible madness, it left DJ's team in a spin and Wolves wasted no time in profiting from their numerical advantage. The second half was nine minutes old when O'Hara let fly from 25 yards and his bouncing shot evaded Kingson's left-hand before finding the corner of the net.

With a two-goal cushion, McCarthy went for the jugular, sending on an extra striker, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, in place of Zubar, his right-back.

Boldness had the desired effect late on, the substitute scoring in the 78th and 90th minutes.

The first of these came from barely two yards, courtesy of Kevin Doyle's inviting cross from the right, the second was set up by Stephen Ward's through pass and fired in left footed-from 15 yards.

Holloway had no complaints with the result, only about his team's performance.

"That was a stinking day at the office," he said. "I'm bruised and it hurts, but I'm going to keep my dignity and admit we were beaten by the better team."

McCarthy's was "delighted" Wolves had taken four points from their past two games, although he thought it ought to have been six.

"Maybe our luck is changing," he said. "I came away from Blackpool's match against Spurs on Tuesday night thinking they had just lost Charlie Adam, their most influential player.

"Then DJ Campbell gets himself sent off which caused Blackpool all sorts of problems."

Always the most unlikely of managers to get carried away in the aftermath of victory, McCarthy will not be celebrating before the end of the season.

"May 22 -- the date is tattooed on my arm", he said.

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