Saturday 18 November 2017

Hunt inspired by Sexton's heroics

Wolves 2
Blackburn 3

Phil Shaw

Seldom, if ever, in the often glorious, occasionally grim 134-year history of Wolverhampton Wanderers can a home defeat have been so rapturously acclaimed by the Molineux faithful.

On an afternoon of changing fortune, Wolves were on their way back to the Championship when they trailed Blackburn 3-0 at half-time; they came out of the drop zone as goals went in elsewhere, but slipped in again after Craig Gardner and Hugo Rodallega struck for Birmingham and Wigan respectively.

A late recovery, led by a Jamie O'Hara goal and capped by Stephen Hunt's exquisite effort, looked set to preserve Wolves' status by virtue of their having scored more goals than Birmingham.

In the event, Roman Pavlyuchenko's winner at White Hart Lane ensured Mick McCarthy's side survived with the luxury of a point to spare.

It was fitting that Hunt should effectively seal Wolves' continued presence among the elite. The winger, a feisty figure on a day when too many colleagues froze, was striving to avoid a third relegation from the Premier League after falling with both Reading and Hull.

Afterwards, the Laois native revealed that he went into the last game of the season at Molineux against Blackburn Rovers inspired by Jonny Sexton's Heineken Cup heroics for Leinster.

"I think Jonny Sexton is a bit of a fanatic but I looked to him yesterday and thought, 'I have got to keep going'," said Hunt.

"We still lost the game but it kept me going and luckily I put one in the top of the net.

"Thankfully, I heard the fans singing we needed one more goal so we were mentally strong, thank God. We were down in the dumps to be honest with you. There is only one way to do it and that is to try and score a few goals.

"Luckily, Blackburn took their foot off the gas, but having two 'keepers you would not have saved it (his goal). We will move on and learn from it and try and get better as a team."

Hunt will now join up with Ireland for three friendlies and the all-important Euro 2012 qualifier with Macedonia.

"I will just relax and try and recharge. I have got four games over the next two weeks," he said.

"One of them is very important and we have got to try and get three points. But I will try and enjoy the moment. Thank God we got a couple of goals in the second half. They changed people's decisions and how they played.

"Birmingham shut up shop but they had to go for it in the end and that is why they got beat."

Irish Independent

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