Sunday 19 November 2017

Wolves' lack of bite irks McCarthy

Blackpool 2 Wolves 1

Will Swanson

For Wolves manager Mick McCarthy, three straight defeats became four at Bloomfield Road as they were unable to beat a Blackpool side with the worst home record in the Premier League.

Once again, he could point to another encounter where his men gained scant reward for what was a positive contribution to an entertaining game, particularly in the second half.

However, by the time his team began building up enough momentum to seriously trouble Blackpool, they were already behind to a spectacular long-range volley from Luke Varney after only three minutes and a toe-poke from Marlon Harewood just before half-time.

Had his players shown a modicum of composure in front of goal, then they would have been travelling home with at least a point and a chance to draw a line under their recent poor run.

Instead, presentable chances agonisingly came and went for the away side as they poured forward in the second half in search of a way back into the game.

Winger Matt Jarvis was the catalyst for the visitors' revival, continually menacing the Blackpool defence to set up a number of opportunities. But even his poise deserted him at the crucial moment, choosing to lay the ball off when a strike on goal looked the better option.

The pivotal moment, the point where the game began to slip away from Wolves, came with half an hour left when substitute Nenad Milijas struck the upright. McCarthy's men were wholly in the ascendancy at that stage and looked perfectly capable of capitalising further as the game headed towards its finale.

When Kevin Doyle finally broke the Seasiders' resistance with a header four minutes from time, there was an inescapable sense that it was too little, too late.

For an understandably saturnine McCarthy, it was another tale of woe: "When Milijas hit the post it looked like it was not going to be our day. When we got one we tried, but we weren't good enough in either box. We lacked a little bit of quality when we had the opportunities."

Forty-two years had passed since Blackpool secured a win against their Midlands opponents in a competitive fixture and they could not have chosen a more opportune time to rid themselves of that particular hoodoo. Having to deal not only with the weight of history, the Seasiders also held the unenviable tag of having the worst home record in the Premier League of one win in five.

However, they overcame both the past and the present to double their home tally and lift themselves to a healthy 11th place in the table.

Manager Ian Holloway felt his side needlessly put him and the fans through the emotional wringer but praised his players' commitment: "We could have and should have put the game to bed. We were 2-0 up and we're still trying to score a third. It does give me kittens sometimes, it does give me palpitations, but it's exciting and hopefully we're giving value for money."

Irish Independent

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