Wolves 1 Blackburn 1 - pictures and match analysis

It’s been one long season of anti-climax for Wolves so far and last night did not disappoint.

But if Dean Saunders didn’t get the result he wanted from his first game in charge, he certainly got the response.

Wolves were re-invigorated and Molineux was roused as a result. For only the second time this season, they saw their team come from behind to gain a point and, after the torpor of the Stale Solbakken experiment, that will do for now.

As we might have expected, the football was more Stoke than stylish, a bit of punk after Solbakken’s stodgy prog rock. Fast, furious, uncertain in construction and deliberately simplistic.

But it had a purpose and a capacity to disturb the opposition and that is what mattered as the new manager took his bow.

And after their own, morale-reviving three wins in a row, Blackburn Rovers were grateful for their point and that represented progress for Wolves following the hat-trick of sterile performances against Peterborough, Ipswich and Palace which sealed the previous manager’s fate.

As his successor openly declared, the football would be back-to-basics and the players would understand their roles. It was no-nonsense and relentlessly energetic and as a result stirred the home fans as they hadn’t been during Solbakken’s attempts to change the nature of the team.

Wolves at times played it so early it was premature, with either the giver or the receiver wrong-footed or out of position. The serious doubts about the quality of the players with whom Saunders must fashion a way forward were certainly not banished.

After the dirge of that FA Cup defeat to Luton, though, anything had to be an improvement.

Saunders was bold in his selection, bringing Ronald Zubar’s ‘Crazy Horse’ game in from the cold to rampage down the right while entrusting young Jake Cassidy with the task of sniffing out chances at the top of the team.

The 19-year-old, having caught Saunders’ eye in League One action on loan at Tranmere, never got a clear opportunity to mark his Championship debut with a goal but played his part fully in re-introducing Wolves to a public which had lost all recognition of its team. He will surely get further opportunities.

The game itself may have lacked quality, but it had a splendid feistiness which had the South Bank booming, mostly triggered by the contentious Blackburn goal which separated the teams at the interval.

This had followed a dominant opening from Wolves. The closest they came to a breakthrough, however, was from Kevin Foley’s 20th-minute effort defied by Blackburn keeper Jake Kean and some of the old uncertainties in defence returned to haunt Wolves moments later.

A series of missed clearances pressured them into conceding a free-kick which led to Ruben Rochina cutting into the area and drawing an attempted challenge from a wrong-footed Bakary Sako.

Sako made contact but Rochina was looking for it in the way forwards will – and referee Dean Whitestone’s assistant raised the flag for a penalty which enraged fans but didn’t prevent Jordan Rhodes beating Carl Ikeme.

What Wolves lacked in cohesion and composure after the break they more than made up for with effort. A Sako corner was headed off the line while a similar effort from Zubar looped on to the top of the net.

Saunders, having preferred the energy of a David Davis-Karl Henry axis for central midfield, turned to Jamie O’Hara in the 73rd minute and his first touch of the ball – was decisive.

He angled a long, diagonal cross towards the far post which was met on the run by Roger Johnson and a well-directed header flew by Kean to give Saunders his foothold and first point as a Wolves manager.

Many more are needed. But you’ve got to start somewhere.

By Martin Swain

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Comments for: "Wolves 1 Blackburn 1 - pictures and match analysis"

The Flying Winger

Good start, but long way to go and not with the majority of these players though.

New blood needed quickly in all areas of the team.

Zubar experiment dosen't work, hasn't worked, won't work. Perhaps it is more of a shop window.

Leaving your top goal scorer on the bench, and praising Doyle as other managers have done doesn't work, hasn't worked, won't work

Golden blood

All of the above could be true. 1 thing is for certain, we all have a manager we can unite behind now. It ain't pretty but at least we get the basics right. We can now build from here. We could never do that with Stale.

Morgan has already said we will be changing it around there will be more goings than comings but we will buy some quality.

More importantly the excitement is Back. And I for one am delighted to see molineux raw again.

Keep it up Dean. Great start.

Exeter Wolves

Agreed ! Great to see some attitude on the pitch but some of the players are giving lip service and hiding.

I believe Dean will quickly see the weak links and false hearts!

For me Doyle should leave,the captaincy should be given to a fully fit Ohara and we should be searching for a left and right back!

Long hard road but if Dean can out the shirkers and concentrate on the players that truly want to wear our colours then I see the play offs as realistic.


Fozzy Bear

Absolutely wrong !

Which players were paying lip service and hiding ? Name them !

There was the big difference between Saunders team and Solbakkens.

There maybe some who are not the required standard,but, hiding ? NEVER

Old Man in Old Gold

Are you called Exeter Wolves, cos that is where you were on Friday night? you certainly wasn't at the game, as there were no players hiding on Friday. A bit ropey and some panic-ridden moments, but loads of endeavour. Come on you Wolves

Kev H

I know lets all be negative!!!!

Golden Blood

Whos being negative?

Mark B

About right both sides had chances.

We were a lot better, more energetic and a couple of games from now should have the balance right.

I think the PRIDE is returning to Wolves


Really impressive start for deans first game in charge at least players had more about them and looked a lot better as a team, things can only get better so well done to that.


Thats better dean, We`re on our way. Everyone please support him. COME ON YOU WOLVES.

Golden blood

No problem from me. I am delighted with him.

nigel wolfnut

Re=energised performance but team he finsished with should have been the team he started with. Apparently there were knocks and niggles which meant Saunders was a little cautious.The difference when O'Hara came on highlighted the previous lack of creativity.Very very early days but transfer window will be interesting. Standard of officiating continues to be appalling not just the penalty but the inconsistency. Lack of real width was disappointing and the reliance on Sako a concern. Let's hope now Peszko is fit we can stretch defences.


Good start Dean.

Cassidy did well and is certainly one for the future. Still need an in form goal scorer. Sounds like Griffiths has got a lot of cotton wool between his ears but seems to be scoring for fun in Scotland. Worth giving him a chance, rather than putting him out on loan for the rest of the year.

Wenger's waterbottle

Correction - Leigh Griffths has nowt between his ears.

Solbaken was right Leigh has no place in this club or squad.

He is the worst sort of player that thinks fancy boots and cars are the thing.

Nothing between his ears means he will be outsmarted quickly, perhaps by the police.

Experienced Wolf

Happy happy, happy this morning but have to keep reminding myself that this only feels so brilliantly good by comparison to the endurance test of recent months and there is still plenty to be put right. My worry is, that newcomers arrive, and for their first game we think they are our salvation. Then, as they are guided into the Molineux way, something goes horribly wrong; we get rid and then, as often as not, they come good and come back to haunt us. I fear that until there is a fundamental change from somewhere up on high, history will repeat itself ad infinitum. Nonetheless, well done for last night and I sincerely hope that Saunders turns out to be the most successful manager we've ever had.


Good one Deano - a very different pack of Wolves were in the hunt last night. They showed hunger, passion, tream spirit and a bit of invention - all the qualities that have been strangers within the team recently.

Still a LOT of work to do but last night was a much improved performance and not an absolute embarrassment to watch.


Calling Great Barr Wolf.

You asked who would be better Rhodes or Berra

As you will have seen last night Berra was MOM and Rhodes didn't get a kick apart from the penalty that never was.

Keep your sarcasm to yourself


first positive action by a manager this season was recognising that davis, foley and henry do NOT mix and making the substitution that lifted the team effort. whatever promise davis had seems to have gone missing he passes the ball then goes back to sleep (which is probably why mcCarthy didnt play him so much) especially defensively, foley is no midfielder and henry is henry, hard working but no ball carrier. all in all though the ideas were there and more encouraging especially with o'hara demonstrating the class we have been missing. so far as the officials are concerned consistency was not their strongpoint perhaps the acclaim of being on the telly blinds them


Strange isn't it? I thought Davis was a contender for MOTM.

He tracked back, he won the ball, he showed for the ball all the time. He moved well with the ball and he picked out some good forward passes.

In fact, he picked out one of the best passes of the game. That slotted through ball for Doyle in the first half. He even had a few shots.

I think he does all that Henry does well, but in addition he attacks, passes forward and shoots when he gets chance.

Not sure if you saw any of that? But each to their own....

jason southam

a great start!

our team playing with passion again

we all know they're more than capable at this level and with a bit of belief,who knows where we could finish


mick the miller

How pleasing to see a Wolves team show maximum commitment, chase every ball and close the opposition down. Even though it is far from where we want to go it was a million times better than the awful,sterile dross we have endured this season. The team actually looked fit and up for the game. Early days but Dean Saunders seems to have had an immediate effect on these players. Biggest priority is a "fox in the box" to get us some goals. Need 2 or 3 quality additions for starters so that Dean can begin to build a team to be proud of.


yes i agree ,watched it on sky ,get rid off deadwood ,and doyle he cant score ,try and bring in curtis davies ,and charlie austin ,well done deano

Dan the Man

Nice to see a smile on Saunder's face. But with almost three weeks yet to pass before the end of the transfer window, and we get to evaluate more results, then we shall see how well placed we are to achieve something this season.

I also said in an old (Solbakken era) blog we needed to see less Swan Lake and more Lord of the Rings. Perhaps Saunders will be the new Aragorn II. I hope so, because we need to start slaying some of the team's demons.

Wolf at Gate

Sorry Just Not Impressed !

Quality came from O'Hara and Prezko and occcasionally Sako.

The ball had snow on it much of the time !


so you dont want tippy tappy and you dont want direct route football.

i bet you dont even know yourself, what type of football you do want?


I was`nt impressed with West Brom & Aston Villa this weekend, maybe they should hire a new manger & call for the deadwood players to be thrown out so the deadwood fans who can never be pleased follow. Nice spark with Wolves playing this weekend, the fire in performance will follow.

Great Barr

Well we knew it couldn't be any worse compared to the dire performances of the SS era but there is a long way to go. Overall I thought it was alot more energetic and was impressed with Johnson and Sako, O'Hara needs to start full stop and we are desperate for a striker( Billy Sharp)

Farmer Ted

That's better, football we understand. It needs a bit of polishing up and one or two players may not make it, but overall a much more entertaining performance after the dross Solbakken served up.

I said players labelled 'deadwood' by some on this site were better than recent performances suggested and so it proved. Berra was outstanding, Henry too, with some telling forward passes and that tackle on Danny Murphy was memorable. Ward made two or three of the most sublime passes to open up Blackburns defence and his marking was much better than usual. Solbakken should watch the video and learn that good man management is playing to the strengths of the squad you have.

Think Saunders needs to start O'Hara and SEB, but, appreciate he's still very much assessing what he's got.

Poor decision from the linesman for the penalty. Was right behind him in the Steve Bull and he also got two offsides totally wrong just before flagging for the pen. One was offside the other wasn't. He too, like SS needs to watch a replay and learn.


Good Game Good Game should have won and that was not a pen....fab cross from o' hara good time to sell him should get 500k.... can't wait for the next game....

well done lads and UTW.


Sell O'Hara? For 500k? Probably the most ridiculous thing I've heard on here. Why would we want to sell one of our very few Premiership quality players and for so cheap!

Broseleywood Wolf

Sorry must have been watching a different match from Dean, Wolves huffed and puffed and until Jamie got in that cross never looked like getting close to scoring. Blackburn almost done us over and deserved to considerering they were playing away. I'm hearing a lot of guff that we have the players to avoid going down.....sorry we don't, still very scared of the seasons outcome. With Stale going I'm not sure that this is the answer and he should have been given more time. I just hope I'm wrong and Dean turns out well but I have doubts. He said we were the better team????? Steve Morgan is a clever man, but football is not all about doing the right thing it involves a lot of luck, just hope ours turns a bit and his and Jez's shrewed investment and comittment to the club comes off.


Some call it "hard work", I call it negative hoofball. Needs to get better Deano.

Cuddly Dudley

Don't agree that it was hoofball. Plenty of crosses into the box is a very different thing, ask any of us who witnessed the Cullis days. Quality of striker was the main problem and needs addressing.

We probably created more chances in this match than we did for most of the home games under Solbakken.

Considering he's had 4 days to prepare this was a commendable improvement.

Tipton Wolves

I like the new discipline, energetic style so a good start under Deano. Not too sure about the hoof ball though so I think the centre midfielders like O Hara ought to try through ball to the strikers so the strikers can run for the ball while pacing away from the defence.


Well, it certainly got the heart beating at a game again but poor quality football. Far to early to judge though.

The introduction of O'Hara showed an entirely different dimension and with him back fully fit and hopefully Peszko the midfield will have a better shape. Davis and Henry in central midfield does not give enough creativity.

We need to see some players coming in - we don't want yet another 6 months of assessing players when over the last couple of seasons we know we have issues.

Full backs, possibly a midfielder and definitely a striker are priorities for me.


At last ..... the sun has come out at molineux


Not bad bearing in mind Deano has had barely 4 days in charge, he will gradualy sort out the wheat from the chaff and improvements will surely come..........

Filthy Wolf

Not being able to get to the match I had to make do with text commentary. What was weird was the sheer amount of 'Foul by.....' in the first 30 minutes. Wolves were actually trying. Nice to see Jake C get a chance but I feel we all would have been happier with SEB on earlier. The truth, though, is I feel Doyle and SEB are over. Selling them on would be easier but replacing will be hard. With dolts like Griffiths messing about on Twitter and the Icelandic kid barely getting fit, we will have to spend.


How can you be this positive about last nights game, SS was brought in to change the style of football and now the new manager is brought in the to play MM style (hoofball). The only difference between MM and DS is MM would of won that match playing that style.

We Have Gone Backwards!!!

SS style of football does work, it just needs players that can actually pass. For people saying SS style doesn't work Swansea have shown it does.


Swansea style totally different to Solbakkens. Also their players were fully fit and they don't play ridiculous zonal marking

Hackney Wanderer

Solbakken was brought in late and wasn't allowed to buy players until Fletcher/Jarvis/Kightley offloaded. In a week he managed to bring in 5 new players. He was very unlucky in that 3 of them - Peszko, Magreitte, Boukari injured long term. He tried to play a passing game through the middle but the McCarthy recruits weren't up to it. Had he been given the opportunity of bringing in 3 or 4 players in the window he would have had the core of a team prepared to play patient football on the ground - just look at Everton, they play backwards, forwards and sideways patiently until an opening is created.

Quite why Morgan panicked we will never know.

The medium term goal is a team that will go up and with shrewd additions stay up.

What I saw last night is a lot of balls booted from the back in the air in the vague direction of the opposition's penalty area. It reminded me of a rugby match with lots of 'up and unders'.

For those who think we've reached the promised land with Saunders just go and look at the first goal we scored against Brighton. Patient build-up from right back into midfield, back again, then played on the floor through midfield, with Sako scoring from the inside-left position.

I dearly want Wanderers to achieve promotion and stay up (like our neighbours down the road). Right now I'm looking at several seasons of mediocrity. I'd love to be proved wrong but my head tells me that it's highly unlikely.


You hit the nail spot on! Couldn`t have said it better myself.


100% agree


I can tell you. Morgan got rid because it was the worst football seen at Molineux in decades.

The team had nothing , absolutely nothing and Stale had done nothing for the team. There was no style , nothing.

Stale had months to work on a plan of players he needed and frankly, alarm bells rang when he didn't replace a single member of the back four.

That's why.

Pembrokeshire Wolf

However much we criticise the lack of quality (and rightly), we still need pride and passion in the team. Based on last night, I think progress is being made in that direction.

As someone else said, the team that finished the game looked better than the one that started it, so maybe Deano has learned something from that. However, I think I'd replace Zubar with Peszko and move Foley back. Cassidy did well and I much prefer Doyle to SEB. New signings needed, though. Please help us, Mick, by taking a few (but not Ward).


Deano - An entertaining match and certainly feel that the mood has lightened a bit, so well done to you and your close team for achieving a lot in a short amount of time. However a long way to go. Hopefully you will take time out to develop a vision for the future particularly for our style of play. I accept it is early days but some of the current players are close to their sell by date, lacking the technical skills to take us forward to the Premier. Your focus on on discipline and improved fitness may help some of those to achieve more of their potential but I have watched enough of the home games to suggest that you will find that the ceiling has been reached for some. Good luck though and at least I am now looking forward to the future with more confidence now.

Pigsville Wolf

I went with my father in law last night & we both really enjoyed the match.

After the dirge of the recent games this was just what was needed. We actually looked like a team & played with pride & passion. It's clearly only a start and we do need a lot of strengthening & clearing out of deadwood but I for one was very impressed with the improvement.

Good luck Deano & keep putting the bite back into Wolves!


loads of effort,lack of quality until ohara came on,foley awfull,most overated player seen down here for years.

Looney tune

At least we seen some passion in last nights match. Style of play very much as Doncaster blogs have stated in the previous days, long ball but at least the fans had something to cheer about. Still had the jitters every time Blackburn came forward, defence still a big concern. We need a big strong striker if the long ball game persists, thought sako played great especially in the second half, why not play him up front ? Would pose a greater threat than KD. 4 days in, hope eternal. Come on me babies!


A little concerned that people believe that was some kind of amazing performance last night.

Talking about effort and trying -surely this should be the minimum our players give when they step onto the pitch. Mick admitted he was too loyal to these players when he left and Stale said he was planning to move a number on - yet they are still here while the managers are asked to clear their desks.

I will definitely give Deano time before I judge him. Blackburn were toothless last night so won't be judging our defensively display until we play a team who attacks us. Still think we need full backs.

Desperately short of movement still up front. Twice Sako made great runs and had to pass it sideways in the end as no runs by the front men. We need some pace up front and more of a goal threat.




Well is this it? A new Manger should bring hope, unless Morgan/Moxey have appointed them, so whilst relegation might not be the outcome of more folly from the not so dynamic duo, mid-Championship is the best it will be for many a year to come; Nice house though,Steve and Steve, I don't know which one deserves the bull**** tag more, Morgan or Bull;

wolves united

Well played lads

ding dong

Having been to the match on Boxing Day,and then to the BLACKBURN match,

it was a breath of fresh air to finally see wolves doing the simple things, like closing players down ,getting to the first header,crossing the ball into the box.

i must say i felt JOHNSON was excellent. The negatives for me were the left and right backs and we are still not shooting enough, but i,m sure deano will change this. WELL DONE WOLVES

hairy meatball invasion superhero (aged 10)

WHY on earth are the wolves folk amazed by last night's performance? We drew! But we didn't draw at something impressive like 3-3, then again this is wolves we are talking about, but 1-1!!!!!! And Blackburn! we should be WINNING against them and DRAWING against the higher championship teams!!!! We really need to up our game, I guess we could have done worse! Over all an okay match! If they play with that amount of passion and actually win then I will be happy!

Golden Wonder

A good start from Dean and the lads with plenty of fighting spirit all over the pitch.

Some decent spells of passing mixed with the usual hit and hope that we expect from Wolves.

Everybody can see that we will struggle to score when you constantly play high balls to the forwards when we lack height up front and a bit too rushed in the final ball but all those things can be worked on at the training ground.

Need a big lad to get on the end of crosses.

The ref was a joke at times with his bookings and sorry Karl but for me Sako should have been made MOTM as he was the most creative player on the pitch despite the dodgy penalty.

Hard to judge Cassidy as he wasn't really given much service but worked hard for the team.


We have gone backwards, back to basic, back to stupidity.


Backwards from where? Solbakken? I'm afraid that wasn't possible.

However, the football was terrible but definately better than under Solbakken.

The problem with Solbakken is , he can claim he was going to transform the team, but, I'm afraid he's transformed them even from the low that Terry Connor left them in.

There was no style, nothing. IF there had been the slightest sign of improvement , maybe in the passng or moving, or defending, then Stale might still be here. Sadly, there were plenty of changes but all in the wrong direction.

Anyone can claim they want to change a football club. Not many can actually deliver on it though.

However, based on friday's performance and Friday's alone, I have a horrible feeling we are going to be the new Stoke.

Ah well, at least we had a few attempts at goal, which is more than can be said for the football under solbakken.


N0 doubt we will have statistics in the E&S but they do not descibe how poor the game was. Neither side would last in the Premier. It was the same old stiry I still do not know he kicked the ball the highest or the longest. Who would I keep i?. Ikem

O'Hara Sako and I would give the younsters a run . Can anyone exploit Zubars energy. Henry was energetic but his speed of action is slow