On a day when Molineux drew its biggest crowd for 33 years, Wolves gave the promotion party setting a scoreline from yesteryear.
6-4? They don’t have games like that any more do they?
Well, yes they do – and not even three pitch invasions, the threat of an abandonment from the officials and the prospect of an FA carpeting for the club could lessen the sheer joy and excitement prompted by the game of the season for Wolves fans.
A strange, sometimes breathtaking, sometimes bemusing, runaway train of a game it was too, featuring two hat-tricks and five goals in the last 10 minutes.
The entertainment was as plentiful as the goals supply and fully indebted, it must be said, to the challenge presented by a splendid Rotherham outfit who would not lie down.
They will probably feel they have been mugged by a family member. Back in December, an on-loan Nouha Dicko scored two goals for Rotherham against Wolves in a 3-3 draw to confirm Kenny Jackett’s already fermenting proposal to sign the striker when the transfer market re-opened.
Yesterday, Dicko scored his first hat-trick for Wolves, a feat mirrored by Rotherham’s Kieran Agard as the two teams took the tally of goals from their two games to 16. If Rotherham join Wolves in the Championship via the play-offs, it might just be worth grabbing a ticket.
Amid this extraordinary flurry of goals, it was the first of the season for Sam Ricketts which deserved top billing and, restoring his team’s lead at 5-4 after Rotherham had clawed back a 4-2 deficit to reach 4-4, triggered the South Bank spill over which took the shine off a memorable day.
The exuberance was understandable but not the repeat performances which came in the moments which followed, prompting the threat from referee Fred Graham to abandon the whole darn shooting match – and what a perfectly apt metaphor – should there be a repeat.
This was no way for the club and the huge majority of supporters to enjoy the rewards of reaching the targeted 30,000 attendance – 30,110 to be precise – as Wolves seek a grand conclusion to a winning season. But if anything this was a game which reminded Kenny Jackett and his players that they are far from the finished article.
Rotherham’s high-pressing game repeatedly knocked Wolves out of their stride and gave them an uneasy passage to three points which nevertheless move them ever closer to the League One title.
The Championship beckons but here was a valuable reminder that so does a lot more work to meet its greater demands.
What League One has found from the outset, however, is that Wolves have match-winning qualities which have rarely been repelled, and so it was yesterday in a game of almost ridiculous excess.
A recap? OK, deep breath everyone...here we go.
Fourteen minutes gone and Wolves are under their first pressure of the game having watched Dave Edwards just fail to give them a first-attack lead from a header supplied by Michael Jacobs’ free-kick.
Agard stoops to conquer the meanest defence in the Football League with a back-post header from a Rotherham corner Michael O’Connor somehow snakes through Carl Ikeme’s congested six-yard line. Game on. Good – it’s a Wolves team that hasn’t been tested enough lately and this can only do them good.
And by half-time, their response has been emphatic. So much so that the game seemed won at 3-1. Rotherham’s lead only lasted six minutes before Edwards and Bakary Sako combined to bring Dicko his first, a sliding finish to the Frenchman’s cross which spoke of all his qualities – strength, sharpness and a determined hunger for the target.
Two more in three minutes followed. A sweeping Jacobs pass found Ricketts who picked out a strangely-unmarked Dicko for the second before Wolves’ other consistently excellent full-back Scott Golbourne became provider for Edwards and an equally simple third.
But Rotherham showed no interest in the role of accommodating guests at another club’s party.
They had Wolves repeatedly back-pedalling into their final third and thoroughly deserved a second goal just after the hour to keep alive a contest which now moved from absorbing to thrilling.
Two previous Wolves break-outs had seen first Dicko denied by Adam Collin before Ricketts gave us a prelude of what was to come with an extraordinary solo run and shot which struck the woodwork.
Molineux was now throbbing and thought for the second time the game was up in the 80th minute when James Henry’s searching pass was collected by Edwards who calmly picked out Dicko for the hat-trick goal.
But four more goals were still to come. On a fine day for full-backs, Rotherham’s James Tavernier set up Joe Skarz for a volleyed finish and then, unbelievably, Agard for his own hat-trick.
This was now crazy – 4-4 and Molineux about to go off the scale.
Ricketts, charging forward straight from the restart, followed his own pass to the indefatigable Edwards who touched a return into his captain’s path. From 25 yards, and without breaking stride, Ricketts clipped as sweet a strike as he could have known in his career to regain the lead.
That sparked pitch invasion No.1 and, when Wolves broke away for Jacobs to hit the side-netting before Dicko’s power gave Kevin McDonald the sixth, two more followed.
They were scenes which rightly earned the scowls of the rest of the crowd but might, sadly, deliver an unpleasant after-shock. This thundering chunk of old-fashioned football does not deserve such a legacy.Subscribe to our Newsletter