Wolves 2 Leicester City 1 - analysis and pictures
Unconvincing, untidy, nervous and fragmented at times – but forget the performance, feel the points.
A just-about-deserved win helped ease some of the frustrations for the long-suffering Molineux masses to whom home defeat had become a depressingly familiar part of their weekend.
It's been far too long since Wolves have tasted victory on a regular basis to worry about the manner of how three points come.
Indeed, the desperate, exhaustive struggles for those elusive wins have taken so much out of these players over the last three years that a few jitters and nerves are surely understandable.
At least on this occasion Wolves hung on for victory, unlike the previous home game, when Derby scored a richly-merited equaliser at the death and were unlucky not to pocket the three points.
This time Wolves were in cruise control until one deadly swing of Paul Konchesky's left boot in the 70th minute.
The left-back's sensational strike from fully 35 yards proved the trigger for those all-too-familiar nerves and layers of tension to surface.
Thankfully for Wolves, they rode it out as victory provided a platform from which they can take confidence as they prepare to hit the road for trips to Ipswich on Wednesday and Peterborough on Saturday.
Comfort came not only with three much-needed points, but with the level of the opposition. For despite their struggles to establish a style of play amid all the upheavals that have gone on over the last few months, a re-assurance is starting to emerge that Wolves can hold their own at this level.
Manager Stale Solbakken might not have rid the players overnight of the 'losing mentality' about which he has talked so pointedly in recent weeks.
But however untidy and unconvincing they were at times yesterday, games and outcomes like this will help build shattered confidence.
At the heart of yesterday's recovery was a highly energetic display from Kevin Doyle. The Ireland international's struggle for form in the first half of last season was a factor in the team's demise. But in the more forgiving landscape of the Championship, he is rediscovering his sharpness.
It was the Wolves vice-captain, who turns 29 tomorrow, who won a corner and flicked on Bakary Sako's flag-kick for Richard Stearman to rifle home against his old club.
That put Wolves 2-0 up and into what appeared to be an unassailable lead before Konchesky upset the party.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who shared Doyle's hunger as Wolves' frontline regained some of their menace, netted the first in the opening attack of the game when he met Sako's free-kick with a powerful header from inside the six-yard box for his third goal of the season.
Wolves didn't have it all their own way before Konchesky's strike. Just before the half-hour, Carl Ikeme produced a superb one-handed tip-over from Ben Marshall's rising drive of which former keepers Peter Schmeichel, Matt Murray and Mike Stowell – all in attendance – would have been proud.
But Doyle, who is perhaps having to do less chasing back and defending at this level than he was in the Premier League, showed the benefits of having the shackles taken off and his renewed zest for the game with two efforts within seconds of each other before half-time.
First he latched onto Ebanks-Blake's superb defence-splitting pass to force Kasper Schmeichel to smother his angled left-footed effort. Then his follow-up shot was blocked by Wes Morgan.
Wolves received a let-off before half-time as David Nugent's first-time drive arrowed a yard over.
But after the interval they returned to the attack through Sako, whose up-and-over-the-wall free-kick was tipped around the post by Schmeichel, who then grasped the French winger's tight-angled shot.
Wolves could have had a penalty, too, for what appeared to be a shove from Marshall on Slawomir Peszko, although his dramatic fall probably convinced referee Stuart Attwell to allow play to continue.
But, fortified by substitutes Anthony Knockaert and Martyn Waghorn, the last half-hour belonged pretty much to Leicester.
With Solbakken increasingly resembling a windmill in the technical area as he desperately urged his players forward, Wolves retreated.
And Leicester poured into the gaps as Knockaert saw two efforts blocked by Christophe Berra, David Nugent's header dropped agonisingly wide and Waghorn drilled a shot against the base of the post.
Yes, Wolves, not helped by the apparent reluctance of Sako and substitute Razak Boukari to track back, lived dangerously in the latter stages. But, ultimately, it didn't matter.
By Tim Nash
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