Classic match report - Bristol City 1 Wolves 6, 1998

One of the biggest - and most unexpected - victories in what was a turbulent decade for Wolves came at Ashton Gate in 1998.

Classic match report - Bristol City 1 Wolves 6, 1998

The game was as narrative-heavy as it gets.

It was Colin Lee's first game in temporary charge after Mark McGhee was sacked two days earlier.

Young Irish striker David Connolly, on loan from Feyenoord, had yet to find the net, 15 games into his Wolves spell.

And fellow forward 'Super' Guy Whittingham was back at Wolves for his second loan spell.

Wolves were enduring a catastrophic season in which relegation was a real possibility and they'd yet to score two goals in a match.

What followed was a scarcely believable 6-1 hammering.

And there was also the small matter of a half-time scrap between Wolfie and three pigs.

An unforgettable day.

Bristol City 1 Wolves 6, November 7, 1998

A Start Made In Heaven

By David Instone

If Colin Lee goes on to manage Wolves for as long as Stan Cullis did, it's doubtful whether he will have many better days than this away from the office.

When a one-goal win, or maybe even one point, would have been seen as a good start for the caretaker, along comes the sort of afternoon of which dreams are made.

*Wolves scored more than twice in a league match for the first time in 1998/99.

*They scored six in a game for the first time since beating visiting Newcastle in March 1992.

*They came from behind to win a league fixture for the first time since March 1996.

*They scored six away in a league game for the first time since trouncing Hereford in 1976/77.

*They recorded their equal biggest away league victory since they hit nine at Cardiff in September 1955.

*They played energetic, enterprising, relaxed football that made a mockery of all those stuffy performances in September and October.

Whatever differences of opinion Lee and Mark McGhee might have had in the last 18 months - and they are said to have been considerable - the caretaker's response was gracious.

He dedicated the victory to the departed manager and promoted the same reaction from his players, even if many Wolves followers took a different tack with their loud renditions of: "Are you watching, Mark McGhee?"

In his near-three years at Molineux, I have come to regard Lee as a quality operator; not given to great rhetoric, but a man of his word, a good coach and with the scouting network to find a decent player or two given the scope.

Colin Lee and substitute Carl Robinson celebrate Wolves' third goal at Ashton Gate

Just as he wouldn't have expected to be written out of the equation had Wolves lost at Ashton Gate, so he still has much to do now to achieve his ambition of being granted full manager status at Molineux.

Wolves aren't the first side to play with freedom following the departure of a manager, although Albion's first game post-Alan Buckley was a 5-0 defeat and Bristol City's new director of football Benny Lennartsson has now kicked off nightmarishly with two maulings to the combined tune of 11 goals against.

But 6-1 is very much 6-1 and, even when Wolves were trailing to a sloppily-conceded early goal from Carl Hutchings - you have to say their defending was unconvincing for much of the first hour - they were bright and breezy going forward.

Simon Osborn, Kevin Muscat and, most spectacularly, David Connolly, all clicked virtually from the first whistle.

Mike Stowell was outstanding and the occupant of that No. 7 shirt...was it really the same Steve Corica who had tiptoed through more Wolves games than he would care to remember without conviction or confidence?

The way Lee and new No. 2 Mike Hickman threw their heads back in disappointment when Corica was denied a goal by keeper Keith Welch said a lot.

Wolves were five clear at the time, only a few minutes remained and there would have been little but personal satisfaction and further statistical history to be had from a first goal in two years by the Australian.

Some unusual half-time entertainment

Wolves, in the absence of the injured Michael Gilkes, went back to a 3-5-2 formation and thankfully found a shambles of a Bristol City defence, who opened up even more obligingly than when David Kelly's hat-trick sparked a 5-1 win for Graham Taylor's team almost four years ago to the day.

The irony came in large helpings, first as Guy Whittingham equalised - his scoring rush for Wolves in 1993/94 had come just after Graham Turner's departure - then as Connolly astonishingly ended his 15-game barren start with the club.

Substitute Carl Robinson rounded off the slaughter 12 minutes from time, all six goals having come from shots inside the area.

Simple, but measured forward passes were the devastating order of the day.

Lord knows what McGhee must have thought when he heard of Connolly's four goals and Wolves' half-dozen.

But the phrase 'Ain't life a bitch?' springs quickly to mind.

As for Lee, who was a Bristol City apprentice when he and wife Lynda had their wedding reception in one of Ashton Gate's guest rooms 23 years and one day earlier, was this the beginning of another happy marriage?

BRISTOL CITY: Welch, Murray, Bell (Hill 71), Hutchings, Shail, Carey, Goodridge. Thorpe (Cramb 81), Akinbiyi, Andersen (Torpey 71), Tinnion. Goal: Hutchings (12).

WOLVES: Stowell; Emblen, Curle, Sedgley; Muscat (Robinson 68), Corica, Fernando (Ferguson 82), Osborn, Naylor; Whittingham, Connolly (Jones 85). Goals: Whittingham (18), Connolly (21, 57, 68, 76), Robinson (78).

Attendance: 15,432

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