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From the archive - rare League Cup success

Sport | Published:

Wolves' recent record in the League Cup is, in a word, dire.

Kenny Jackett has yet to win a game in the competition as Wolves boss, having overseen first-round defeats to Morecambe and Northampton Town in the past two seasons.

But Wolves' poor Capital One/Carling/Worthington/Coca-Cola/Rumbelows/Littlewoods/Milk Cup record stretches back far further.

Since last winning the competition in 1980 they've progressed past the third round on just four occasions.

For three of those, in 2004, 2010 and 2011, they were knocked out in the fourth round by one of the big top-flight sides, losing 5-1 to Arsenal at Highbury in 2004, 3-2 to Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2010 and 5-2 at home to Manchester City a year later.

The only time they've reached the quarter finals in the past 35 years came in 1995/96.

Ironically this came in one of their poorest seasons since Graham Turner, Bully et all hauled them out of the football abyss in the late 1980s.

Turner's successor Graham Taylor was sacked in November and Wolves would finish just three points above the First Division drop zone, plummeting down the table in the last two months when they failed to win any of their final eight fixtures.

Amid the carnage of that season though they managed a morale-boosting run.

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Having not had to get their hands dirty by playing in the first round, Wolves entered in the second round and hammered bottom-tier Fulham 7-1 on aggregate.

Jermaine Wright and Don Goodman scored the goals in a 2-0 home win in front of 20,381 at Molineux, before Goodman (2), South African striker Mark Williams, Mark Atkins and, in a rare Wolves appearance, Tony Daley, got on the score-sheet in a 5-1 thrashing at Craven Cottage.

Fellow First Division side Charlton Athletic were next up in round three and after a dire Molineux 0-0 draw (as many as 22,481 saw this one), Wolves won the replay (yes, replay) 2-1 in London, with Atkins and Neil Emblen the goalscorers.

That set up a fourth round tie against Midland rivals and Premier League big boys Coventry City, who were still six years away from being relegated from the top flight for the first time in 34 years.

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Managed by Ron Atkinson, they had Dion Dublin, Peter Ndlovu, Gordon Strachan and Darren Huckerby in their ranks and would a month later thrash reigning Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers 5-0.

So no easy task for Wolves, who had Bobby Downes in caretaker charge with Taylor having been sacked earlier that month and Mark McGhee's controversial arrival from Leicester still two weeks away.

But in a pulsating tie they triumphed 2-1 in front of a boisterous crowd numbering 24,628.

On the half hour mark Coventry keeper Steve Ogrizovic was sent off for handling captain Bull's shot outside the area - and hitherto outcast Mark Venus lashed home the resulting free kick.

And just one minute later Molineux erupted when Darren Ferguson - nicknamed 'Jigsaw' because he always went to pieces in the box - scored his first ever goal in professional football, beating three players and scoring a 20-yard beauty.

Remarkably, both goalscorers had been placed on the transfer list by Taylor, with Ferguson forced to train with the youth team and Venus saying after the game: "Whoever is the new manager, I can't be any worse off than I was under Graham Taylor."

Paul Williams pulled a goal back but a wonderful - and unlikely - win was Wolves'.

They fell to another Midlands club, Aston Villa, 1-0 at Villa Park in the quarter finals.

Still, getting that far was some achievement. What price a repeat this season?

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