Advertising

Wolves Fans' Verdict v Blues: "We've done it!"

By Jamie Brassington | Wolves | Published: | Last Updated:

Our fans bask in the glory of promotion to the Premier League.

Clockwise from top left; Russ Cockburn, Russ Evers, Adam Virgo, Heather Large, Chris Hughes, Natalie Wood, Clive Smith and Rob Cartwright

Rob Cartwright

What's your verdict on the match? It was a party in the stands and also on the pitch. There were no signs of the late night celebrations at the team hotel the night before. For the second time this week, Wolves stayed in first gear to completely dominate the game against our Midland rivals.

Birmingham could not get a touch of the ball for long spells of this game. They followed the Cardiff plan of trying to kick us at every opportunity. Thankfully, they missed more often than not!

We did have a fright, after ten minutes, when an off-side player caused a John Ruddy double save. That aside, this was as comfortable a win as you will get.

On 20 minutes, Jota stole a yard in the box and Doherty found him perfectly to tap home. We then enjoyed the majority of possession without creating many clear cut chances. There is always a risk at 1-0, though it didn’t look like Blues were capable of creating much, other than set pieces.

Nuno used the subs well, as always. First enforced through an injury to Cavaleiro early on. Then later in the game to protect Neves and Jota from the rough treatment.

All three replacements contributed well.

Blues next attempt on goal was on 86 minutes. Ruddy made the save and then one minute later, N’Diaye threaded the ball through the middle to Afobe who neatly chipped their keeper making the score more respectable.

Advertising

I’m not sure that Blues touched the ball from then on. They are still at risk of relegation with three games remaining.

There was much to celebrate at the end. Reality is we have the title already with our goal difference. Great that the fans stayed off the pitch so that players and fans could enjoy the celebrations together. Nuno was the focus of both fans and players who recognise the impact he has made. He’s different gravy though and his main focus was on ensuring his backroom team received the applause that they too deserve.

What a manager. What a man. No doubt, he’s a class act.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? This was a good performance; not outstanding. Wolves coped well with the rough stuff from Blues and kept the ball for long periods of play. The midfield were very good, as a unit. Neves, Saiss, Jota and Doherty were my stand out players. The defence had little to do, though Ruddy was called upon twice during the game.

Advertising

Special mention for Ruddy who kept his 22nd clean sheet from 43 games this season. I know he’s got a good defence in front of him, but time after time he has proved to be an excellent last line, including the two saves yesterday.

I liked the contribution of all three subs with N’Diaye and Afobe doing particularly well.

My Man of the Match was Costa.

I have a feeling he is going to get better and better next season.

Heather Large

What's your verdict on the match? Normally you can't beat the feeling of a derby-day win but defeating a local rival when you know you're already promoted certainly tops it

After Saturday night's celebrations and knowing they had secured a spot in the Premier League, you could have forgiven the team for being below par.

But this is Wolves - they knew they still had to job to do and fans to please so what we saw was their now trademark style of controlling the game so they could play the way they wanted to.

There was a great atmosphere from a packed Molineux from the start and hearing 'Nuno had a dream' echoing around the ground uniting the fans was wonderful.

All in all it turned out to be a fairly comfortable win although if it hadn't been for some excellent saves from John Ruddy it may have been more nervy.

It wasn't the most exciting of games, especially in the second half, but it didn't need to be as moving three points closer to becoming champions was the goal.

The scenes after the final whistle were brilliant, you could see exactly how much it meant to the players and to Nuno as well as the rest of the coaching staff.

It's been a great season, one all of us will remember for a long time, and it's not over yet with more celebrations to come.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Jota and Ruben Neves stood up well to the constant battering they got from the opposition.

I thought Matt Doherty was excellent and his fantastic cross made it easy for Diogo Jota to net the opening goal.

And it was a great second goal from Benik Afobe with the ball coming to him exactly how he likes it. But really every player contributed to a good team performance.

Russ Cockburn

What's your verdict on the match? What a day, what a season, what a team, what a manager, what a hangover! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, we effortlessly brush aside the Blues to all but secure the Championship title.

Following the first five ‘sloppy minutes’ when the lads looked like they had joined us for a boozy breakfast, Wolves dominated the game. Patient and controlled in possession, until the killer ball became available.

Blouse on the other hand were dreadful, resulting to kicking lumps out of our players and lumping the ball aimlessly forward. You know you’re in trouble when you decide to play Digger behind the forward in that floating role…I mean what is that about? The bloke is as creative as an episode of Citizen Khan.

There was also the tale of the two Jotas. Ours, a sublime masterpiece of poise, elegance and cutting edge football, the other a £6m failed attempt at trying to manhandle and track Doherty. We all knew how that was going to turn out and lo and behold the Irish Cafu kept right on by breaking free and delivering a sublime cross for the first goal.

The rest of the game was pretty much about us keeping possession, with the stats showing we had a massive 76 per cent of the ball. This time it was Saiss who was pulling the strings, even having enough time to make a rare foray into the opposition box and drawing a fine save from Stockdale.

Before that Harlee Dean did his best to amass more disciplinary points than Blues have league points with a lunge on a flying Costa, who was back to his brilliant best. Since the Fulham game he has been fantastic and proved I should stick to being a PR person and not a football manager.

The second goal was the icing on the cake and enough for Jasper to choke on his carrot. An inch-perfect pass from Alf set Afobe away and the on-loan striker gave the onrushing goalkeeper no chance with an exquisite chip. Enough to make Nuno think he could handle the Prem? I think the jury is still out on that one.

Molineux was bouncing and in full party mood, with a lot of the old songs being belted out. It has been an amazing journey and one I doubt will ever be matched, thanks to all the wonderful boys and girls I’ve shared it with.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Costa was the highlight of the attacking three, whilst Saiss outshone Neves in the centre of the park, proving he’s more than just someone who sticks his foot in. In regards to our Portuguese sensation, a lot has been made this morning about him not winning the EFL Player of the Season trophy.

Let Sessegnon have his moment and the tinpot cup, we and the rest of the footballing world know who the best player has been this season. I’m sure Neves will not give it a minute’s thought, as he tucks into a bit of piri piri chicken whilst supping Superbock tonight.

Special mention to Ruddy, who claimed his 21st clean sheet of the season. That’s some going and his double reaction save made sure the Molineux party wasn’t spoilt before it had started.

Then we come on to Connor Coady, the best thing to come out of Liverpool since the Beatles. His infectious smile and leadership has been the backdrop of the season and, for me, he is just as important as Neves to how the team gels and operates. If he keeps this form up in the Prem, then there should be no reason why Southgate isn’t taking a look, now who would have thought that a few years ago?

Finally, Nuno. What a beautiful man. The sight of him being thrown up in the air after the game fills you with the same levels of contentment that you get from a cheese and onion cob in the Great Western. He’s not only masterminded promotion in style, but actually transformed our mentality both on and off the pitch.

We should give him the freedom of Waterloo Road and a new statue…Nuno on the Oss!

Natalie Wood

What's your verdict on the match? Today will be etched in my memory for many many years to come. As games go it wasn’t the best but I think we are all so securely on cloud 9 to care!

Birmingham started well and bright and really looked like they were going to give us a good game. John Ruddy’s double save early on was superb and really kept us in the game, I think blues would have grown in confidence if they had taken the lead. After that wolves started to pick up and take control, our first goal was such a typical wolves goal with Saiss finding Doherty to put in a low cross to perfectly find Jota... just perfect.

Birmingham then really started to hit wolves hard with some very questionable and frankly ridiculous challenges, the referee really struggled to control the chaos unfolding, how Birmingham lasted so long before a red was shown is beyond me!

Second half was like an exhibition match, sitting watching Birmingham appearing to just give up brought back memories of recent years and reminded me how far we have come! We were passing the ball so freely and looked so comfortable. Icing on the cake was our second goal, again another great team goal and a great finish by Afobe.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Yet another great team performance where any player could be man of the match. Stand out performances for me were John Ruddy for his excellent saves and dominating performance and Saiss who really stood out in midfield, he has been an absolute revelation this season, a completely different player to the one we briefly saw last year. Of course as always Neves was out of this world, the fact that 3 hours after the game people were debating whether his misplaced pass was the first mistake he has made shows what a special player he is.

That final whistle and the celebrations that ensued after were really special. This has been the best season I’ve ever experienced as a fan and by far the best team I’ve ever seen wear our kit. The past few years have been tough for the club, it has felt like we just weren’t going anywhere whereas after the game today we were discussing our dream European away days....a dream that no longer seems impossible!!

The season isn’t over yet though, let’s get that trophy and 100+ points!!

Chris Hughes

What's your verdict on the match? The procession is almost over. Confirmation of our return to the promised land has been given. The time has come to rejoice and make merry in the knowledge that we will visit the elite next season.

The anti-climax of knowing the job was done before kick-off could’ve dampened the atmosphere but the visit of David Davis and his ‘dargs’ meant Molineux was rocking in a local derby atmosphere despite the Blouse seeming to forget they were meant to be playing.

For most of the 90 minutes this game was like watching a cat playing with a ball of string. We were in total control. Much has been the trend of this season.

My pre-season prediction to @wolvesbradders that this season wasn’t a matter of whether we’d be promoted but whether we’d break the points record was fairly accurate.

It’s a shame we hadn’t switched on for the whole season and smashed Reading’s record but I’m still going to be adamant that this division has never seen a team as good as this.

On we go to the title at Bolton. For those whose Sisters haven’t organised their wedding day for next Saturday, I hope you enjoy the retribution for 1995 and Fatty McGinley. Spare a thought for those of us who are otherwise engaged for family business!

Clive Smith

What's your verdict on the match? With Promotion confirmed prior to kick off there was nothing on the game. As if! Blues were fighting to remain in the league we are leaving at the other end.

Their desperation showed in a string of challenges, many late, that might have received more punishment from other officials. Our passing game was in full flow and, like so often this season, it was pleasing to watch.

It is the effort of the players without the ball that make it work. Had we taken our foot off the gas there would not have been the movement and passing would have been harder.

We did have a scare however and Ruddy had more action in one minute than he has in some whole games. Two good saves preserved our clean sheet.

Doherty looked on a mission today. Constantly he was in advanced positions, so much so that he got caught offside more than once.

No surprise that he was involved in the first goal as, after five or six passes, he got inside the fullback to cross perfectly for a Jota tap in.

Although we hardly pummelled their goal, there was an air of being in control of the game. Costa was looking on his game and was our main dribbler. Cavaleiro had to leave early but Bonatini was an able sub.

After the interval Costa raced onto a defence splitting pass heading for a one on one with the keeper.

A crude challenge brought him down. It was a replica of the situation at Boro two weeks ago. That time nothing happened, today we saw a red card given.

Funny old game eh!

Ironically Blues played better with ten men. They had a couple of chances that required some good defending from us. The game had opened up and we finally put it to bed when Afobe beat the onrushing keeper.

Another good day at the office for Wolves which was happily celebrated after the final whistle.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Ruddy had to get his hands dirty for once. He did well too.

Doherty spent more time running into the Blues box than defending in the first half. Great to see him so full of energy.

Douglas was not quite on the money with the corners today. Neves has pulled rank on the free kicks too. An otherwise sound game.

Bennett, Coady and Boly managed at the back skilfully, barely a header or pass missed or wasted.

Neves needed larger shin pads. When in space you dare not take your eyes off him.

Saiss was consistent throughout. Good energy and made good use of the ball.

Cavaleiro had little time to get involved before pulling up.

Jota looked a live wire. He must be a nightmare to mark. Constantly looking to make the run along or through the defence as per the midweek goal versus Derby.

Costa put his quick feet to full use. MOTM. He evaded tackles constantly and was also excellent winning the ball back. His form has been good over the last month and the best of our forwards.

Bonatini had a long stint as sub. A couple of goal chances were wasted. Back in Autumn it would have been him sliding in for the first goal, not Jota.

N'Diaye was strong and busy when he came on. He played a perfect through ball to set up Afobe.

Afobe notched a neat goal while missing another good chance. Playing wide in the front three still looks, not quite right.

Adam Virgo

What's your verdict on the match? It feels so good to have now officially won promotion to the Premier League. It was never going to be an easy game being a local derby, Blues fighting for survival and mentally our players could have easily not been 100 per cent with the scenes and emotions after the Fulham game.

Apart from Ruddy’s fantastic double save early on and the Lukas Jutkiewicz chance late on at 1-0, we were comfortable. Not at our best by all means but did enough and our class showed in the end.

Diogo Jota showed once again that he is the real Jota, the Blues one is a fraud to say the least. Talking about fraud, the EFL awards last night, Neves not winning POTY was farcical.

Both of our goals involved some good play, typical use of the wing backs got us in for the first one and Jota grabbing his 16th goal in the League. Then for the second, good ball from N’diaye and the Afobe doing what he does best, running in behind and then a composed chip over the allegedly best goalkeeper in the Championship which no one said ever.

Their tactics seemed to be to kick us but we’re used to that now, ever since that game against Cardiff at the start of the season, our players have learnt how to deal with it. Neves must have taken at least 3 hits in the first half, suppose he was the easy target after what he produced on Wednesday night.

Loved the celebrations at the end with the players and Nuno. Three idiots had to run on the pitch, was always going to happen but I just didn’t see the point personally unless everyone went on. Didn’t ruin anything though, the connection Nuno and the players have with the fans feels special and something I’ve not experienced before.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Helder Costa was superb, caused havoc for the Blues full backs all afternoon. He certainly enjoyed himself with the champagne during the celebrations too. He really has stepped up his game after a slow return and I’m sure he’ll continue to get better, especially with a pre season in July.

Romain Saiss doesn’t get enough credit for his role at times. As good as the likes of Neves, Jota, Costa and Cavaleiro are, this guy is very good at retaining possession and doing the work that goes unnoticed. Neves wasn’t at his best yesterday but Saiss certainly stepped up and ran that midfield at times.

Jota once again had another good game. Unlucky not to get his second goal early in the second half but he’s always getting joy from running at defenders. Always finds himself in the right positions when the ball comes across the box as shown by our first goal.

Hopefully we can win the title at Bolton this week and then lift the trophy in our final home, which would be a perfect way to end this wonderful season.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News