The draw at The Valley reflects an open, action-filled and dynamic contest between the two teams, underpinned perhaps by a smidgen of disappointments and notions of two points being dropped rather than a point gained. Charlton started the match the better side, edging possession and looking assured, with a raucous crowd behind them. Wolves slowly grew into the game and played some controlled, quite attractive football.
This momentum was abruptly stopped when Charlton took a corner that would see Bikey hit a strange volley from a contorted body position, resulting in the ball flying past the static Ikeme and into the net. Whilst the goal was not totally against the run of play, Wolves had built up steam.
The second half saw a more dynamic, aggressive Wolves performance, with some impressive football being played. This came to fruition with a sparkling Sako effort being tipped around the post, only for Batth to hammer in the ensuing James Henry corner with his head. Having resolved the midfield issues that plagued their first half attacking impotence, Wolves will perhaps head back to the Black Country disappointed to have not won. As Danny Batth agreed in his post-match interview with the official site, only one team was going to win after the equaliser.
Carl Ikeme 7
Ikeme was largely untroubled by the Addicks forwards and was only really called into action when Bikey scored. I’m unsure if I am being a little too harsh, but I think on another day, Ikeme would have parried that peculiar volley over the bar.
Matt Doherty 5.5
Without making any glaring, glaring errors, I was very disappointed with Doherty’s performance, or absence thereof. Knowing him to be capable of galloping down the wings, and noticing his sublime first touch against Blackburn that created umpteen opportunities, I found him lacking. Doherty is an important cog in our success down the wings, and he is at his best when he is a mobile wing back. Against Charlton, his first touch was off-key; he lost possession in advanced positions and he was somewhat weak in the air.
Whilst I am trying not to be overly disparaging of a developing, very promising talent, I am also conscious that Wolves fans have come to expect more.
Danny Batth 8.5
Thought Danny was very, very solid in defence. I did not notice one mistake at all: he won aerials battles with ease, had Vetokele in his pocket and tracked runs expertly to intercept or tackle. Obviously he took his goal superbly and is doing very well as captain. My one minute criticism is the age old adage that big bruisers like our Danny can’t pass too well. In fact, I think his distribution has improved over time and he has adapted to Jackett’s patient regime, but I think he is still prone to mindless hoofs upon occasion.
Richard Stearman 7
As with Batth, I don’t think Stearman did an awful lot wrong. However without looking at the replays, I think he was meant to be marking Bikey and was clearly switched off for Charlton’s singular corner of the match. I am still pleased to see Stearman step out of defence and give our midfield some fresh impetus with his acumen in distribution.
Scott Golbourne 6.5
Golbourne was defensively faultless, but Charlton scored early and sat back to a large extent, so not making many mistakes is no humungous achievement for the defensive line. I thought he got involved in the attacking play better than Doherty but did not deliver as many crosses as he could have.
George Saville 6.5
I am becoming increasingly impressed with Saville in a deep, defensive position. He has the ability to pass the ball accurately, and has surprised me with his range. I noticed a few occasions where he took the ball from the Wolves half an lofted aerial passes towards wingers, putting them in strong goal-scoring positions. I believe his substitution to be a reflection of the midfield configuration collapsing a bit, rather than an individually poor performance. Whilst Saville established a reputation for making crunching tackles in his cameo against Blackburn, I thought his performance was quite mature for a young, developing footballer. There were no dangerous tackles or even especially strong challenges that might put his disciplinary record in jeopardy.
Kevin McDonald 6.5
McDonald offered up a much improved performance compared to a fairly disappointing display against Blackpool. His passing was much more accurate and his ball retention returned noticeably. However I worry that he doesn’t know where to play. He seemed almost apologetic for getting into advanced positions and wanted to offload the ball as soon as possible. The truth is that, in the first half particularly, this was a malady of the whole midfield, therein curtailing our attacking flow. He is still not dictating the play quite as well as he did last season, but perhaps that reflects more combative midfielders in this division?
Lee Evans 7
Sat comfortably in the middle of the park, Evans offered Wolves perhaps the best opportunities through the middle in the first half. It was encouraging to see him attempt strikes from outside of the area, and he played with confidence. He retained possession well and was an important component in a largely competent, if unremarkable midfield display. His passing range was limited, though, and his energy definitely trailed off towards the end of the game.
Bakary Sako 6
Sako gave an archetypical Sako performance: hair-clenchingly frustrating from the get-go, but with an unmistakable flair regardless. I question whether starting him was a wise move, as his movement on the ball was a bit sluggish. He was obviously quite frustrated throughout the match, and his bursts of ability were matched with bursts of petulance, as he’d digress from the team strategy and launch numerous unsuccessful solo missions. His passing was particularly poor and he did not look to make incisive runs. Having said that, it was his great strike that Henderson saved, leading to the equalising corner.
James Henry 6
From the beginning of the match it was clear that it was not going to be Henry’s day. Obviously the man is known for his technical prowess but limiting lack of pace. This was very much the case today, as the Charlton full back who was marking him was simply faster than him. Whilst Henry has a small purse of tricks that he can unzip when beating his man, he was just bettered today. He demonstrated that he can still cross really well, play intelligently and exculpate himself from difficult situations, but his inability to get to the byline suffocated our attacking chances down that wing.
Leon Clarke 5
After the first half performance, I was conscious that his lack of success was not entirely his fault. The central midfield’s topography was a bit discombobulated and this severed the link between them and Clarke alone up top. I thought his energy was good, and he harried the defence high up the pitch.
However, I can’t find any excuses for his second half performance. With Dicko’s arrival and a generally more galvanised showing, Clarke wasted numerous chances and in my view, cost us a win. His composure on the ball is poor; he is not sharp enough in the box and seems to dilly-dally quite a lot in time-sensitive positions; his decision making was all over the shop.
Understandably, the man feels like he has a point to prove, but this cost him. On a handful of occasions, Clarke elected to shoot from improbably angles when squaring it would mean a tap in for other players. I think this may have scuppered his chances of starting in the near future, and strengthens the calls for the acquisition of another striker.
Nouha Dicko 7
I really loved the energy that Dicko’s arrival injected onto the pitch. He epitomised the impact sub and made a significant difference. Interestingly, I thought Wolves played very well in a 4-4-2 and his pace and aggression was key to it. Having Clarke next to him meant that he did not have to worry about pulling all of the strings at once and liberated him a bit.
Not on long enough
Not on long enough