Wolverhampton Wanderers rode their luck to snatch a point at Hillsborough, Andy Keogh grabbing an injury time equaliser, in a match dominated by the contraversial dismissal of Sheffield Wednesday right back Frank Simek.
Simek’s straight red card ten minutes from the end for a challenge on Wolves winger Michael McIndoe brought a furious reaction from both managers, unable to agree on the ref’s decision.
‘There were some seriously wrong decisions today by the ref,” Brian Laws said after the match, “and they have caused mayhem. Frankie is an honest player, went for the ball, got it and then was sent off. It changed the game and we lost the three points we deserved.”
Wolves went into the game looking to cement their place in the play off positions following their midweek defeat to midlands rivals Coventry City, but it was Wednesday who looked the sharper from the opening whistle.
Mick McCarthy made one change to the team that lost on Tuesday, bringing in Jamie Clapham for the suspended Jackie McNamara and from the outset the decision to go with a team that had played 3 games in 6 days seemed to be a rare McCarthy selection error.
Wednesday took the lead after 22 minutes when a Simek speciality long throw into the box was flicked on by Lee Bullen for Deon Burton to stab home from close range.
Wednesday dominated the first half hour looking sharper fitter and hungrier than Wolves, which poured scorn on the belief that with little left to play for, Brian Laws men would be happy treading water.
The most exciting moment of the half came shortly after when Andy Keogh latched onto a long Michael Kightly ball out of defence, and side footed over the on rushing Wednesday ‘keeper Iain Turner, only to see defender Richard Wood race fully 30 yards to clear off the line.
Wolves seemed to take strength from that, and soon after found an equaliser.
Michael Kightly jinking past Glenn Whelan on the left sent a long diagonal cross into the Wednesday box and Michael McIndoe rose above the defence to bullet home a header into the top corner from close range.
After spending much of the first half limping and in obvious discomfort Matt Murray was replaced by loan ‘keeper Jan Budtz, who hardly had the most auspicious start to his Wolves debut.
Wednesday stated the second 45 as they did the first, and following a neat exchange oh headers between Steve Maclean and Burton, Maclean buried a low 20 yard effort into the bottom corner of the goal just 47 seconds into the half, and Budtz got his first touch picking the ball out of the net.
Wolves suffered more injury woes when Rob Edwards was withdrawn with 20 minutes to go, limping following treatment with club captain Jody Craddock taking his place .
Wednesday were looking good for all three points until Frank Simek’s tackle on Michael MCIndoe`with ten minutes to go.
Simek’s scything tackle on McIndoe, chasing a long Jan Budtz throw out of defence left the Wolves winger crumpled on the floor and in need of treatment, provoked fury from Mick McCarthy, earned Simek a straight red and gave Wolves a glimmer of hope that they may yet salvage a point.
First Jay Bothroyd, on for Michael Ward saw a shot blocked, then deep into injury time came Keoghs equaliser.
Wednesday seemed happy to play out the clock in the Wolves corner until Darren Potter stole the ball back and released Michael McIndoe. Jay Bothroyd flicked on his long ball up front into the path of Keogh who flicked the ball inside Steve Watson and buried his low shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Keogh earned himself a yellow card for ripping his shirt off in celebration as he and the elated Wolves fans went wild having once again come back from the dead..
Wolves nearly stole all three points in the dying moments, Neil Collins sending a header over the bar which would have been rough justice for Wednesday already seething over Simek’s red card.
It wasn’t Wolves best day at the office, being out played and out muscled for a majority of the game, but one characteristic of Mick McCarthy’s side is that they don’t know when to quit.
Four points from the last nine may see their hopes of automatic promotion disappear, but it keeps their play off dream alive which is more than could have been hoped for last August.
Andy Keogh On THAT Celebration
Mick McCarthy On Simek’s Dismissal
‘I like Frank – he is a competitive player, but he deserved his punishment. It’s unacceptable and there is no place in the game for that.
‘McIndoe wasn’t fully functional after that. His leg is in a bad way.
‘I reacted to it but I can guarantee you that if it had been the other way around then Brian Laws would have done the same.’
Simek In His Own Words
. ‘I definitely got the ball and, yes, I definitely got the man. I was going full blast from 20 or 30 yards. I’ll take the blame (for the result) but I don’t think I cost the team two points.’
Andy Keogh On THAT Celebration
‘This could be the point that gets us into the play-offs,’