Wolverhamp[ton Wanderers go into the second leg of the Championship play off semi final a goal down after a combinatiopn of good and bad saw them go down 3-2 to West Brom at Molineux Sunday lunchtime.
After setting the early pace and rattling Albion, a Gary Breen poorly placed pass out of defence went straight to Kevin Phillips who took one touch and lashed the ball past young ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey, in for the injured Matt Muray.
Wolves then proceded toplay Albion off the park for a majority of the next 20 minutes, frequently finding the difference between the two sides Dean Kiely in inspired form between the Albion sticks.
Wolves chaed, harried, and ran for every last cause, and it was that attribute that finally drew them level in the last minute of the half.
When an over hit cross looked odds on favourite to beat Andy Keogh to the deadball line the Irish youngster incredibly kept the ball in play, sending over a near post cross which captain Jody Craddock, glancing the ball into the bottom corner of Kiely’s goal to draw the two sides level.
It was no more than Wolves deserved having nullified most of Albions swagger, and having looked the much bettter side for a majority of the half, in which had it not been for the in-form kiely, it could quite easily have been 3-1 to Wolves.
The second half was barely underway when Wolves took the lead. Darren Potter heading the ball down towards Jody Craddock whose feintest of touches found Seyi Olofinjana who stabbed the ball home at the second attempt to give Wolves the lead.
But Wolves joy was shortlived as old habits came back to haunt them in the shape of dead ball disaster.
Two minutes later on 54, a deep far post Albion corner found Kevin Phillips unmarked why steeredd his header into the Wolves net to draw Albion level.
As the game wore on, the high tempo that Wolves had enforced started to tell and Albion began to get a grip on the game.
On 73 minutes, Diomanse Kamara sprang the Wolves offside trap, and raced through to fire low past Wayne Hennesey, who had little to do all day but pick the ball out of the net.
Kiely continued to deny Wolves at every opportunity. Bothroyd, Kightly and Olofinjana all finding him unsurpassable no matter how many times the Baggies ‘keeper was tested.
As teh final whistle blew, it was Baggies cheers that rang all round the Molineux stands, but it was the Wolves fans who left feeling most proud of their side.
It was a valiant effort by McCarthy’s men agaisnt a side many think would fair well in The Premiership, with the only thing seperating the side being the quality of finishing on show.
All eyes now turn to the return leg on Wednesday.
Can Wolves overturn a one goal defecit and book a date in the play off final at the new Wembley?
I shouldn’t be sitting here as a defeated manager,Dean Kiely had a huge influence on the game, their finishing when they had the opportunities has been better.
‘We have run all over them for a large part of the game and been punished. But we will play exactly the same way so there is a bit more of that to come on Wednesday.’
‘We can be a lot better than that and we will need to be, I would suggest (in the second leg).