Date: 6th March 2011 at 7:57pm
Written by:

I like to think that my home match-day blogs allow long-distance fans such as New York City Wolf and Crete Wolf to share with me the excitement of travelling to and watching a game. And, I was particularly looking forward to seeing how we performed against Spurs earlier today, as I reckoned it would provide a good test of our recent form.

Unfortunately, I couldn`t go. I had bought my ticket (weeks ago) and was ignoring the pain in my dodgy back and the pressures of a deadline that had passed six day ago. In my mind I was there.

Then, my daughter (the one who lives in Glasgow) phoned to tell me that, as she had to attend a meeting in London on Friday, she would be spending the weekend with us (that is, when she was not seeing her friends). Unlike the other daughter, who condemned me to a trip to the garden centre, waiting (in vain) for her to arrive, when I should have been at Stamford Bridge, I knew that she would come.

So, while my wife and daughter went off to look for tiles, I watched the match on the box alone. To be fair, they did offer me the opportunity of joining them. They missed a great game, though when they returned, they seemed indifferent to my complaints about the referee. Not only should he have shown Hutton the red card but he also disallowed a perfectly good goal by Stearman.

In advance I would have taken the draw: indeed, on 14 minutes I wrote words to that effect in my notebook. Then, Doyle scored and we took hold of the game. If Spurs scored – twice- against the run of the play, they always looked dangerous on the break. Even so, both goals were preventable: the first occurred because of sloppy marking and the second one resulted from a lucky rebound. Nice finishing by Defoe, though.

Alright, so Hutton`s foul enabled us to go in to the break on level terms but, had he been sent off, as the law demands, we would have romped away with the second half. Instead, the teams came out and Pavlyuchenko immediately put Spurs in front. Dithering and sloppy passing contributed to it, as I foretold in my notes immediately beforehand..

Fortunately, MM and the players are right when they talk about the spirit in the team. Heads did not drop and an equaliser was always possible. Stearman definitely scored but at least Fletcher had another chance to square the match. Of course, in between Spurs had their chances and if anyone says that they were lucky to gain a point, at times we were extremely lucky not to ship another goal or two. Perhaps a draw was a fair result, but, if only …

Doyle was outstanding … yet again. There cannot be a better player in the PL, operating up front in a 4-5-1 formation. And it was great to see him collect a brace of goals. Jarvis and Hammill both had good games too and, as their crossing improves, we will score more goals. Behind them, we lacked the urgency that O`Hara brings to the side. Milijas played alright and his well-flighted kick enabled Doyle to score the first goal. He also won us the penalty and almost scored in the second half. Yet, he was not his normal deadly self with the dead-ball and his shooting (and heading) in open play was also a little awry.

The back four continue to improve and were reasonably solid throughout the match. Stearman, in particular, is emerging as a real talent: perhaps, it`s the sight of Craddock on the bench that is keeping him focused. Even so, two of the Spurs goals resulted from lapses of concentration.

In general, the team is playing good football, though, as today, individual players still make too many mistakes. My notes are littered with references to sloppy or ill-judged passes and dithering on the ball. While such slip-ups are bound to happen, we are making too many of them. As indicated above, it contributed to the second goal. The ball should have been cleared. As ever, we also continue to back off from advancing players. We must cut out loose play: we have little margin for error

I am sorry that I was unable to travel to Molineux, and feel guilty that my absence might have tipped the balance against the team. Even so, although we are still in the bottom three, today`s game gives me more hope that we will survive. We played well against a very good team and even outmatched them for stretches of the game. We now look like we will score goals, especially as Jarvis has learnt how to cross the ball. His assists in the goals came amid a stream of perfectly weighted crosses.

If there`s one consolation, I don`t have to wear my Doritos shirt to the Everton match!