Wolves 1-2 Bournemouth
After four losses on the bounce, Wolves needed a performance to get the fans back onside. For the first hour of the match, Wolves looked nothing like the team that were hit for four against Brentford last weekend.
The urgency and desire was rekindled in the first half it seemed as Wolves hassled Bournemouth and stopped them from dictating the play.
Wolves seemed to substitute the possession-based play for a more direct, counter acting style which suited the team much more. With Van La Parra (more on him later) given a more expansive role, he was able to use his speed to exploit the Cherries backline. His pace gave Graham some to flick the ball onto, even if he has left his shooting boots in Holland.
McDonald looked much better after a run of poor form, moving the ball quickly and not allowing Bournemouth to get men behind the ball. The Scot seemed more comfortable with Dave Edwards alongside him, who used his boundless energy to break up the opposition midfield.
Following good saves from Artur Boruc from Henry and Graham, the Sunderland loanee opened his account for Wolves. James Henry crossed in a delightful in swinging cross from the left wing and Graham got ahead of his marker to score a deft header after Boruc to put Wolves 1-0 up.
Dominic Iofa made his Wolves debut and grew in confidence throughout the first half. A little shaky at first, it was clear why Jackett regarded him so highly. The tall defender still has a lot to learn and improve upon, but I’m sure he’s very pround to have been named match of the match. It was also good to see some of the senior players be supportive to Iofa and offering him encouragement as the walked off the pitch at half time.
Bournemouth had chances too in the first half and Carl Ikeme had to make good saves from Richie to keep Wolves lead at bay. It was an open and entertaining first half with both teams committed to attacking football.
The turning point in the match happened on the stroke of the hour mark. Van La Parra clashed with centre half Steve Cook and referee Mike Jones deemed the Dutchman to have lead with the elbow and sent the winger off.
Wolves were aggrieved with the decision as they felt it was an accidental clash of heads rather than a deliberate elbow. The referee did little to make him a friend down Molineux as he gave more decision in favour of the away side.
Van La Parra’s sending off https://vine.co/v/OrW0zWIzBI6
Down to ten men, Bournemouth exploited the extra man and starting to create more of a foot hold in the game. Arter managed to squeeze a shot through a crowed penalty box of players to equalise for the Cherries on 73 minutes.
After a string of saves from Ikeme and last ditch heroics from the Wolves backline, Matt Richie fired home with 5 minutes of normal time remaining. The despair in the Wolves players was clear to see, who felt that there was a foul on Batth in the build up.
Emotions were running high in the Wolves camp, who wanted a result to match the performance. It was clear when Doherty was sent off in extra time for a late challenge, causing both teams to square up to each other and members of the bench getting involved.
Steve Morgan was so affronted by Jones’s refereeing display he charged down to the pitch at fulltime to remonstrate with him. Mike Jones ended up needing a police escort as he left as many felt he heavily contributed to the defeat.
Despite defeat, it was a much better display and there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel as we seek to end the poor run on of form. However, on paper it is still five losses on the bounce. After playing the top four in those five games, wolves will be hoping for a few easier fixtures in the run up to the New Year.