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Lads denied by late strike

Posted on 6 March 2011  - 12:00

Victory looked on the cards before a goal three minutes from time snatched a point for Wolves in a topsy-turvy game that finished 3-3 at at Molineux.

Lads denied by late strike

Victory looked on the cards before a goal three minutes from time snatched a point for Wolves in a topsy-turvy game that finished 3-3 at at Molineux.

Two cracking goals from Jermain Defoe and a thumper from Roman Pavlyuchenko saw us hold the advantage, but we paid a price for some less clinical attacking in the late stages when three points could and possibly should have been sealed.

Before the kick-off there was a moving tribute to Dean Richards, who sadly passed away last Saturday, with his wife Samantha and two boys joining the teams on the pitch before his short life was celebrated with a minute's applause.

Ledley King and representatives from Deano's other clubs carried shirts bearing his name and squad number and these will be auctioned with the proceeds going to the hospice that cared for him.

The game then got underway with Harry Redknapp making three changes to the team that lost at Blackpool - Alan Hutton, Jermaine Jenas and Sandro in for Seb Bassong, Aaron Lennon and Wilson Palacios.

The first action of note was a centre from Luka Modric, operating from the left, in the direction of Pavlyuchenko, with the Russian unable to get much snap into his shot and Wayne Hennessey was able to save with ease.

There was a threat at the other end when a deep cross from Adam Hammill landed on the head of an unmarked Kevin Doyle. He could not direct his header, but Wolves were gathering a little momentum with William Gallas doing well to marshall the intentions of Nenad Milijas into the arms of Heurelho Gomes - the goalkeeper also doing well to re-direct crosses with precise punching.

Ryan Jarvis shot just wide but Wolves did take the lead on 20 minutes when a dipping cross from Milijas was guided into the back of the net by the head of Doyle.

Steven Pienaar attempted an instant response at the other end, but his shot was tame and wide. Pienaar again and then Modric attempted to work Hennessey without success - a lung-challenging run from Jenas likewise.

As the clock ticked towards 30 minutes, Defoe took over from Pavlyuchenko on the edge of the area and, using a defender as a shield to work around, bent a whipped, curling drive into the top corner beyond the despairing dive of Hennessey.

The lead was doubled in almost carbon-copy style after the team broke away in a slick fashion with smart interchange between Dawson, Pavlyuchenko and Modric. Defoe took over at the top end and, after a first attempt met a roadblock, switched back to Modric and a kind rebound fell for the little striker to dispatch another into the top corner on 35 minutes.

Wolves responded swiftly and when Milijas latched onto a deflected drive from Doyle and stole in behind Alan Hutton, Gomes saved but referee Mr Halsey adjudged that Hutton had impeded Hutton.

Halsey waved yellow at the full-back as the home crowd demanded red, but good fortune was to end there as Doyle calmly slotted home his spot-kick for 2-2 four minutes before half-time.

On 48 minutes the lead was regained in a thumping fashion. A Jenas run opened the gate, he laid off in front of Pavlyuchenko and the Russian thrashed the ball into the back of the net with Hennessey grasping thin air.

A combination of of Jarvis ad Stephen Ward led to the latter flicking a header just wide from the cross of the former moments later.

A central figure in this game was Sandro, occupying a deep-ish position in the middle, he made himself the heartbeat of the team. Clicking movements into gear, snapping into tackles, cultured in possession. The Brazilian looks like he is feeling at home in English football.

Jenas was an ideal foil for the efforts of Sandro, really operating box to box.

With 64 minutes on the clock Gomes stooped low to pull off a fantastic save to deny Milijas. Then it was Bale time, with the restored to fitness Wales international taking the place of Pienaar.

He was straight off on a run down the right, then again moments later, nearly carving out a chance for Modric.

Aaron Lennon took over from Pavlyuchenko in the 74th minute, with Modric moving infield to provide an extra layer in midfield.

That layer did not prevent Milijas being presented with an opportunity right in front of goal that was thankfully spurned. Bale then embarked on a mazy run that only the leg of Hennessey prevented from resulting in a goal.

Wolves thought they had levelled when Richard Stearman had the ball in the back of the net, but Mr Halsey deemed that Gomes had been fouled as the ball came into the area and he went to collect.

Defoe struck the post after Sandro cut back when he probably should have sealed victory - it was just that sort of game. Modric was then given a short rest and replaced by Niko Kranjcar for the final six minutes.

Three minutes later a dash from Jarvis down the left led to a Wolves leveller, his centre being nodded back and into the net by substitute Steven Fletcher.

Wolves (4-5-1): Hennessey; Foley, Stearman, Berra, Elokjobi; Hammill (Fletcher, 74), Henry, Ward (Ebanks-Blake, 60), Milijas, Jarvis; Doyle. Unused subs: Hahnemann, Craddock, Mouyokolo, Griffiths, Doherty.

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Hutton, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Pienaar (Bale, 69), Jenas, Sandro, Modric (Kranjcar, 85); Defoe, Pavlyuchenko (Lennon, 74). Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Palacios, Crouch.

Goals: Wolves - Spurs - Defoe (30, 35), Pavlyuchenko (48). Wolves - Doyle (20, 41 pen), Fletcher (87).

Attendance: 28,669.

Referee: Mr M Halsey.