Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Leicester City 2
Just when Wolverhampton Wanderers suggested they had finally relinquished their tendency to offer gift horses to the mouths of struggling rivals, along came Leicester City.
A run of two points from six games prior to checking in at Molineux had the Foxes scenting the whiff of a crisis under their Wolves ‘old boy’ managerial team of Rob Kelly and Mike Stowell.
But having denied Southend the chance to end their lengthy winless streak last weekend — ultimately that ‘honour’ fell to Southampton — Wolves provided messrs Kelly and Stowell with a welcome shot in the arm by producing what Mick McCarthy described as an "abject" performance in patches . In truthful, the other patches weren’t a great deal better.
The Foxes mustered just two shots on goal all afternoon, but that proved sufficient to win the game, and it is Wolves’ recent stats — their only two successes in the last ten outings coming against those basement boys Southend — that suddenly look the more concerning.
Staying with the stats, it has to be remembered this was Wolves’ first home reverse in eight attempts stretching back to Derby County in early September. But this was also comfortably their most impotent display too, and with only three shots on targets themselves there are growing signs McCarthy’s bright new Molineux dawn is in stark need of some fresh and goalscoring impetus.
Elvis Hammond’s clinical 38th-minute finish after muscling his way between Gary Breen and Jody Craddock was a rare moment of quality to light up a turgid first half which Wolves at least finished with a semblance of optimism as Lewis Gobern’s long-range drive struck the angle of post and crossbar.
And Gobern’s slightly fortuitous equaliser nine minutes from time, firing home in off the post as the presence of substitute Craig Davies unsighted Leicester keeper Paul Henderson, was perhaps just rewards for a more enthusiastic second half Wolves display albeit still devoid of any sustained craft.
Wolves failed to take advantage as heads went down among their beleaguered opposition, but amid the vagaries of their overall performance a point would at least have been something to cling on to.
Yet even that consolation prize was still to be squandered when, with injury time looming, up popped the self-destruct button as Breen allowed Hammond time to turn and feed Levi Porter to score via a deflection having skipped inside Mark Little.
Kelly must wish he could face his former employers every week — that’s two wins out of two for the former Molineux player and coach — but for his opposite number there was little but frustration.
"The first half was dreadful, a real abject performance where there was no tempo to our game," said McCarthy. "The second was better and we got back into it deservedly but all that was spoiled by conceding that late goal.
"If we’d come away with a 1-1, I think we’d have said ‘fair do’s, we’ve got a point’.
"We should never have lost the game, but mistakes were made and that’s cost us. Elvis Hammond was allowed to cut inside and pass it and their winger has come inside Mark Little, who to be fair has been absolutely brilliant for us recently."
WOLVES (4-4-2): Murray; Little, Breen, Craddock, Clapham; Gobern, Olofinjana, Henry, McIndoe; Bothroyd, Johnson (C Davies, 46). Subs: Oakes (gk), Edwards, Potter, Jones.
LEICESTER CITY (4-4-2): Henderson; Stearman, Kisnorbo, McAuley, Maybury; Hughes, Williams, Tiatto (Wesolowski 66, Low, 87), Porter; Hume, Hammond. Subs: Logan (gk), Johansson, Fryatt.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
Bookings: Wolves — Henry (foul); Leicester — Tiatto (persistent fouling), Hammond (dissent).
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