Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2
"Last season, we'd have lost this," said one relieved caller to one of the post-match radio phone-ins. And, for once, never a truer word was spoken.
Never mind a year, you only have to go back seven months - and Sheffield Wednesday's last visit to Molineux - to make the comparison.
It was late-March, Glenn Hoddle's draw kings hadn't lost for two months, Wolves found themselves 2-1 down midway through the second half, the crowd became frustrated - and the visitors ran out 3-1 winners.
It was the catalyst to Wolves' nosedive towards anonymity - the run of two points out of a possible 15 that did for their play-off hopes and signalled the exit for so many players and, eventually, Hoddle.
Fast forward to Saturday and what a contrast. Once again, midway through the second half, Wolves were again 2-1 down and struggling. But this is now a different Molineux as can be construed from the fact that Wolves were playing in front of a 20,000-plus home crowd for only the second time this season.
There is a renewed belief. The Wolves fans know that, on what their new manager had to work with this summer, promotion is a long shot. But there they still are and, if they can keep coming up with battling draws like this, maybe not too bad a bet for the play-offs.
This was a game Wolves should have lost. In the end, had two-goal Leon Clarke scored a few more of the chances that came his way, they could even have won it. But as the ever honest McCarthy admitted, this was a point gained.
"It wasn't our best performance but I'll take it as we could have come away with nothing," he said.
Coming on top of the previous week's painful defeat in the Black Country derby, that would not have been good for morale. But, in the end, Wolves survived the ordeal of having to cope with a young, vibrant Wednesday side trying to prove, just like West Bromwich Albion over the last month, that the sacking of the manager was really not necessary.
Not only Bryan Robson, but also Gary Megson are in the running for the vacancy created by Paul Sturrock's shock departure from Hillsborough last week. While Megson waits to hear how his interview went and Robson's former Albion No 2 Nigel Pearson has instead returned to the Premiership as Newcastle United's assistant manager, Nigel Worthington and Scunthorpe United boss Brian Laws are the other two main names in the frame. On this evidence, whoever takes over has plenty to work with.
Admittedly, Wolves took the lead, but only thanks to a goal of dubious authenticity. Carl Cort - summoned from the bench when Jay Bothroyd suffered a shoulder injury - drilled a neat pass out to the left wing and galloped into the box to await Jamie Clapham's excellent return cross. But he was upstaged by Clarke, who bullocked his way ahead of Cort and through Wednesday defender Tommy Spurr to power home a near-post header. A fine goal in every respect, apart from the fact that it was a blatant foul.
There was also a question mark over the Owls' equaliser. Wade Small cashed in on a loose pass from Clapham before carving a large hole in the Wolves defence but, just when he appeared to have lost it, he won it back with a two-footed challenge that might have been punished by some referees; the ball sat up nicely and he walloped in a decent volley.
Small, who had never scored for the Owls before, was also involved in Wednesday's second and it could easily have been his. Matt Murray reacted superbly to save his shot and, when Rob Edwards could not get the loose ball away, Chris Brunt blasted home.
But the usually wasteful Clarke had the final word, volleying home a shot so well struck that it merely brushed the hands of goalkeeper Brad Jones on its way in . . . and that was the cure for a few happy callers to get dialling.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Murray; Edwards, Breen, Craddock (Little 66), Clapham; Potter (Gobern 57), Henry, Olofinjana, Ricketts; Bothroyd (Cort 11), Clarke. Subs: Ikeme (gk), C Davies
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (4-4-2): Jones; Simek, Bougherra, Hills, Spurr; Small (Whelan 60), Lunt, Brunt, Foley; Tudgay (Talbot 81), Burton (MacLean 81). Subs: Adamson (gk), Bullen
Referee: Rob Lewis (Shrewsbury)
Scorers: Clarke (30) 1-0; Small (36) 1-1; Brunt (52) 1-2; Clarke (72) 2-2
Bookings: Wednesday - Hills (foul), Lunt (foul)