Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Crystal Palace 1
Watched by almost 10,000 fans less than on Friday, it was the same sad story for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Once again, the failure of Mick McCarthy's men to hang onto a lead cost them two home more points. After a third successive 1-1 draw meaning that his side have now won just once in eight games, the Wolves boss admitted: "I'm raging."
Maybe the silver lining from this dark cloud is that results like the last two at Molineux might tempt Wolves' board into parting with some serious money in January. But there was no soothing McCarthy's furrowed brow last night. "That's two games we should have won," he said, "Four dropped points and it's not good enough."
McCarthy responded to Friday night's two dropped home points against Sunderland by making another switch up front.
Out went Jay Bothroyd, who had performed as if in a trance. In came Leon Clarke, forgiven for missing the glaring second-half chance which had cost McCarthy victory over old adversary Roy Keane. But Wolves still failed to find that attacking spark.
Their best two, in fact their only two, first-half chances both went to midfielders.
Young Daniel Jones made the first for himself with a superb thrusting diagonal run which left the Palace defence for dead. In the end, the Wordsley-born 20-year-old pulled his shot just past Iain Turner's left upright.
Seyi Olofinjana also went close, only for his header to be cleared off the line. But the only consolation was that Palace were almost as ineffective, forcing just one save from Matt Murray, the Wolves goalkeeper making that look easy in keeping out a long-range effort from Danny Granville.
The first half otherwise was notable only for some Molineux morons booing the returning Mark Kennedy — yes, the same Kennedy who was brilliant until the untimely hamstring injury in March 2002 became the root cause of Wolves blowing promotion, but who scored the opening goal at the Millennium Stadium to set them on their way to the Premiership 14 months later.
Sadly for Wolves' bank manager, the shortness of the home fans' memories extended to the size of the gate.
Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey had banked on some of those who had paid only #10 on Friday being so impressed that they might want to return. But, from the weekend high of 27,203 — Wolves highest gate in 11 months — last night's attendance was back down to 17,806.
That was well below the season's average of just over 20,000 and the fact that so few had chosen to return was a lesson that cost, not quality, is the major factor in why people attend football matches. Football is over-priced and clubs are taking a long time coming to terms with it.
The poor crowd - Wolves' second-lowest of the season - made for a muted atmosphere and, although they enjoyed seeing their team in front for 20 minutes, even that was a fluke.
Clarke was brought down by Tom Soares, young Lewis Gobern went on free-kick duty and his diagonal cross from some 30 yards out wide on the left sailed straight in without anyone getting a touch, his first goal for the club.
Debutant Michael McIndoe's appearance from the bench almost carved out an opening for Clarke. But it was inevitable, given the stick he got when he came off the bench, that Dougie Freedman might have the final say.
One sparkling turn inside Jamie Clapham and Gary Breen earned a great opening, from which he shot just over, claiming Murray had got a touch. But Wolves did not learn from that let-off.
A long free-kick from Turner and Wolves were undone by two men who have been thorns in their side before.
Shefki Kuqi — who Colin Lee so nearly signed for Wolves six years ago — got above home captain Jody Craddock to flick on a header and Freedman latched onto it in a flash to lash home a stunning left-foot volley.
It was his first goal in three-and-a-half months and it was also another painful lesson for the Wolves fans who had chosen to boo him. When will some football fans ever learn?
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Murray; Little, Craddock, Breen, Clapham; Gobern, Olofinjana, Henry, Jones (McIndoe, 70); Johnson (C Davies, 70), Clarke. Subs: Ikeme (gk), Collins, Potter.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Turner; Butterfield, Ward, Hudson, Granville; Morrison (Freedman, 73), Hughes (Fletcher, ht), Soares, Kennedy; Scowcroft (Kuqi, 74), McAnuff. Subs: Flinders (gk), Lawrence.
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).
Bookings: Palace — Hudson (foul).