Blackburn Rovers obtained their first clean sheet of the season away to Wolves at the Molineux in what was a very cautious basement battle between two clubs tipped for possible relegation.
Wolves were abysmal throughout the game, and their 51% possession counted for nothing as Junior Hoilett danced around the lethargic Wanderers defence with ease.
With the two teams fighting relegation, many expected an end-to-end contest, with flying tackles and goals galore, especially after Wolves’ recent form and Blackburn’s inability to keep a clean sheet, but this game turned out to be one of caution displayed by two sides who didn’t want to lose in the first half. Wolves failed to have a shot on goal during the first 45 minutes, and were made to pay in the 43rd minute as their back-line failed to clear a Morten Gamst Pedersen long-throw, leaving it to bounce to Hoilett, who finished in some style with a volley.
Wolves had some 57% possession in the first half, and their creativity was decent, but the finishing from Doyle and Fletcher was non-existent, and, in fairness to the Blackburn defenders, they coped with the almost-amateurish attacking from Wolves accordingly.
The second half started brightly for both sides, as both had chances to equalise and further their lead respectively. Fletcher’s volley from a Jarvis cross was scuffed, and easily gathered by Robinson in the Blackburn goal, while at the other end, Mauro Formica’s volley went wide from a Pedersen cross.
Hoilett was today lined up as a striking partner for Yakubu, and the pair looked to be dangerous on every attack. Hoilett’s acceleration and creativity was causing Wolves massive problems, as they couldn’t cope, however Yakubu, while making himself a nuisance to the Wolves defenders, struggled to connect to one or two very good chances. The Blackburn fans were elated to see the two combining, after endless comments on how they should be starting every game as a strike partnership.
Wanderers midfield didn’t seem to have the confidence at all, constantly giving the ball away to the Rovers midfield of Nzonzi and Pedersen, allowing Blackburn to continue to break away on the counter.
The fatal blow for Wolves came in the 69th minute, as Yakubu picked the ball up on the left wing, and pushed forward, cutting inside and passing to Hoilett outside of the area. Hoilett took a touch and smashed it along the floor with his left foot, nestling the ball in the bottom corner of the Wolves goal. The menace had struck again.
A rattled Wolves continued to look shaky. A corner minutes after the goal is almost turned into Kevin Doyle’s own goal, while the semi-clearance is spectacularly volleyed into Hennessey’s grateful hands by Formica.
Wolves finally had their moment on goal, as O’Hara smashes the ball from outside the area through the Rovers defense, stinging the fingers of Paul Robinson, who parries it away. The resulting cross was a good one, but it’s headed wide. This instigated a fightback from Wolves, but seemed to be coming too late for the fans, who began to leave.
Wolves replaced Doyle with Ebanks-Blake in the 82nd minute, as a final throw of the dice, and Blackburn sat back and defended well. Matt Jarvis was coming more and more into the game, and the front two for Wolves couldn’t have asked for any better delivery from him, cutting inside from the left and crossing, only for Milijas, a 75th minute sub for David Davis, to header just over in what was Wolves’ best chance.
Moments later, Jarvis again was provider, crossing for Fletcher, who controlled the ball and hit it from the edge of the area. It took a deflection on the way through, forcing Robinson to readjust and get down low to smother the ball.
This six-pointer was convincingly won by Blackburn against a lackluster Wolverhampton Wanderers, leaving them two points above Bolton, who beat QPR earlier in the day, and three points outside of the relegation zone.
Wolves slide further into trouble, 19th on 22pts, and a goal difference only one better than Wigan’s -29.