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98/99: Reports:

Nationwide League Division 1, 16/1/99
Wolves 0(0)
Watford 0(0)
Team: Chamberlain 3, Bazeley 4, Kennedy 3, Page 4, *Palmer 4*, Iroha 4, Smart 3, Hyde 3, Noel-Williams 4, Easton 3, Wright 3
Subs: Mooney (for Smart) 3, Daley (for Wright) 3, Bonnot
Blow by blow
Report by John Southern

Good start, friction between Curle and Smart. Typical Curle. Smart involved in a bit of off the ball that the crowd spotted but luckily not the ref.

After five minutes, a couple of unforced errors led to some Wolves pressure that fizzled out with poor finishing.

Around the ten minute mark, the ball was worked down on the right and dropped to GNW. He knocked it left to an unmarked advancing Kennedy who went 50/50 with the keeper. PK had a stab at a dive and the ref gave a goal kick.

Fifteen minutes in and the game was still punctuated with unforced errors from both sides. We were marginally on top with some good touches from both Smart and GNW.

Our away support is clearly audible on the telly and as Iroha chases back and wins a 50/50 ball to the dismay of the toss...sorry, partisan crowd the cries of I-RO-A, I-RO-A!! echo round the ground.

Twenty minutes in and although Wolves are coming into the game more down the right, they have not had a clearcut chance.

Twenty-five minutes in and the home fans are almost silent, we are containing them very well. Their frustrations are being vented on the officials who are now being cheered for every decision in favour of Wolves.

Thirty minutes in and Stowell the Wolves keeper makes a hash of a free kick from inside his own box. We have a number of attempts at goal and possibly should have made better of it.

The battle between Curle and Smart continues with Page and Palmer having the best of the home debutant Flo.

Throughout the first half an hour we are looking much more relaxed and confident on the ball than the edgy Wolves. The crowd are already starting to get nervous.

On thirty-five minutes, Page and Keane go for a 50/50 ball and Page wins the ball fairly. Keane attempts to hoodwink the ref but he is having nothing of it and tells him to get up.

Palmer gives away a free kick thirty-five yards out some moments later but Osborne shoots high and wide.

On forty minutes, the ball breaks clean to Hyde on the left who whips a cross in low and hard but unfortunately, yet again, no-one is able to get at the ball.

Minutes later the ball is pushed forward by Wolves and finds Keane on the left on the edge of the box. He shows some real class and rounds two Watford defenders before delivering a class ball to Robinson who hooks the ball over the bar from the edge of the six yard box.

End to end stuff, the ball is knocked wide right to Smart who is one-on-one with Stowell. He makes a hash of it. Poor finishing.

Back at the other end, Keane once again shows his class as minutes before the HT whistle he runs from deep central midfield to blast a great thirty yard shot wide of Chamberlain but fortunately wide of the post.

The crowd are regaining their voice and the game has stepped up a pace.

With one minute of injury time played the end of the half is blown for.

Spoils are equal, with both sides showing some good touches but poor finishing letting them down. All is in place for a cracking second half.

Kick off in a bit of a snow storm. Nothing to you guys in the US who laugh at these pathetic little showers but for us it's a blizzard!

Wolves get a corner straight after KO but put it into the hands of the steady Chamberlain.

We counter and put in a move from the right which ends with Stowell dropping a high slow cross. Snow coming down a bit thicker now.

Keane is coming deeper for the ball as he did in the first half and five minutes into the half he breaks and puts Flo free who is shadowed by Bazeley and is forced into putting the ball wide of the goal.

Eight minutes in, Easton and Palmer foul a Wolves player on the left hand edge of our box. The resulting free kick is pushed wide to Gomez who puts a weak shot wide.

Keane is growing in stature, bossing the midfield and beginning to look like a real threat, being involved in most of what is good about Wolves. We are taking longer to settle.

We are looking sloppy, with throw-ins going anywhere.

Ten minutes in a corner from Gilkes is put behind twice by GNW. On the third attempt Easton cleared but laid a sloppy ball to Smart. Once again unforced errors are the staple of both sides.

Wolves are marginally the better of two indifferent sides.

We get a corner around the fifteen minute mark but once again make a balls of it. On the resulting Wolves break, Keane lays a dream ball to Flo who cannot make the best of it. The move ends in a reasonable Gilkes effort going wide.

The crowd are getting on the home side's back again and not surprisingly we start to look dangerous. After a period of pressure, Wolves break and once more Keane lays on a good ball for Flo for him to not make the best of it.

Smart has a bit of a set to with another Wolves player during a twenty yard run and gets a yellow for his troubles. Deserved in my opinion, he is getting a little niggly.

Twenty minutes in, GNW gave a class backheel to Wright who ran forward and laid a super cross which was knocked back and Easton finished poorly.

Gifton is our best forward, he is looking strong and confident. Let's hope Harry Redknapp is not looking too hard!

A few minute later from a short corner, Keane (again) knocked a luvverly ball into the six yard box which was cleared after some dangerous head-tennis.

On the half hour the game has settled into a pattern of errors, with Wolves looking the more dangerous by a very small margin. Some namby pamby "let's play the ball out of defence in a pretty way" by Hyde lets Wolves in again only for them to squander their chance.

A couple of minutes after the half hour sees Baze put in some good runs down the right. One reaches the boot of Smart who volleys over the bar. Minutes later Wright delivers a lovely shot which curls seductively just outside the upright.

The game swings Wolves' way once more and Flo once again fails to make capital from some good supply work.

Thirty-five in and we are getting second wind. Gift and Smart looking dangerous but failing to create any real chances. Muscat was booked for a rash challenge on Gordon Strachan (sorry, Nick Wright).

From a free kick to Wolves, Osborne knocks a class ball into our box. Alec fluffs it and it drops to a Wolves player who fluffs it. This should have been a goal.

We sub Smart and bring on Mooney in the thirty-nineth minute. Boos from the Hornet faithful, Smartie has not had a bad game.

Minutes later Tommy gets the ball wide left and gets into a scuffle with the evil Curle. Curle, whilst the ref looks away, grips Mooney by the neck. How many times do you see this evil t**t do that! Ohh, I could crush a grape!!

Five minutes to go and Keane gets a ball in the box to go down in spectacular fashion. The ref ignores it and the game goes on.

Daley warms up and the crowd go apeshit!! He comes on for Wright and the boos get louder! Please score Tone, pretty please with sugar on!!

Oooooh, a great run from Daley but the final ball is a bit wanting. Great sub from GT, his pace is causing the Wolves problems.

Injury time corner from Keane finds Muscat who drives a corker from thirty-five yards to be palmed wide by Alec. Another corner and Alec jumps and drops...ball is cleared.

Final whistle blows, 0-0 is a fair result.

It was a bit of a dour struggle but the finishing from both sides was not the best. We stuck to our guns and managed to smother Wolves in defence, only the slippery and skilful Keane looking as if he could cause us problems.

GNW and Smart looked strong but the defence were our heroes today methinks. Flat back four that looked both calm and composed. Mmmmm, nice!

See also: Wolves Unofficial