Salop went 2-1 up, the first cos Wolves didn’t attack a cross, the second cos their goalie mis-read a shot (I thought there was a deflection but perhaps not). Salop couldn’t hold out, but the second Wolves goal should have been ruled as a foul. Salop never got to grips with Wolves’ right winger. Still the boisterous Wolves fans were reduced to a tepid “C’mon Wanderers”. I think they reduced the price of the tickets; whatever, the ground was nearly full. Tied in with a pleasant visit to “Made in Thai” – a good night out.
Two excellent goals without having the possession, against a tier 1 football club, and 20 minutes to hold out. But it couldn’t be done as Salop couldn’t stop Wolves crossing from the right wing and there were too many to not make mistakes against.
The second Salop goal came after the manager sent the corner taker a note. The resultant cross led to a stooped power header in the six yard box converted in a style akin to Manchester City in January 1979. Slightly bizarre to see the glory of it all diminished by protests of the ref awarding 6 minutes added time; but the ref had been wise to extended time wasting by Salop, especially our goalkeeper who otherwise had an excellent game. Indeed, they kinda all did – the FA Cup and the motivation of playing tier 1 players bringing out something special. Just kinda want it in the league.
A powered placed shot to the far corner of the goal; a run at the full-back leading to a penalty and a nutmeg pass on the other wing that led to a forward able to score from 6 yards. Three magical moments leading to 3 goals and the best comeback I have witnessed away from home by Salop since Huddersfield 1984. Stoke were still 2-0 up as the final quarter started, and whilst they hadn’t been brilliant – winning a competition to kick the ball straight out the most often in the first half – Salop had contrived to make soft mistakes at the back – conceding 3 goals, save for the own-goal when Stoke were ruled offside. A switch from 4 at the back and a diamond in midfield apparently explains why Salop did better in the second half; that and a dressing room instruction to rob the ball off Stoke players more. Had we won the play-off at Wembley, we could have been in the same tier as Stoke and I was envious of their forthcoming fixtures, with so many Midlands clubs being in the second tier this season. But otherwise I thought I’d wasted my evening until that powered placed shot. Instead one of the best away trips ever. Wolverhampton – we’re coming for you.
FA Cup 3rd Round and third tier Salop did OK against second tier Stoke City in the first half having most of the pressure, and playing the ball around their penalty area; but Stoke had the best chances and Salop needed a penalty to take the lead. Second half was the reverse – Stoke with the pressure and Salop with the best efforts. Too much in the end and Stoke got a deserved equalise. Problem was for my first trip to the safe standing barriers that the play was at the other end for most of the game. It’s a shame that safe standing isn’t yet allowed to release the seats.
Salop coulda won. Ditto Walsall.
But it’s usually a tricky adventure for us, so pleased with the draw and the entertainment. Pleased to have gone at all, cos the last 2 years, the fixture clashed with the community events at Notts County F.C.
A couple of points on the kits.
Why couldn’t we wear our blue & amber colours? Instead, ours was dark grey with a primrose high diagonal. Which despite my photo, made it difficult to pick out the Salop players against the background of the crowd at a range of 130 yards. No history, no relevance and poor practicability.
Meanwhile, Walsall are sponsored by HomeServe, who I’ve just remembered have a call centre in Nottingham, which I opened. No, no-one else remembered that either.
… but it’s not clear how much of the achievement is sustainable.
From relegation favourites to top 3 club for a whole season and a play-off final.
To have anything critical to say seems ungrateful.
My football credibility on such matters draws from my season in the eighties with Real Madrid – sorry, Rail Madrid, the works football team – but his success appears to have been based on high player motivation, the high press, and good player selection, most especially in defence.
The results were excellent, but perhaps lacking in scoring goals and perhaps glory – Charlton Athletic away excepted; and if the Wembley matches were anything to go by, an inability to change tactics when it was going wrong.
No doubt that we lost out to the three clubs who were relegated last year, with their higher budgets adds further perspective to the achievement.
Complaints about Ipswich Town recruiting him have to be mindful of Grimsby Town’s feelings when we did something similar to them.
As for the future, finding the next Paul Hurst is the challenge that underlines his achievement.