A game of two halves, with superb goals on both ends, left Wolverhampton Wolves fans celebrating as if they had won the League Title, despite going down to a an opening 45 minute exhibition from a ruthless and clinical Blackburn Outfit (yes, clinical, wow!)
Manager Steve Kean sent out the same 11 who graced the pitch against Manchester United, with key men Samba and Jermaine Jones fit and firing
Michel Salgado, Chris Samba, Phil Jones, Gael Givet
Brett Emerton, Jermaine Jones, Steve Nzonzi, Martin Olsson
Junior Hoillet, Jason Roberts
With both teams starting off the afternoons fixtures above the drop zone, you could of forgiven Mick McCarthy and Steve Kean for agreeing to fight out a peaceful draw. However, this was not on the agenda, as both teams signalled early intentions to snatch all 3 points, leaving the other team praying on other results.
It was the home team to test the keeper first, the dangerous Hunt forcing Robinson to snatch out, a low diving save to his left, preventing Wolves taking an early lead. It was more of the same on the other end, as Hoillet turned his marker inside out, darting down the goal line, and his cross/shot well caught by Hennesey. The early opportunities continued to appear for both teams, a drive from Ward was heroically blocked by Samba, whilst Jermaine Jones sent his free kick from 25 yards into row Z
Rovers did not have to wait much longer. A neat run by Hoillet saw the ball lofted into the box. The rebound sprayed out to Salgado, whose powerful drive was redirected by Jason Roberts, poking in from 8 yards and giving Blackburn the early lead.
Rovers 1-0 22 minutes
A little push and shove occured between Wolves skipper Henry and Rovers anchorman Jermaine Jones, with Henry lucky to walk away with a warning from referee Howard Webb. Credit to Webb, who had maintained a free flowing encounter so far.
With Rovers known for conceding after taking a lead, the men in the blue and white halves new one goal would not be enough. A Robinson free kick was bombed into the 6 yard box, with Craddock heading clear for Wolves. Brett Emerton, on a rich vein of form, thought the ball belonged in the net, and made so, volleying home from 25 yards, sending Steve Kean and his troopers into raptures, as 4 of the Venky’s brigade stood watching from the stands in their Versace suits and sunglasses, resembling something out of a 1940s mafia movie.
Blackburn 2-0, 38th minute.
What was a delightful start became ecstasy for the travelling Rovers faithful, who were treated to discount tickets, a pie and beer from the Indian owners. Individual brilliance from Junior Hoillet saw him dance around the penalty box, Samir Nasri/Lionel Messi style, before drilling home from 10 yards, giving Blackburn a 3-0 lead away from home, and surely ensuring their safety.
As news started to filter in from around the grounds, Wolves new what to do. Score 2 goals, get the goal difference in line, and safety beckons. And they set out from the outset, with Ebanks-Blake making an appearance and causing some trouble in the Rovers box. Wolves started to pepper the Rovers goal mouth. Hunt headed wide early on, whilst Ebanks-Blake sent one a bit further then Jones earlier attempt.
Blackburn should of sealed the game 10 minutes into the second half. A neat Brett Emerton cross found Jason Roberts, 10 yards out, in acres of space after a delightful first touch. However, his finishing was trademark Jason Roberts, neatly saved by Hennesey, with JR unable to double his tally for the night.
It took Wolves 73 minutes to trouble the scorers and Robinson’s net. A training ground set-piece found Hunt free just inside the box, blasting home from 18 yards and giving the home side hope.
3-1 Blackburn 73 minutes
The crowd new what was needed, and chants of we only need one goal started to erupt. Whilst the Blackburn faithful were more then happy reminding Wolves that Rovers indeed were staying up.
Wolves did get their second, with Hunt free inside the box yet again, a delightful finesse finish into the top left corner of the net, with Wolves owner and fans alike breathing a sigh of relief.
3-2 Blackburn 87 minutes.
And as news started to filter in that Birmingham were down at Tottenham, as were Blackpool at Manchester, both teams camped in their half, playing out a 3-2 away victory for Blackburn, which would ensure another season of English Premier League football for both sets of fans
Paul Robinson 6
Fine early save from Robinson, though was found out of position on both of Wolves goals, fortunately it didnt affect the result
Michel Salgado 9
As Above, superb
Chris Samba 8
Another captains knock. Threw his body at the feet of the Wolves front men, ensuring we stay up. Where does his future lie? We shall soon find out
Phil Jones 7
Did what he had to do, nice and solid
Gael Givet 6
Was shown up by Hunt a few times
Brett Emerton 8
Bang. In she went. A delightful strike from Emerton, he has scored 4 goals this season, and each one earning Rovers the points (Remember the 93rd minute winner against Blackpool, what a difference those points made)
Jermaine Jones 8
Sign him up. 3,4 mill, whatver Schalke wants. He wants to stay, and imagine a full pre-season under his belt
Steve Nzonzi 7
They say the less you see of your defensive midfielders, the good the job they are doing. Whether that was the case tonight or not, who knows, but did what he had to do
Martin Olsson 7
Solid but not spectacular
Junior Hoillet 8
A star. A new contract, this week, please. What delightful movement, powerful strike, who said he cant play up front?
Jason Roberts 8
Worked his socks of, and actually got a neat touch for the first goal. Did all the right things, though the second really should of been buried
M B Diouf
Nothing fancy, last appearance in a Rovers shirt, thanks for the season
M G Pedersen
Little time to impact
Steve Keane- Got it so right. 45 minutes of absolutely delightful football. Give the man some credit, we finished 2 games off 8th spot, with a touch of luck, oh what could of been. But we stay up, and thats what matters
I hope you have enjoyed my reports this season. For the off-season, I shall do my end of year report covering the last 6 months, as well as a break down of our defence, midfield and forwards performance this season!
Also check your inboxes for a few Getting to Knows, if I have not done one with you, please email me!