Wolves 1 (Boubacar Traore 85)
Leeds Utd 0
9th November 2022, Carabao Cup 3rd Round.
That was disappointing! Disappointing that, for the umpteenth time in recent years we fielded an almost complete second string side in a cup competition when, looking at the results the previous night, you would have thought we had a chance to progress further for a change had we just included a couple more from the usual first XI and got past Wolves. It was not to be.
The game has no bearing at all on what we may or may not achieve down in London this weekend since Jesse March clearly decided either that he wanted all his regular starters fresh for the challenge at Tottenham, or he wanted to give all his fringe players some game time. Hence only Jack Harrison kept his place from the starting XI that squeaked past Bournemouth on Saturday. While the Wolves side was only six different from the side that played Brighton; there was no doubt that the Wolves were both more experienced and more senior to our own pack.
So how did we do? Well, for ten minutes at the start I was impressed and even thought we might win it as we surged forward and tested Sarkic in the home goal with a couple of decent efforts and a string of corners. But, once Wolves weathered that early storm, we sort of faded away. It was a performance from Leeds that reminded me of that drab Papa John’s Trophy game last week at Crewe – with several players on show there also starting at Molineux of course – Matty Klich, Mat Joseph, Firpo, Hjelde, Sonny Perkins, Darko Gyabi, Joe Gelhardt and even Willy Gnonto for a few minutes. So, similar players and a similar performance. One BBC report described us as “anaemic” and I know what they meant. We tried hard enough and played some decent football at times but it was all mostly impotent. Jack Harrison, as always, saw plenty of the ball but, give or take an early deflected shot that Sarkic saved and a later shot that he curled wide, I have to say he was once again lacking in any real final product despite all his possession. I wonder if it’s time now to leave him out and try Summerville and Willy Gnonto on Saturday?
Of the rest, I thought Leo Hjelde did well but too many were just average, no one was really shouting from the rooftops for a place in the first team, even the wonder kids – Sonny Perkins, Joffy and Joseph (Fernandez) - were less impressive than I was hoping they would be and maybe some of us have oversold them for their stellar U21 performances. Time will tell. I should mention that Wolves were not really any better, despite their more senior XI at the start and it was only that fine late strike from Boubacar Traore that separated the sides; it wasn’t a great game.
Anyway, out of the cup we go once more with a whimper not a bang but, as I say, we didn’t learn anything tonight that will affect the big game on Saturday in London. A big performance down there will be needed if we are to keep our momentum going and we will not be able to complain that we have played too much football this week!
Wolves Leeds U
Possession 69% 31%
Shots 22 14
On Target 10 6
Corners 14 5
Fouls 9 3