FINALLY, SMILES AT MOLINEUX
ABANNER draped over a Molineux balcony read ‘This is our love and it knows no division’ – and the Wolves fans who proved it with their feet were rewarded by a thumping win over Gillingham.
After two successive relegations and a winless first two away games – including a Capital One Cup exit to minnows Morecambe – a big crowd of 19,102 still turned up to witness Kenny Jackett’s first win as Wolves boss.
The club had clearly not expected such a response after poor season ticket sales – a deluge of fans turning up on the day meant kick-off had to be delayed by a quarter-of-an-hour.
And outclassed Gillingham might as well have stayed in the dressing room longer as Wolves had the points wrapped up with three goals inside the first 35 minutes.
Beaming boss Jackett said: “It was a comprehensive performance from start to finish – we passed the ball very well and I felt that was the key to it but I’m pleased defensively too.
"There's encouragement there for the players that they can be a successful team and that's the biggest message internally. They should be encouraged by the standards they set.
“The supporters have wanted to see a new team, see some attacking play and some quality and, when needed, see the players roll their sleeves up, battle and scrap.
“There's a good link between the players and supporters now. The players have to both respect and encourage the supporters because they are going to need them, both home and away.”
Wolves were in front inside five minutes as Leigh Griffiths was allowed space to chest down a cross and volley home his first competitive Wanderers goal from 15 yards.
Two years ago these sides were three divisions apart and the gulf was clear for all see as Lee Evans capitalised on comical Gills defending to poke home the second and the unmarked Bakary Sako slotted home Zeli Ismail’s cross for the third.
Only fine Stuart Nelson saves to foil a pair of Griffiths drives and a Sam Ricketts rocket prevented a rout as Gillingham simply could not cope with Wolves’ pace and movement.
That was typified by the fourth goal 20 minutes from time as Leon Legge was miles late with a tackle that felled Evans in the box and Griffiths slotted home from the spot.
It left the Gills without a point after two games and boss Martin Allen moaned: “I thought it was very disappointing. I don’t think we played anywhere near where we can.
“Wolves had a very strong side but the one thing we wanted to do was keep them quiet for that first 20 minutes.
“But we never managed to do that and it gave them the momen- tum that they wanted. The important thing is that we don’t pop the pills when we lose and we don’t pop champagne when we win so just take it in your stride.”
HAPPY CHAPS: Wolves Leigh Griffiths celebrates after scoring their first goal. Inset: Bakary Sako scores