The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Michael Beard­more

PAUL Lam­bert has hit on a novel ap­proach to keep Wolves in the Championship – play badly.

Lam­bert’s men have been dragged into a rel­e­ga­tion dog­fight after five de­feats and a draw, and were lucky to end that win­less run against doomed Rother­ham.

An­dreas Weimann’s strike on the stroke of half-time earned Wolves a pre­cious three points they barely de­served as Danny Ward, twice, and Semi Ajayi missed golden chances for the Millers.

Wolves were booed off de­spite the win as the Mo­lineux faithful re­mained un­con­vinced – but Lam­bert was just happy to win ugly, rather than lose pret­tily.

Lam­bert said: “It was prob­a­bly the worst we’ve played in a few months but we won. That was the most im­por­tant thing, ev­ery­thing else was im­ma­te­rial.

“We’ve played so much bet­ter re­cently and come away from noth­ing. I’ve been sick and fed up of say­ing we’ve played well and lost de­spite dom­i­nat­ing games. It had to stop.

“We got the breaks and it was a lit­tle bit for­tu­itous, but a win’s a win. Some­body asked me (on Fri­day) if I would take play­ing badly and win, and that was cer­tainly the case.

“You could sense the edgi­ness right from the off. It’s dif­fi­cult but we came through it and credit to the play­ers be­cause it takes a lot of brav­ery when the stadium is so anx­ious.

“The booing is not nice to hear when you’ve won, but I have noth­ing but praise for Wolves fans. They’ve been bril­liant since I’ve been here.”

The game be­tween the two teams bot­tom of the Championship form ta­ble hinged on Rother­ham’s three big chances.

Twice in the open­ing 20 min­utes, Tom Adeyemi pounced on stray passes from edgy Wolves play­ers to send Ward clean through.

But twice the Millers’ top scorer – with­out a goal in eight games – fired straight at keeper Carl Ikeme when one-on-one.

Then, at the death, Rother­ham should have snatched a point but de­fender Ajayi, given the free­dom of the six-yard box, skied over to leave Wan­der­ers breath­ing a sigh of re­lief.

Ajayi was the villain at both ends in both pe­ri­ods of stop­page time. It was his dawdling at the end of the first half that al­lowed Weimann to nip in and round keeper Lewis Price to tap home.

It was harsh on Rother­ham and, par­tic­u­larly Price, who made an ex­cel­lent 34th-minute penalty save from Helder Costa after Joe Mat­tock had wres­tled the Por­tuguese wide man down in the area.

The sec­ond half was a non-event, apart from Price sav­ing well from a Costa snap­shot and Wolves sub Jon Dadi Bod­vars­son lash­ing inches over.

Then came Ajayi’s stop­page­time sit­ter, leav­ing Millers in­terim boss Paul Warne bewil­dered how his side had slipped to an 11th straight away de­feat.

Warne said: “I thought we were the bet­ter team. We cre­ated three re­ally good chances and I think our sea­son was summed up by Semi’s chance late on.

“We com­peted against a sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter side than ours – but there wasn’t many of their team that I would pick out and want in my dress­ing room.”

On Ward’s chances, Warne added: “Wardy’s hugely dis­ap­pointed and I’ve got to pick him up now be­cause he feels like he’s let his team-mates down which he hasn’t. He gives his all ev­ery week.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

FLAT OUT: An­dreas Weimann scores the win­ner. In­set: Weimann cel­e­brates

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