LAM­BERT SALUTES FAN­TAS­TIC WOLVES

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Michael Beard­more

HE’S HAD to find the right mix of play­ers brought in by at least three dif­fer­ent man­agers but Paul Lam­bert be­lieves his resur­gent Wolves have hit upon the right blend at last.

Lam­bert has added his own sprin­kle of sign­ings to the play­ers he in­her­ited from short-lived pre­de­ces­sor Wal­ter Zenga and Kenny Jack­ett.

And it was a mix of all three eras that vir­tu­ally as­sured Wolves’ Cham­pi­onship safety, dis­patch­ing mid-ta­ble Cardiff to make it four wins on the spin.

Two free-kicks from Lam­bert sign­ing Ben Mar­shall were headed home by a man Jack­ett made a first­team reg­u­lar, Danny Batth, be­fore Zenga re­cruit Costa sealed vic­tory with a stun­ning solo strike.

Lam­bert said: “We were ex­cel­lent from the off and some of the foot­ball we played was fan­tas­tic.

“There’s a lot of work to be done but we are on the right road to try­ing to cre­ate some­thing re­ally good here. The third goal was, in my opin­ion, world class.

“We’ve picked up 13 points out of 15 which is re­ally good go­ing but we were play­ing well be­fore that with­out get­ting the re­sults. The stats were there for ev­ery­body to see.

“The good play was al­ways there, we were dom­i­nat­ing games, we just needed the goals to fin­ish it off and we’re get­ting that now.”

Wolves led on nine min­utes as Mar­shall’s free-kick was won by Kort­ney Hause, find­ing Andi Weimann at the far post, and he nod­ded back across goal for Batth to head home from close range.

The lead lasted three min­utes, though, due to equally poor de­fend­ing at the other end.

Wolves only half-cleared a free­kick and Dan­ish striker Ken­neth Zo­hore, with his back to goal, flicked a clever header over a rooted Andy Lon­er­gan from six yards for his 11th of the sea­son.

Cardiff should have led on 27 min­utes as Zo­hore teed up Aron Gun­nars­son on a plate 12 yards out but he steered inches wide when try­ing to find the bot­tom cor­ner.

But the Blue­birds were be­hind for a sec­ond time four min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val, again un­able to cope with Wolves’ aerial threat as Batth headed home his sec­ond from Mar­shall’s invit­ing cross.

Cardiff came within inches of lev­el­ling for a sec­ond time mid­way through the sec­ond half, sub­sti­tute Craig Noone hit­ting the foot of the past from 20 yards with Lon­er­gan beaten.

But Wolves de­servedly sealed the win eight min­utes from time, Costa won­der­fully twist­ing, turn­ing and dum­my­ing two de­fend­ers and goal­keeper Al­lan McGre­gor be­fore slid­ing his 12th goal of the sea­son into an empty net from eight yards.

Blue­birds boss Neil Warnock ad­mit­ted his side’s de­fend­ing cost them but felt Gun­nars­son’s first-half miss was the game’s turn­ing point.

Warnock said: “I don’t think they won the game, we lost it.

“We were quite com­fort­able early doors and even when they scored, we looked dan­ger­ous, got it back to 1-1 and then we had a great chance, didn’t we?

“It was prob­a­bly the eas­i­est chance you’ll ever get and Gun­nars doesn’t know how he’s missed it.

“And then the other two goals were bad de­fend­ing.

“There were a lot of plusses from the game look­ing to next year but the game also re­it­er­ated cer­tain things that I know we need.

“We have a de­cent squad and we need three or four good play­ers to sup­ple­ment that in the sum­mer.”

PIC­TURES: Richard Parkes

BATTH TIME: Danny Batth cel­e­brates head­ing home his and Wolves’ sec­ond goal, in­set

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