Wolves hold out to claim re­ward

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Michael Beard­more

BLACK­BURN boss Tony Mow­bray ad­mit­ted Rovers need not just one favour from As­ton Villa but two af­ter miss­ing the chance to climb out of the drop zone by draw­ing at woe­ful Wolves.

Rovers host hot-and-cold Villa next Satur­day des­per­ate for a win but Steve Bruce’s men could do them a huge ser­vice to­day by beat­ing Black­burn’s drop ri­vals Birm­ing­ham in the Sec­ond City derby.

With Not­ting­ham For­est and QPR also in the mix, Mow­bray in­sists Rovers are far from down, two points from safety with two games left, but felt this stale­mate was a huge missed op­por­tu­nity.

Wolves, al­ready safe, looked like they were there for the tak­ing and a frus­trated Mow­bray ad­mit­ted: “That was pretty dis­ap­point­ing in a game that we felt we should have taken three points from.

“We came to win and for long spells we looked the dom­i­nant out­fit out there, but you win foot­ball matches in the fi­nal third, in and around the box – and we fell short in that depart­ment.

“We just need more end prod­uct, we need more shots, more peo­ple break­ing into the box, more recog­ni­tion when we get be­hind teams and get into dan­ger­ous ar­eas.”

Ad­mit­ting he needs a Villa win then a de­feat in their next two games, Mow­bray smiled: “It’s been pretty much like that for Villa hasn’t it? They win some, they lose some.

“It’s not as if they have been mas­sively con­sis­tent. We have to make sure they have a dif­fi­cult day at Ewood Park next week­end. One win might be enough for us, even two draws. Birm­ing­ham go to Villa then play Huddersfield who need a win.

“They could lose their last three games so we could draw two and still stay up, who knows?

“It’s out of our hands but what we have to do is con­trol what we can con­trol and try to take six points out of the last two games.”

Rovers’ best chances came in the open­ing 15 min­utes as, first, Craig Con­way flashed wide un­der pres­sure from 12 yards. And then, from Con­way’s 15thminute free-kick on the flank, Dar­ragh Leni­han’s glanc­ing header flew a whisker wide of the near post.

In a dour en­counter, it took 63 min­utes for ei­ther goal­keeper to be tested as El­liot Ben­nett tried to catch Andy Lon­er­gan out with a near-post free-kick but the Wolves stop­per was alert to paw it away.

Wolves fi­nally threat­ened in the fi­nal ten min­utes as Rovers pushed more men for­ward but Jon Dadi Bod­vars­son was foiled by El­liott Ward’s last-ditch goal-sav­ing tackle and Ivan Cavaleiro shot straight at Black­burn goal­keeper David Raya.

Wolves boss Paul Lam­bert ad­mit­ted: “It was a poor game. We fell be­low the stan­dards that we have set.

“It is an­other clean sheet but we never did enough to win it. I thought we fell short of the en­ergy lev­els that we have shown. Maybe the team needs a lit­tle bit of fresh­en­ing up and I will do that against Huddersfield on Tues­day.

“The lads have played a lot of games and we need that bit of fresh­ness for the last few games. Some of them are run­ning on empty.

“I un­der­stand that but the pleas­ing thing is that we never lost the game. So credit to them for that.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

SHOUL­DER TO SHOUL­DER: Ryan Nyambe tus­sles with Ivan Cavaleiro

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