On a day of endless scenarios the dreaded drop loomed large for both of these sides. However after an enthralling 90 minutes both are safe to the relief and jubilation of the fans.
A battle cry greeted the home side at Molineux on the day dubbed survival Sunday before they soon saw their nervous side struggle to settle and play their natural game. Smart phones and personal radios were abuzz with news from elsewhere as the two sets of fans looked to keep up with the ever-changing league table. Wolves looked consigned to the Championship at half-time though, going in 3-0 down only to score two fine goals and see important results elsewhere keep their top flight status intact.
Mick McCarthy selected attacking duo of Stephen Ward, who looked to work the channels and try and feed the in form Steven Fletcher. Steve Kean picked an unchanged side from that which held Manchester United last weekend with the two impressive holding men Jermaine Jones and Steve N’Zonzi providing a solid base for his side.
Martin Olssen and Junior Hoilett flanked Jason Roberts and their pace and trickery to get in behind the Wolves defence was a big problem, with Kevin Foley in particular affording them too much space with Hoilett eventually being rewarded with a goal at the end of a fine solo effort, showing good feet and composure in the penalty area to score just before half time.
The game was an open affair from start to finish with plenty of chances for either side. The Blackburn captain Chris Samba was typically willing to put his body on the line for the cause, a real tower of strength at the back for Blackburn this season and also winning more than his fair share of headers in the opposing box at set pieces.
A long floating ball into the box was eventually the source of Blackburn’s second as Wayne Hennessey failed to come and deal with the danger yet again and a weak clearance was emphatically punished with a fine volley by Brett Emerton.
Wolves started much the better side in the second half as they chase the most unlikely of comebacks, frustratingly only beginning to play their football once it was too late.
However a really well worked set piece routine gave Wolves a route back into the game. The lay off to Jamie O’Hara was clever but required sound technique from the midfielder to convert his chance. Stephen Hunt then followed suit, moments before being hauled off the Irishman responds to the home crowds chant of “we only need one goal” by duly delivering with a magnificent curling finish.
Wolves didn’t play like a Premier League side here and they will have to improve if they are to build on this survival next season but their grit and determination to stay up shone through in the end.