Wolves 1 QPR 0
By Ben Kosky at Molineux IT S a shame Flavio Briatore wasn t at Molineux on Saturday – he would have had the perfect opportunity to learn from a well-run football club. A club where the board have backed their manager, allowing him to build a promotion-wi
By Ben Kosky at Molineux
IT'S a shame Flavio Briatore wasn't at Molineux on Saturday - he would have had the perfect opportunity to learn from a well-run football club.
A club where the board have backed their manager, allowing him to build a promotion-winning team over three years, developing shrewd buys from the lower leagues alongside the occasional big-money signing of a proven goalscorer like Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
A club where players seem completely committed to the cause and where loyal supporters have been drawn closer to their team rather than feeling alienated by rebranding and ticket price increases.
Welcome to Wolverhampton Wander-ers - everything QPR are not and, under Briatore's regime, probably never will be.
In fairness, the vast majority of the Rangers side did their best to delay Wolves' celebrations, but were deservedly defeated by Ebanks-Blake's strike just after half-time.
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There was no disguising the party atmosphere even prior to kick-off and the home side were quickly into their stride as Matt Jarvis sped away from Peter Ramage and delivered a cross to the head of David Edwards, but Radek Cerny sprang to his right to push the ball behind.
The Rs goalkeeper was also alert to scoop out Edwards' 25-yard volley and an Andy Keogh cross-shot, but the visitors themselves squandered two chances in quick succession.
Wayne Routledge, who appears to be emerging from his shell again, cut through the Wolves defence with a pair of low crosses - the first a volley that Heidar Helguson snatched at weakly, the other scuffed wide by Lee Cook.
But, although a Jarvis corner clattered off the crossbar, the Wolves crowd were compelled to wait until the restart for the goal that lifted their tension.
Anyone returning late from the burger bar might have missed it, though - it took exactly 60 seconds for Keogh to capitalise on Damion Stewart's slip and square for his strike partner to tap home.
Yet QPR were unlucky not to level soon afterwards as Routledge's cross reached Rowan Vine, whose effort took a deflection and hit the bar as goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey stood helpless.
Hennessey's clean sheet would probably have been wiped out had Vine been the recipient of Gavin Mahon's piercing through ball, but instead it fell to Helguson, whose pathetic jab at the keeper mirrored his body language throughout the game.
Wolves substitute Marlon Harewood almost matched Helguson for casual finishing, firing at Cerny after another Stewart error had let David Jones in.
Apart from an Adel Taarabt drive that Hennessey beat away, QPR had little else to offer and, despite a few gasps as the referee added on four minutes, there was no need for the Wolves faithful to panic.
QPR: Cerny; Ramage, Stewart, Gorkss, CONNOLLY*; Routledge, Mahon, Lopezl (Leigertwood 85), Cook (Ephraim 64); Helguson, Vine (Taarabt 63). Subs not used: Delaney, Miller.