Christmas comes early for Wolves while Blackburn need reinforcements

When is a win worth more than a win? When, as Wolverhampton Wanderers impressively underlined here, you simultaneously gain a victory for yourself but also deprive an expected near-neighbour in the table from doing the same.

Christmas comes early for Wolves while Blackburn need reinforcements The fact this was a season's opening game should not diminish how important this result could be over the next 10 months as Wolves fought back brilliantly following Mauro Formica's debut goal to claim victory through efforts from Steven Fletcher and Stephen Ward.

Mick McCarthy's side managed to beat Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City last season, yet only escaped relegation thanks to the implosions of Birmingham and Blackpool on the last afternoon. The reason for Wolves's flirtation with the drop was that they could not consistently defeat the teams around them in the table.

And the reason for that near-perilous flirtation with the drop, regardless of those eye-catching wins?

The fact they could not consistently damage the teams around them in the table. They picked up only seven points in 12 games against the teams in last season's bottom seven.

"It's a great start. To come to a place like Blackburn, always a tough place to come, and pick up all three points is enormous," the Wolves captain, Roger Johnson, said. "Look back on this kind of result after Christmas and it might well be seen as key. I don't think anyone could argue that we deserved all three points."

A Junior Hoilett effort was somehow clawed away by the Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey in the opening exchanges before Formica gave the home side the lead after he clinically finished off a move created by Jason Roberts's belligerence and vision. Yet Wolves seem set to be made of sterner stuff this season. Within two minutes of the goal Fletcher profited from Michel Salgado's poor positioning to head level before the Spanish defender then helped give Wolves the lead when he dragged down Matt Jarvis in the penalty area straight after the interval.

Kevin Doyle's spot-kick was saved by Paul Robinson, but only six seconds passed before Ward thrashed an effort home. Blackburn were without Chris Samba, Ryan Nelsen and Gaël Givet, the squad are bereft of experience and goals and the fans are losing patience with Steve Kean, even if his pleas for time and players are perfectly justifiable.

"What we need to do now is work closely with the owners and directors to get some players in," the Blackburn manager said. "[If I'm under pressure] then fine. That's my job."

Powered by article was written by Chris Brereton at Ewood Park, for The Guardian on Sunday 14th August 2011 23.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch