An absolute sickener for us in this one, with a controversial Willy Boly header giving Wolves a late draw – but it’s a game where there’s still several positives to take.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance and my marks out of 10:
NUFC XI – (5-2-2-1): Dubravka (5) – Yedlin (5), Schar (7), Lascelles (8), Lejeune (6), Ritchie (7) – Hayden (7) , Longstaff (8) – Perez (7), Atsu (6) – Rondon (7).
Dubravka – 5 – I would’ve given him a 7 or 8 if it wasn’t for his late error, but it really has cost us in the end. Boly’s arms may have left him unsighted, but he has to be stronger and just punch that one clear. Before that he was immaculate, making this one all the more gutting. He pulled of a smart save to deny Jimenez’s deflected shot, showed great handling to hold Jonny’s dangerous shot and was quick off his line and safe pair of hands all night up until the 94th minute. He’s made two costly errors in our last two games now, but I’m still behind him 110%. He needs to learn and recovering fully from this will be a big test of his metal, but I maintain that he’s a class act.
Yedlin – 5 – Had a bit of a stinker at times – even if he was part of a defence that did so well to keep Wolves at bay for 94 minutes. He didn’t get close enough to Jonny or Jota on too many occasions and was often beaten far too easily, whether it be players ghosting past him or him allowing crosses to come into the box too easily. He tried to give us an outlet going forward with runs down the right hand side but he was sloppy more often than not. He recovered slightly in the second half but it was a poor showing for him.
Schar – 7 – Played a key role in our goal, with him stepping out of defence and slipping a lovely ball into Hayden for our goal. He was a little edgy in the first half and struggled to deal with Jota and Jimenez at times, but he stood strong in the second half with several clearances and interceptions at the near post.
Lascelles – 7.5 – Our best defender on the night for me. Was strong in the air and a player Wolves’ forwards really struggled to ever get past all night. I’ve been saying this for a few weeks now following Lejeune’s return, but he really is starting to look like the player we saw last season once again.
Lejeune – 6 – A few rare mistakes here and there from the Frenchman in this one, with a few nervy moments in both halves – whether it be giving away the ball in bad areas or panicking in certain situations to concede a needless corner. That said, he still battled away and made a few vital headed clearances – but it wasn’t his best night.
Ritchie – 7 – Worked tirelessly down our left all night to try and set up attacks at one end and keep the marauding Doherty at bay at the other. He isn’t a natural wing-back but he’s always ‘on the ball’, reads danger well and doesn’t give his man a moments rest.
Hayden – 7 – Took his goal well, smashing a low drive past Rui Patricio and complimented Longstaff well in midfield once again. He has his limitations on the ball – rarely looking comfortable when trying to find a forward pass – but he got about the pitch very well and got stuck in. Another commendable and committed display – which deserves real praise given he’s wanted a move down south for personal reasons since the summer.
Longstaff – 8 – Hugely impressive yet again. He looked so calm and assured in possession – always getting his head up to play smart forward passes whenever possible – won several second balls and never stopped running, He makes it look easy on the ball, has such an impressive engine ( he ran 12km – more than any other player on the field) and got the better of two top class international midfielders in Moutinho and Neves. He really does look the real deal.
Perez – 7 – He looked sharp. Had some bright moments in attack, with one brilliant disguised pass into Rondon, and was the one player showing some real spark in attack before Almiron’s introduction. He ded off scraps at times but always looked to make things happen and wasn’t as wasteful as we’ve seen in the past this season.
Atsu – 6 – On the fringe of the game but contributed defensively. He made the odd decent burst forward with the ball but it was all a little safe, with him rarely looking confident and willing to really use his pace and run at his man. He was tidy enough in possession, however, and did work hard off the ball, with one great bit of defensive work to track Jimenez’s run and get a toe on the ball to deny a shot in a dangerous area.
Rondon – 7 – Linked up nicely with Perez, had a few dangerous efforts on goal, was a constant target to hit in the box and a constant handful for all three of Wolves’ centre-backs. Held up the ball expertly at times and looks like he may only get better once he was both Almiron and Perez playing just off him.
Almiron – 7 – Came on for the final 20 minutes and showed real promise. His electric pace was clear from the outset, he looked very direct and was all action at both ends, seeming like he’s in good shape to start against Huddersfield in 12 days time. Got stuck in and gave it his all to get back, defend and protect our lead late on, also linking up nicely with Ritchie and Rondon at the other end. Promising signs.
Diame – N/A – Came on for Hayden late on. Pressed and helped screen the back for during the final 10 minutes.
Manquillo – N/A – Replaced Perez in extra time to help Yedlin double up on Wolves’ wide men.