Pilgrims pile misery on Wolves
Paul Gallagher's goal after just 40 seconds gave struggling Plymouth a shock victory against Wolves.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 28/02/09 5:45pm
Paul Gallagher's goal after just 40 seconds gave struggling Plymouth a shock victory against Wolves on Saturday.
Gallagher's stunning overhead kick confirmed the Championship leaders' promotion jitters as they slumped to their third defeat in four games.
The on-loan Blackburn striker's perfectly executed acrobatic effort stunned the Molineux faithful - with the majority still taking their seats in the stands.
Wolves pressed for the next 89 minutes in search of an equaliser but they failed to show the cutting edge needed to draw level, handing Birmingham the chance to draw level on points when they play Sheffield United on Sunday.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who switched to Molineux from the Pilgrims back in January of last year, wasted a glorious chance as the game approached the closing stages but, in truth, visiting keeper Romain Larrieu was rarely troubled.
The victory, which was only the visitors' second in 17 league attempts and their first away from home since November, extended Wolves' dismal run to just one win from their last 11 league games.
The only crumb of comfort from a disappointing afternoon for the home side was Reading's defeat to Nottingham Forest, but the victory will go a long way towards boosting Plymouth's hopes of survival.
Mick McCarthy admitted in his programme notes that Paul Sturrock's side "are no mugs", and so it proved within the opening minute.
Chris Barker launched a throw-in from the left into the danger area and as Wolves' defence failed to clear their lines, Gallagher took advantage, letting fly with a stunning effort into the top corner that left Wayne Hennessey with no chance.
The early breakthrough contributed to an open start to the encounter and Wolves came within a whisker of drawing level in the 16th minute.
Michael Kightly latched onto Kevin Foley's throughball down the right side of the penalty area but his cross was somehow directed off target by a combination of Ebanks-Blake and Marcel Seip with the goal gaping.
Most things Wolves offered going forward was coming courtesy of Kightly and Foley down the right.
But Plymouth were also causing problems when they attacked and Carl Fletcher came within inches of blasting the Pilgrims 2-0 ahead from another Barker throw-in.
And it was the home crowd who were left booing their team at the half-time whistle.
McCarthy and the rest of Molineux were screaming for a penalty 10 minutes after the restart when Kyel Reid was sent sprawling by Jamie Mackie but referee Carl Boyeson waved play on.
Chris Iwelumo was introduced just before the hour mark as Wolves pressed for a leveller.
But their adventurous approach almost allowed Gallagher to rifle in a second at the other end.
Wolves were camped in Plymouth's half as the game wore on but Larrieu had failed to make any save of note such was the lack of penetration in the hosts' play.
Ebanks-Blake summed up Wanderers' ruthlessness in front of goal in the 74th minute.
Having been put clean through on the edge of the area, the division's leading goal scorer approached the penalty spot before wildly swinging at the ball and somehow blasting it high and wide with just the keeper to beat.
And that proved to be that last clear-cut chance of the game as the disgruntled home support showed their disapproval at the full-time whistle and the visitors were left celebrating their first victory at Wolves since 1986.