The saying goes that ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’. But that old adage just wasn’t coming true for Wolves – well, until the weekend at least. Mick McCarthy’s men had battled their way to a string of accomplished performances over the past couple of months, with little reward. Good displays against the likes of Birmingham, Bolton and Manchester United had left the Black Country outfit pointless and cursing their luck. But, at Turf Moor on Saturday, they finally saw their stringent efforts rewarded with a dose of good fortune.
At The Reebok stadium a couple of weeks ago the woodwork was a thorn in Wolves side, but against the Clarets it came to their rescue on a couple of occasions. And while against United the Wanderers were passing up glorious chances to score, at Turf Moor the opposition were giving them a helping hand. For the first goal Matt Jarvis still had to use all of his rapid pace and show a deft touch to nick the ball around the advancing Brian Jensen, but it cannot be argued that Tyrone Mears’ initial poor header back to his ‘keeper was the reason the electric left-winger got the chance to put his side in front. And the crucial second goal came courtesy of a gigantic deflection off of Clarke Carlisle after a wayward Adlene Guedioura effort. But the West Midlands side have deserved this, for their recent good showings have not been reflected in their results. And McCarthy had been telling the world that his team’s luck would change if they kept going about things in the same way, and he was proved right.
After the match, he said: “It’s that phrase about the harder you work the luckier you get. We’ve been playing well and I’d said if we keep playing that way our luck would change. I knew we would get a slice of good fortune and it came with the deflection. As for Jarvo’s goal, he has had an outstanding season. I’d like to think all the players are getting better and he’s learning in a really difficult environment. It’s great for Jarvo to get his goals and he could have had more – he’s getting them at the right time if he starts now! You can bemoan bad luck on the one hand because the ball bounced up and the defender couldn’t get a decent head on it or you can congratulate Jarvo for anticipating it and still having the where-with-all to nick it around the keeper and score. I prefer that one! There might have been a bit of fortune in there but some good football as well.”
That assessment is certainly correct for Jarvis showed real ability with that goal, as he has done for most of this season. He is still a work in progress but he has come on leaps and bounds for Wolves since his arrival from Gillingham almost three years ago. The Englishman’s raw pace has never been in question, but he has needed to add a cutting edge to his play and it seems as though he is making this step, which is further increasing his confidence. This will hopefully result in Jarvis being more adventurous in his wing-play, as sometimes in the past he has looked afraid to take the full-back on, despite having the beating of most of them. The 23-year-old’s performances will be crucial between now and the season’s end because, along with the fantastic Kevin Doyle, he is Wolves most creative outlet and the Old Gold desperately need goals to push towards safety. And more luck like they got on Saturday will be very much welcome at Molineux.