Kenny Jackett was pleased to emerge with another three points against a resolute Stevenage team who pushed Wolves all the way at Molineux this afternoon.
Wolves had plenty of possession and created a host of chances after Kevin Doyle’s seventh minute opener, but without a second goal were indebted to another excellent performance from Carl Ikeme with a couple of key saves after the break.
That paved the way for winger James Henry to coolly slot home his third goal in three games to seal the 2-0 win ten minutes from time, after which Jamie O’Hara came off the bench for his first senior football of the season.
“It was a great win and a fantastic clean sheet,” said Jackett.
“It was a very hard fought win as Stevenage are a good side and a fit and committed side who never give up and they pushed us all the way.
“Graham Westley gets the most out of his teams and Stevenage had won four of their previous five games.
“We got a good early goal and I was pleased for Doyle who overall had an excellent performance today.
“It was a good second half performance by them – we did well to weather the storm because at times we were under a lot of pressure and at other times we were fortunate.
“We would have liked to have done more when we were more dominant in possession particularly after the early goal and probably didn’t do enough going forward.
“They defended their box and their goal very, very well.
“Converting our superior levels of possession into goals at home is something we want to do, particularly when you are 1-0 up.
“At that stage one set piece or one chance can get you back on level pegging and we needed that second goal.
“The game was still open, everyone in the ground knew that and you could feel the apprehension.
“Once James Henry put away a very good second goal then it sealed it for us.
“It was a quality goal to come off the wing and find himself central and put it away very well.
“To come through and get the three points was a very good achievement today.
“Overall, while we are pleased with the win, we still feel we would like to do better.”
On Ikeme’s continuing high standards in the Wolves goal, Jackett added: “He made another excellent save and when called upon he has been there for us.
“He was again today with a particularly key save at 1-0 which was a match-winning save.”
O’Hara’s return was greeted with some booing from the home fans but they were soon drowned out by applause with the majority welcoming him back to the fold following his apology in midweek.
Jackett believes it is now up to the midfielder, who made another gesture of apology as he left the pitch, to prove himself and force his way back into the starting eleven.
“My feelings were that towards the end of the game to put a tight midfield four out there rather than two wingers,” he explained.
“It was somebody fresh and a left-footed player which are always like gold-dust in your squad and give you balance.
“Jamie has that natural left foot and on the break can give us something creative as well.
“In terms of the overall situation I feel that enough time has passed now.
“It’s now very much down to him and how he does – how he plays for us, how he trains, what type of attitude he shows in the group.
“It’s all there for him and if he can contribute to us getting promoted this year then it will all be worth it.
“I do understand the overall situation in that he has had some troubles here but I think now that enough time has passed and it is up to him to prove that he wants to play and contribute to what we are going for in promotion.
“I think the reaction was in his favour today and I am sure the fans realise that left-footed players in the squad that can pass the ball like Jamie don’t come along easily.
“If I am convinced that he has over the last four months had enough time to get over his troubles and be committed to the group...those things line the future for him.
“We are all going to react off what he does now and how he plays, not just the crowd - myself and the other players.
“We have had the spirit right this year and at times would have liked to have played better and done certain things better.
“The spirit and attitude of the group cannot be questioned in any game and that has to be the basis of any side.
“I will be watching very closely to make sure that Jamie or anybody else is very committed to the team and to the club and putting the club first, which sometimes in football we all forget.
“If we all have that attitude then we have a chance of being successful.”
Next up for Wolves is Tuesday night’s trip to Carlisle, with Jackett expecting only Matt Doherty from today’s absentees to have any chance of featuring.
“Kevin McDonald has a slight hamstring injury as does Matt Doherty,” said the Head Coach.
“And Leigh Griffiths has been fighting a heavy cold over the last few days but he came on and looked sharp in the last half hour.
“We may have Doherty back for Carlisle but won’t have McDonald – hopefully he will be fit for Saturday.
“I would expect Griffiths to be over his cold and be o-k.
“It’s a chance for us but a tricky game as well and we have to give ourselves the best chance to put on a good performance.”