Stephen Ward believes the manner of Wolves’ comeback against Brighton proves just what can happen when the players give the fans something to shout about.
The Republic of Ireland international acknowledges it has been tough for the Molineux faithful in recent weeks after a disappointing run of results but believes the dramatic comeback from Wolves’ ten men is hopefully a sign of more positive fortunes ahead.
The crowd were superb in cheering Wolves on when reduced in numbers, with Ward hailing their backing as “amazing”.
“The way we came back showed how much it means to the lads after a few tough games,” said Ward.
“It’s been tough for the fans as well and I think on Saturday we showed a real grit and determination and a will to win.
“It was great to see the fans right back with us now because we haven’t been at it these last few weeks.
“It just shows that when we’re battling like that and the fans are behind what a tough place this is for teams to come.
“The fans were amazing – I’ve always said that when they’re right behind us, they’re amazing, and the last few games have been tough for them because we haven’t performed.
“Fans are entitled to show their frustration but on Saturday when everything seemed to go against us, they were right behind us.
“What they gave to us, we gave back to them with our performance.
“They saw the spirit, determination and hard work that the lads put in.
“We deserved something – it could have been all three points but we were happy to settle for a point with the way the game went.”
The atmosphere was also spiced up by several moments of controversy, perhaps the most contentious being the penalty award for handball against Ward which allowed Brighton to go 3-2 up with just a minute remaining.
It’s fair to say it was a decision which stunned Molineux, and no one more so than the man himself.
“I’ve got to be careful with what I say because I might get into trouble,” said Ward.
“But the referees come in and tell us at the start of the season what is a penalty and what isn’t and what’s a sending off.
“Their man was two yards away from me and I was moving my hand behind my back.
“I don’t know how he could have given it – people were shocked by his decision.
“Because we’re in the Championship it probably won’t get highlighted, but if it happened in the Premier League, it would come under the spotlight.
“Referees have tough decisions to make but I’m sure when he looks back at it, he might think he’s made a mistake.
“He hadn’t done a lot wrong for 45 minutes, but decisions like that can cost you.
“Unfortunately it went against us, but the character we showed after that meant we should be focusing on that rather than the decisions of the referee because there were so many positives from the lads with their performances.”
On the opposite side Ward admits that the referee was more likely to have got Karl Henry’s sending off correct if it was a studs-up challenge, but backed the skipper’s desire to be leading from the front by making strong tackles.
“It was a hard one – Karl is someone with a will to win and he goes into tackles which I think nowadays seems to be gone out of the game,” said Ward.
“From my point of view, I thought the referee acted a little bit quickly but I’d have to see it again to see if it was a sending off.
“If that was the case (studs up) then it was unfortunate because Karl’s a player who would never intentionally go into a tackle like that.
“He’s all about wanting to win the game and he wants to lead from the front.”