Stearman on the City win - and THAT clearance
Richard Stearman confessed that he wasn't sure how he managed to keep out Marlon Pack's late header as Bristol City pushed for a last-gasp equaliser at Molineux on Boxing Day, but believes that the clearance and the three points which it helped to earn could be 'massive' for Wolves' season.
Another rollercoaster afternoon at Molineux saw Wolves go in front, then fall behind, before a wonderful volley from Helder Costa and an Ivan Cavaleiro penalty put Paul Lambert's men 3-2 ahead.
However, there was further drama reserved for the final seconds of the match, when Stearman and Matt Doherty combined to heroically keep out Pack, when the City skipper looked destined to earn the visitors a share of the festive points.
"I'm not sure how I've kept it out," Stearman said after the breathless finale. "It was just pinball really - there were headers and body parts flying everywhere! They've hung it up to the back post and their lad's got a header on it, which has dropped behind me and i've managed to hook it away.
"Thankfully it didn't ricochet back off anyone and we've managed to get it clear and hold on.
"It's something I've got better at as I've got older - knowing where you need to be positionally as a centre half and being able to read the game, and I think that's helped me keep the ball out at the end today. I think I wheeled away as if I'd just scored the winner when the full-time whistle went, and we're obviously delighted with the three points."
After a promising start to the game - in which Dave Edwards's early, glancing header had given them the advantage - Wolves were caught cold towards the end of the first half, as goals from Tammy Abraham and Aden Flint sent Bristol City in 2-1 up at the break.
However, Stearman says that the encouraging nature of Wolves' play in the early stages ensured that heads didn't drop.
"We were obviously disappointed to be 2-1 down," he admitted. "We thought we'd played well in the first half, particularly in that first half hour, but maybe slipped off a little bit towards the end of the half.
"We were comfortable but we'd paid the price for maybe taking our foot off the pedal a bit and we'd let them back in to the game. We said at half time though that if we got the next goal, we'd go on to win the game, and so it proved."
Wolves' equaliser and winner came from what are fast becoming familiar sources: Costa thumped home Conor Coady's excellent cross to draw his side level, before Cavaleiro's nerveless penalty proved decisive.
Stearman was full of praise for the wingers, who both also made goalscoring contributions in the win over Nottingham Forest last week.
Stearman was full of praise for the duo, saying: "The two Portuguese boys on either wing were brilliant today and were fully worthy of a goal each. They've been great these past few weeks and long may it continue."
Following that 2-0 victory at the City Ground, Wolves' Boxing Day win means Lambert's side have picked up back-to-back league successes for the first time since September, a huge milestone, says Stearman.
"Getting back-to-back wins in the Championship is massive," he continued. "We've had a few low points, but hopefully this is the upturn we need, and it gives the fans something to go home happy about.
"Winning - like losing - becomes a habit, so we'll go again against QPR on New Year's Eve and look to get another three points."
We've had a few low points, but hopefully this is the upturn we need