Wolverhampton Wanderers fans have enjoyed many memorable 2nd March matches over the years, from a 3-3 Championship thriller away at Derby County to a 2-0 home victory over Cardiff City in the Premier League two years ago. Here are five of Wolves’ most recent fixtures on this day.
1994: Ipswich 1-2 Wolves
After the fifth-round FA Cup fixture against Ipswich Town finished one apiece at Molineux in February, the replay saw Graham Turner’s Wolves progress after a 2-1 away win in front of 19,385 at Portman Road.
It was Turner’s final victory as Wolves manager – after going through January unbeaten, February saw his side take only four points from a possible twelve, losing 2-1 at home in the Black Country Derby at the end of the month. Two losses later, after a 3-0 away loss to Portsmouth, Turner resigned.
On his senior debut, the ball fell to Lee Mills in a moment of chaos in the Ipswich box from an 8th-minute Wolves free-kick. The 23-year-old fired an unstoppable curling shot with the outside of his left boot, going over goalkeeper Craig Forrest and in off the bar.
Left wingback Andy Thompson doubled Wolves’ advantage from a free-kick. Three players stood over the ball thirty yards out, though none of them took a shot – the ball was passed from right to left, finding Thompson in acres of space.
His powerful left-footed strike rebounded off an Ipswich man on the edge of the box and sailed into the top corner – Forrest didn’t stand a chance of stopping it.
Wolves had dominated the first half and could have been ahead by five or more goals if it hadn’t been for some bad luck at key moments.
Ipswich started the second half strongly, and a long ball into the middle of the penalty area allowed two Ipswich players to force open the space between the back three and the central midfielders – as bodies converged on the ball, Steve Palmer got a low shot away and beat goalkeeper Mike Stowell.
The rest of the match was highly energetic and end-to-end, but the score-line remained unchanged, sending Wolves through to the quarterfinals.
1996: Millwall 0-1 Wolves
The 1995/96 First Division season is not a highlight in Wolves fans’ collective memory. Graham Taylor’s side had finished 4th in the previous season, but they struggled to win matches in the final couple of months of 1994/95. This form continued into 1995/96, with Taylor resigning in November. Wolves won only once in caretaker manager Bobby Downes’ month in charge, before Leicester City boss Mark McGhee arrived at Molineux to turn the side’s fortunes around.
By the start of March, McGhee’s Wolves had taken 16 points from 10 matches, climbing from 20th to 16th in the table, before a victory at The Den lifted them into 14th. Millwall, meanwhile, continued their spectacular fall from the top of the table in December to an eventual 22nd-place finish and relegation. Over the next month Wolves would find themselves only three points from the playoff places, before a slide down the table left them only three clear of Millwall.
Wolves’ two most dangerous attacks came from long aerial balls out of the defence for the forwards to chase. A tight first half saw both goalkeepers tested – Dean Richards came close to opening the scoring for Wolves with a left-footed low strike at the near post as he cut in from the right-wing.
Steve Bull scored the only goal of the afternoon in the 69th minute. Another long ball bypassed the Millwall midfield, bouncing on the edge of the box before Bull sprinted onto it and lobbed it over the goalkeeper on the half-volley from 15 yards.
Millwall had a handful of opportunities but were mainly limited to long shots, which were dealt with comfortably enough. On a frustrating afternoon for his side, Russian striker Sergey Yuran was shown a straight red card in the 87th minute.
2002: Wolves 2-0 Gillingham
In the last victory of a seven-game winning streak for Dave Jones’ Wolves, the lead over Manchester City at the top of the table was extended to eight points. Alex Rae stole the show against Gillingham in front of 25,908 at Molineux – he put in a good delivery from a free kick in the 12th minute which his teammates failed to capitalise on, before scoring on a close-range rebound from a brilliant long-range Mark Kennedy shot in the 26th minute.
Rae managed an assist as well, with an inch-perfect cross to the far post for a Nathan Blake header for in first-half stoppage time to give Wolves a commanding lead. Gillingham didn’t give up and came close a number of times – Michael Oakes was called into action repeatedly.
The Wolves ‘keeper’s reactions were vital when a low corner delivery straight from the training ground beat the Wolves defence and came to midfielder Simon Osborn on the edge of the box for a powerful strike in front of the South Bank.
Sloppy defending kept the door open for a Gillingham comeback, but Wolves didn’t ease off the pressure in attack – three attempts in the second half came close to extending their advantage.
The season ended in disappointment – a dip in form in March saw Wolves drop from first to second, before being beaten to the automatic promotion spot by West Bromwich Albion April and losing 3-2 on aggregate to Norwich City in the playoffs.
2005: Derby 3-3 Wolves
In the seventh match of a remarkable 18-game unbeaten run, Glenn Hoddle’s Wolves travelled to Derby, for a six-goal Wednesday night thriller at Pride Park.
Joleon Lescott appeared to have opened the scoring early with a header from a free-kick, but he was narrowly flagged offside. Not long after, another free-kick gave the hosts the lead – Inigo Idiakez scored with a beautiful curling shot from a central region 25 yards out. The lead didn’t last long, with Kenny Miller equalising through a free header after Derby goalkeeper Lee Camp was dragged out of position by Rob Edwards’ run to the byline and subsequent looping cross from the right.
Jose Junior then looked to have taken the lead for Derby, but once again the linesman’s flag went up to deny the goal, again on a very tight call.
Seol Ki-Hyeon could have put Wolves in front with an open goal after Camp was forced forward and low to block a shot, but he put his effort over the bar from 8 yards without a defender anywhere near him.
Paul Ince later delivered another Wolves free-kick from deep on the left, again Lescott made a run to the near post, but this time the flag stayed down, and Wolves took the lead.
Derby then attacked in numbers, with Idiakez sliding a perfect through ball from the centre to the left half-space for Paul Peschisolido to chase, but he was brought down by Edwards for a penalty. Idiakez coolly sent Oakes to the right before shooting low and to the left.
However, referee Iain Williamson ordered the penalty to be retaken for encroachment, and Oakes refused to be beaten a second time, and he saved a shot from the rebound as well.
For some reason, a second retake was ordered, with Idiakez putting the ball to Oakes’ left at waist height to equalise.
Carl Cort put Wolves ahead again in the 90th minute and despite him being miles offside, the goal was allowed to stand – perhaps the officials were feeling a little sorry for Wolves after the triple-penalty farce.
Derby equalised right at the death, with Idiakez putting in an inswinging delivery from a free-kick deep on the left. The ball hit the far post from the first header before bouncing off the goal line, then Marco Reich arrived to bury it with a diving header.
2019: Wolves 2-0 Cardiff
Taking revenge for a 2-1 loss at the Cardiff City Stadium in November, Wolves’ front two killed the game early, with Raul Jimenez assisting Diogo Jota for the opening goal in the 16th minute, before the Portuguese returned the favour 134 seconds later.
For the first, Boly set a movement going through the centre, then five rapid one-touch passes between Jota, Jimenez and Morgan Gibbs-White set Jota up for an easy shot from 12 yards to beat Neil Etheridge.
Moments later, Jimenez picked Sol Bamba’s pocket then broke quickly up the left wing, before crossing to Jota at the far post. Rather than shoot, Jota drew Etheridge plus four Cardiff players towards him, before calmly passing the ball left to Jimenez, who fired into an open net.
Ruben Vinagre enjoyed a lot of success on that side, repeatedly getting into space to create from out wide, and was unlucky to not earn an assist for his efforts. Adama Traore was equally dangerous out wide, playing as a right wingback on paper but frequently drifting into central regions as well as the spaces he normally looks to exploit as a winger.
A double-save from a corner twice denied Leander Dendoncker in the first half, and a brilliant block in the second half denied Vinagre from the edge of the box. A diagonal run into the box by Matt Doherty set up Jimenez again, and again Etheridge stopped the shot – the Filipino singlehandedly saved his side from complete embarrassment at the hands of Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.