Wolverhampton 2 Burnley 0
Just five days after supporters sent messageboards into meltdown demanding that Mick McCarthy be sacked, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager left the field to chants of "Super Mick" from the Molineux fans.
McCarthy was roundly criticised for the weakened team he selected at Manchester United on Tuesday but must feel justified in his decision after this victory over Burnley moved Wolves out of the relegation zone. Nine changes were made after "Old Traffordgate", as it has become known in this corner of the Black Country, but goals from Nenad Milijas and Kevin Doyle secured a third victory from four, and won back favour for McCarthy.
McCarthy devoted the majority of his programme notes to defend his decision but it was only going to be three points here that mattered. "I don't feel vindicated or justified, I'm not looking for any of that," he said. "I have to be able to manage the club and the players and maximise my resources. I have to be trusted with it by everyone concerned – if I'm not trusted with it, that will be the day when I'm out of the door.
"We've had nine points from 12 since the Birmingham game and people probably thought we'd get nowhere near that. I'm delighted with the performance but I kind of expected it. We've got into a good position with hard graft but we certainly won't be getting carried away."
McCarthy brought back almost all of the team that heroically raided White Hart Lane last weekend, and a determined start was rewarded after 15 minutes. Doyle robbed Clarke Carlisle and played in Matt Jarvis and though the winger's shot was repelled by Brian Jensen, Milijas was alert to ram in the rebound.
Wolves almost increased their lead when Doyle somehow escaped an offside flag to race into the area but he shot straight into the ample frame of the Burnley goalkeeper. However, early in the second half they made sure of only their third Premier League victory at Molineux when Doyle beat off a string of tame challenges from Steven Caldwell and Michael Duff to beat Jensen at the near post.
Burnley missed chances to reduce the deficit and this result will increase the pressure on Owen Coyle, the Burnley manager, who said: "It's disappointing because we came here to win but this just adds fuel to the fire that we are still yet to win away. We've conceded two terrible goals and paid a heavy price for that. We have to start adding points on our travels to our home form and if we can do that and stay up against the odds it will be a unbelievable achievement for the football club."
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Stearman, Craddock, Berra, Ward; Foley, Henry, Milijas (Mancienne 67), Jarvis (Iwelumo 86); Ebanks-Blake, Doyle. Substitutes not used: Hennessey (gk), Elokobi, Surman, Maierhofer, Castillo.
Burnley (4-5-1): Jensen; Mears, Carlisle (Duff 34), Caldwell (Gudjonsson 66), Jordan; Elliott, McDonald, Bikey (Nugent 52), Alexander, Eagles; Fletcher. Substitutes not used: Penny (gk), Blake, Nugent, Thompson, Guerrero.
Referee: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).
Booked: Wolverhampton Henry, Doyle. Burnley Gudjonsson.
Man of the Match: Doyle.