Wolverhampton 2-3 Blackburn Rovers: Happy days for McCarthy as Wolves stay up despite defeat

Wolverhampton 2O'Hara (73), Hunt (87)Blackburn Rovers 3Roberts (22), Emerton (38), Hoilett (45)

Referee: H Webb

Attendance: 29,009

Wolves held on to their Barclays Premier League status despite losing to fellow strugglers Blackburn yesterday.

Wolves were ripped apart in the opening 45 minutes with Jason Roberts, Brett Emerton and Junior Hoilett netting for Rovers. But they responded with second-half efforts from Jamie O'Hara and Stephen Hunt and, with Birmingham and Blackpool both losing, they survived for a third successive season of top-flight football.

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Mick McCarthy's men finished the season one place and one point above the bottom three, with Rovers three points better off. "We were in it, then we were out of it. We were up and then we were down," said McCarthy.

"I was getting messages every couple of minutes on bits of paper. Some had swear words on, others said happy days.

"I said all along that it would come down to 22 May and it might even be goal difference or goals scored. I do not even know the exact outcome now. All I knew at the end of the game was that we had stayed up."

Rovers had their survival all but secured with a fantastic first-half display. They were the first to settle and won an early free-kick but Emerton's cross was easily dealt with by George Elokobi.

Paul Robinson was the first goalkeeper called into action when he held onto a low drive by Stephen Ward after good play by O'Hara.

After 23 minutes the visitors took the lead through Roberts. A low centre from Michel Salgado was deflected into the corner of the net by the striker who began his career at Wolves but never played a first-team game.

Wolves were struggling and after 39 minutes a superb strike from Emerton doubled Blackburn's lead. Joey Craddock headed the ball out of the Wolves box but it fell to Emerton who volleyed past Hennessey from 25 yards out.

Then with seconds remaining of the half, Hoilett made it 3-0 with a low shot after cutting into the area.

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McCarthy made a half-time substitution, with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake replacing Michael Mancienne.

Wolves started the second half in positive fashion, and gave themselves a chance after 72 minutes when O'Hara pulled a goal back. Hunt rolled a short free-kick to the on-loan Tottenham player whose low shot found the corner of the net from 20 yards.

The home side were on the offensive and Robinson made a fine save to turn over a powerful header from Steven Fletcher.

But with four minutes left, Hunt scored a second goal for the home side. He received the ball on the edge of the Rovers area and curled a shot past Robinson into the top corner as Wolves stayed up by the skin of their teeth.