Rarely do we see matches of such importance to two teams with less than ten games played; but this is already turning into one of the most extraordinary seasons in Premier League history - normality no longer applies here.  

On one side, Mick McCarthy and a side that has made a habit in recent weeks of giving away leads; on the other, Avram Grant and a side that had scored four of their five goals from set-pieces - both managers with a chance to buck those trends and maybe climb out of the relegation zone. 

The build-up to the game was, as expected, focused on the importance of a win to both sides and as home and away fans piled into Molineux, there must have been an air of tension. The fans, players and managers all knew that striking first blood could be the key to taking the win. 

McCarthy will have been hoping to get off to a positive start, but was given the exact opposite in the form of an injury to captain Jody Craddock, standing in for the suspended Karl Henry, only five minutes into the game. But, to their credit, Wolves responded well to the early setback and five minutes later had the lead, courtesy of a fine finish from the ever-impressive Matt Jarvis. 

Wolves looked to build on this lead, with McCarthy clearly desperate to take more than a one goal lead in at half time. But, it wasn't to be as his players didn't seem to find themselves in the right positions or be able capitalise on West Ham errors. 

Green made a fingertip save from a David Jones strike - and again he was on-hand to deny Richard Stearman after Steven Fletcher had headed the ball back across goal. Kevin Doyle showed few signs of the injury he picked up on international duty and would have been disappointed to see that none of his teammates could get on the end of a teasing, low cross that Tal Ben-Haim cleared for a corner. 

Just before the break, Wolves were gifted the opportunity to get a second when Manuel Costa slipped on the edge of his own area; but again Wolves were indecisive in front of goal and when Jarvis finally got his shot away, it was bravely blocked by Daniel Gabbidon. 

The second half started the same as the first ended, with the home side on top and the visitors really struggling to make any impression whatsoever on the game. As they say, goals change games, and when Doyle made contact with Victor Obinna inside the area he really left Mark Clattenburg with no other choice but to give a penalty. 

Mark Noble rarely misses from the spot, and this strike was no different as he powered an unstoppable penalty into the goal, sending a helpless Marcus Hahnemann the wrong way in the process. 

With the scores level, West Ham pushed on and looked like the side most likely to take all three points as Wolves' confidence evaporated. Frederick Piquionne then went very close when he rocketed a shot against Hahnemann's crossbar. 

Both sides looked to change the game by making substitutions; McCarthy brought on Van Damme and Ebanks-Blake and Grant sent on Carlton Cole. There were plenty of opportunities to win the game at both ends; most notably Piquionne, who had the ball in the back of the net, only to have it disallowed by referee Clattenburg for hand ball; to add insult to injury, the striker was also yellow-carded. 

So, the spoils were eventually shared at the end of a tense encounter. McCarthy will, once again, be frustrated that his side gave away a leading position - he was also disappointed by what he called a 'soft' penalty decision; but in his heart of hearts he knows that the referee had little other choice but to give it. 

Avram Grant felt aggrieved that Piquionne's goal was disallowed, but his main worry has to lie in his team's inability to score from open play; something that needs to change if he has any hope of keeping West Ham in the Premier League. 

From a Wolves perspective, there is no way that anyone involved with the club will see this result as a point gained in the battle to avoid the drop. The home side were so dominant in the first half, they should have had the Hammers dead and buried by half time. 

Yet a host of missed chances saw that West Ham were still in with a chance in the second half; and McCarthy's men could not contain the visitors, as his side contrived to throw a lead away yet again. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association. 

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Wolverhampton Wanderers