The festive period has proved a torrid yet somehow hopeful time for the Wolves faithful. Looking at the fixture line-up it was clear that the side needed to take full points against their relegation rivals to stand any chance of climbing out of the drop zone after New Year.

But football's a funny old game and, as it turned out, the two games Wolves fans would have least expected to take points from provided the perfect tonic after abject performances at Molineux and down in London.

It couldn't have been a worse start to the post-Christmas schedule as McCarthy and his men travelled all the way to the DW Stadium in what was clearly a "six-pointer" for both sides.Wolves were the home side and very much expected to turn up and contest with their relegation rivals.

As it was, the away side were two to the good within 20 minutes; Hugo Rodallega and Manchester United loanee Tom Cleverly putting the Wolves defence to the sword. A late consolation from Steven Fletcher will have done little to alleviate the building pressure on manager Mick McCarthy as his position steered towards untenable.

So, what a shock it was come 10pm on Wednesday 29th December as Wolves fans left what was once described as "Fortress Anfield" with three points in the bag. It's fair to say that Liverpool under now ex-manager Roy Hodgson have been a shadow of the side that claimed Champion's League glory in 2005 and finished second in the Premier League 2008/09.

But, as any manager will tell you, you still have to beat the eleven men set out in front of you and when those men include Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, it's no mean feat. Stephen Ward was clearly played onside by Glen Johnson and he finished with style to give Wolves a famous victory over The Reds.

On a high from those three precious points, the looming trip to West Ham seemed the perfect opportunity to string wins together and get some momentum behind the team.

Bus, as with so many of these games against close rivals this season, the team that harassed and badgered Liverpool into submission just couldn't turn up to the party as McCarthy's men managed to surrender far too tamely.

Ronald Zubar won't want to remember the fashion of his own goal that saw The Hammers on their way - youngster Freddie Sears wrapped up three points for struggling manager Avram Grant in the 79th minute to send Wolves back to the West Midlands with their tail between their legs.

When you've just lost a game in the manner as that at West Ham, Chelsea would usually be the last team you would want turning up on your doorstep. Yet, it seems, Wolves were lucky to meet the West London side at a time of struggle and decline.

Chelsea, the same as Liverpool, didn't look the same side that could smash opponents with blistering pace and power up front; and once they went behind thanks to a slightly lucky own goal from Portuguese international Jose Bosingwa.

That goal came in the fifth minute so Wolves still had an almighty job to do in order to maintain their lead and get all three points. They did so with few scares along the way and McCarthy will have been proud of his players as they left the field. The Wolves manager will also have taken a little pleasure in taking the managerial spotlight off himself and putting it firmly onto opposite number Carlo Ancelotti.

Unfortunately for Wolves and McCarthy the two massive results against Liverpool and Chelsea merely made up for the losses to Wigan and West Ham.

If the side had managed to apply themselves in those crunch games and taken even four points they would find themselves in a much more comfortable position than they do now. But, in truth, Wolves fans will be happy with climbing out of the relegation zone and using it as a platform on which to guarantee safety before the end of the season.

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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