Beesotted contributor, and former Birmingham Mail journalist, Jim Levack, takes stock of a morale-boosting night’s footy under the Black Country floodlights.
There’s something a bit special about being part of an elite group going behind enemy lines to plunder three points, especially when it’s against the odds.
I know a lot of Wolves fans from my time working at the Birmingham Mail, so the win had an extra special feel to it.
But most importantly this was a result that came pretty much out of the blue to anyone outside the club, making it just that little bit sweeter.
I predicted a 0-0 draw and would have been happy with that after seeing enough in the Rotherham win to suggest that Lee Carsley was making an impression.
I felt before the trip to the Black Country that some of the comments after the Rotherham game were slightly unfair… after all, there’s rarely ever an attractive flowing game of football against them.
From the outset at Wolves, we looked a lot more ‘on it’, pressing sensibly, passing crisply and looking more creative around the box than we have all season.
Confidence plays a big part in football. We had it and what little Wolves had at the kick off diminished rapidly, turning their notoriously fickle fans against them and in turn inspiring Brentford.
Carsley has instilled a different, more British mentality among the players. He started with a more home-grown feel to the side, but knew when to introduce the new recruits to maximum effect, Hofmann finding space that could have seen him bag a couple on another day.
That’s how it should have been at the start of the season – a gradual introduction rather than a wholesale change. If the team above Carsley have now accepted that and tweaked things accordingly, then that’s excellent management.
I still believe too much weight sits on the shoulders of Alan Judge creatively, but to be fair he’s revelling in his new role as the string-puller in chief with an incredible work rate to back it up.
Nico Yennaris is another example of Carsley’s intelligent handling of the squad. He’s clearly been told that this is his time, the shirt is his as long as his performances match up. As if to reinforce that message Josh Clarke has been sent out on loan to further his education.
Apart from one rush of blood to the head when he charged forward and almost got caught out at Wolves, he has put in two high intensity defensive displays and managed to get forward at the right times.
Carsley reintroduced Toumani fresh to the fray and he was imperious alongside the effervescent Ryan Woods, who again rarely wasted a pass, closed down quickly and tackled back with verve.
The two centre backs – one or two aerial misjudgements aside – won everything and epitomised the determination to lay their bodies on the line for the cause.
The only downside was a second half 20 minute spell where Brentford failed to look after the ball effectively enough, inviting Wolves on to them… even if they did cope with the attacks easily enough.
The arrival of Philipp Hofmann helped with the hold up play, but just as importantly he showed he is coming to terms with the physicality of the English game and took his goal with ice-cool aplomb… proof that he could well make the transition to the English game.
Game management for the final five or so minutes was excellent as Brentford appeared quicker in thought and action than their free-spending League One promotion fellows.
Most impressive though was the passing for much of the game. Neat, tidy, inventive, quick and incisive where necessary, Wolves simply had no answer to it.
In his post Rotherham press conference Carsley mentioned that the good 20 minutes would become 30, 40 and 50 as confidence grew. Here was the proof.
Now it’s on to Charlton where Brentford are – and this sounds good – the form team.
That in itself can be a monkey on the back, but in Lee Carsley I believe we now have a manager who has seen too much in his time in the game to allow the green shoots of recovery to fade as quickly as they came.
There is still much work to be done, injured players to be nursed back and maybe even a little more pace and guile to be added to the mix, but this is a good start that is leaving a nice glow around me the day after the night before.
Now, all that’s left to be done is to have a quick catch up with Paul Berry, my old Mail colleague who is now Head of Media at Wolves… now where did I put his number?