WOLVES 3 TOWN 0
Town’s proud unbeaten record at Molineux, which stretched back to 1988, came to a crashing halt in front of the Sky Sports cameras this afternoon, with a brace from Benik Afobe leading home side to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
The Terriers started in promising fashion and might have been a little unfortunate to trail 1-0 at the interval, but the hosts were well worth their win after dominating the second half.
Chris Powell named an unchanged starting XI once again for the game and the team set off on the front foot, as it had done against Nottingham Forest last time out.
Inside two minutes a shooting chance presented itself to skipper Dean Whitehead on the edge of the box, but his powerful effort was blocked well by a sprawling defender.
The Terriers had two very presentable opportunities in the 7th minute. Muzzy Carayol – making his 150th start – was the most dangerous player on the pitch in the opening 20 minutes and after being picked out beautifully by Emyr Huws, he stepped inside right back Dominic Iorfa and shot towards goal, with on-loan Arsenal custodian Damian Martinez parrying the ball away.
Just 30 seconds later, Carayol’s deflected cross from the left fell to Harry Bunn, who had to adjust his feet quickly and could only volley over from inside the area.
Kenny Jackett’s side looked to clip balls into the channels for the likes of former Town loanee Benik Afobe and Adam Le Fondre to chase, but the hosts struggled to gain possession high up the pitch with Joel Lynch in great form and Town continued to press; Ishmael Miller curling over after a decent turn.
Wolves’ first sniff at goal came through a Town error 17 minutes. Whitehead was playing very well in the engine room once again, but his miscued clearance put Afobe through on goal; luckily for him, Martin Cranie was alert and got back to snuff out the danger.
Unfortunately the home side scored its next clear chance 23 minutes in. After Huws headed an awkward high ball to Kevin McDonald, the home midfielder played a neat one-two with James Henry to get clear of Whitehead and Lynch before advancing to the edge of the box and curling a placed effort expertly out of reach of the diving Jed Steer.
That goal changed the game, with Wolves finally creating in the final third and Town’s passing going slightly astray; the Terriers struggling in particular to get Miller and Scannell into the game. Steer was called upon twice after the half hour mark to spring from his line and deny Le Fondre shooting opportunities as he ran onto balls over the top.
However, Wolves did look a little shaky when pressed in possession in their defensive third and Town still had two half chances before the interval.
First Bunn robbed left back Scott Golbourne of possession and passed to Miller in the area, whose tame effort was easily saved.
Then Carayol picked out the excellent forward run of Huws to put the Wales international into the left channel. Emyr entered the box and checked onto his right foot to make room for a shot, but his effort was too close to Martinez.
Wolves came out of the interval on top and should have doubled the advantage in the 53rd minute. Huws couldn’t control Davidson’s firm pass and that allowed Afobe to nick the ball and set Iorfa down the right. His cross looked perfect for James Henry to head home, but somehow the winger managed to glance the ball wide from a matter of feet.
Chris Powell introduced Nahki Wells just after before the hour mark, but the change signalled Wolves’ best period of the game. Henry tested Steer from range before Le Fondre shot over from a decent position inside the box.
Every promising Wolves attack came down the Town left and after a spell of sustained pressure, it was no surprise when the hosts made it 2-0. Davidson played Le Fondre onside as the ball came over the top and the striker calmly picked out ex-Town loanee Afobe in the middle, who tapped home past a diving Steer.
It could have been three two minutes later, only for the referee to surprise anyone. Davidson’s horrible back-pass put Le Fondre in on goal and it looked like Steer brought down the striker as he went around him, but the man in the middle gave the Terriers a free-kick and booked the forward for simulation!
Henry hit a free-kick wide soon after as Wolves continued to press before Town mustered their best chance of the half. Wells received a pass inside the left edge of the box and fired across goal left footed, but somehow Martinez got across and pushed it away excellently.
Instead it was Wolves that scored again when a simple ball played around the corner from substitute Dave Edwards set Afobe sprinting clear of Elliott Ward and, to be fair to the striker, he finished excellently past Steer and into the bottom corner.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Jed Steer; Jason Davidson, Joel Lynch, Elliott Ward, Martin Cranie; Emyr Huws (Jonathan Hogg, 80), Dean Whitehead (c); Mustapha Carayol (Nahki Wells, 58), Harry Bunn (Jamie Paterson, 80), Sean Scannell; Ishmael Miller
Lloyd Allinson, Tommy Smith, Mark Hudson, Philip Billing
Martin Cranie (20); Dean Whitehead (90)