Wolves 2 (Ebanks-Blake 75, Doyle 78)
Bristol City 1 (Davis-og 24)
Staring defeat in the face after a disastrous own goal had given fellow relegation rivals Bristol City the lead, Wolves hit back to record a crucial victory with Man of the Match Stephen Hunt opening up the way for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Kevin Doyle to grab well taken strikes.
There were three changes to the starting line-up with Jack Robinson returning for the suspended Stephen Ward. Doyle came in and took the captain’s armband from Karl Henry who was named a substitute and there was a start for David Davis with Jake Cassidy dropping out.
City kicked-off attacking the North Bank end but the first chance went Wolves’ way as Doyle chased a ball that looked like it was going out before cutting in from the left and hitting a low centre that flew through the six-yard box and out on the far side.
The alarm bells sounded for Wanderers in the eighth minute as Steven Davies beat the offside trap and ran unchallenged into the right of the home area before shooting wide of the far post.
City midfielder Paul Anderson was hurt in a challenge with Robinson and after treatment it was clear that he wouldn’t be able to continue and he was replaced by Albert Adomah.
The Robins took a 24th minute lead in bizarre circumstances as Davis rolled a pass back to Carl Ikeme from just outside the box and the keeper let the ball go through his legs and over the line.
As Wolves tried to hit back, Dave Edwards saw his shot on the turn deflected over the bar after Roger Johnson had headed down a Bakary Sako corner. Sako’s second flag-kick curled out of play just beyond the far post.
A minute later Sako pulled up as he ran onto a Doyle pass with what turned out to be a hamstring injury. He was quickly replaced by Hunt.
Wolves luck was summed up when Ebanks-Blake pulled the ball back from the by-line to Doyle whose shot hit Liam Fontaine and rebounded back onto the striker before ballooning back over the bar.
As if things weren’t bad enough, Edwards limped off seven minutes before the break with a foot injury. Bjorn Sigurdarson was sent on in his place.
Kaspars Gorkss blocked a low effort from Adomah and, in stoppage time, Ebanks-Blake volleyed over from outside the area after Doyle had headed the ball down.
Half-Time: Wolves 0 City 1
Ikeme didn’t return after the break as he was suffering from a hand injury that he picked up in the first period. Dorus De Vries took over in goal.
Johnson nodded a Jamie O’Hara corner back into the goalmouth but the ball was cleared after a brief scramble. It appeared that a defender turned the ball behind but, to the dismay of the Wolves team, the referee awarded a goal kick.
Ebanks-Blake had a shot blocked in a congested area and when Sigurdarson’s shot forced a routine save from City keeper Tom Heaton, it sparked some ironic cheers from sections of the crowd.
Sigurdarson then shot over after Ebanks-Blake headed back a cross from Hunt before City skipper Marvin Elliott was way off target with a free header in a rare City attack.
A sweeping pass from Davis played Matt Doherty in to the right of the City goal and his driven cross was cleared from under the bar by Fontaine.
A superb finish from Ebanks-Blake saw Wolves drawing level with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining. With his back to goal, he let Hunt’s cross roll off his chest before swivelling and smashing the ball past Heaton.
The striker had the ball in the net again two minutes later but the flag was already up for offside. But seconds later the crowd went wild as Doyle beat Heaton with one that did count.
Again Hunt, whose natural exuberance had shone through after the interval, was the creator with a cross from the left that was despatched by Doyle with a neat glancing header. What the goal meant to the players was evident from their celebrations and Doyle was shown a yellow card after a perfect volley on the corner flag as he ran into the crowd.
Sigurdarson almost made it 3-1 in the 83rd minute with a terrific cross-shot that Heaton beat away at his near post.
There was only one real score for the home fans in the dying minutes and that came when Adomah took the ball to the by-line before driving a low cross through the heart of the goalmouth with no-one able to get a touch.
Wolves: Ikeme (De Vries 45), Doherty, Robinson, Edwards (Sigurdarson 38), Gorkss, Johnson, O’Hara, Davis, Doyle (capt), Ebanks-Blake, Sako (Hunt 31).
Unused subs: Henry, Batth, Doumbia, Foley.
Booking: Doyle (78 – goal celebration).
City: Heaton, Elliott (capt), Anderson (Adomah 16), Skuse, Davies, Pearson (Baldock 81), Cunningham, Kelly (Kilkenny 85), Moloney, Nyatanga, Fontaine.
Unused subs: Gerken, Howard, Wilson, Bates.
Referee: G. Eltringham.
Stoke City Under 18s 0 Wolves 0