Bristol City 1 (Emmanuel-Thomas 53)
Wolves 2 (Sako 22, Doherty 85)
After a dominant first-half performance against Bristol City, Wolves should have been more than a Bakary Sako free-kick to the good at the break.
But Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’s 53rd minute equaliser gave the home team heart and it took a scrappy winner from Matt Doherty shortly before the end to give Wolves the three points they deserved.
Wanderers were unchanged with new signing Kevin McDonald named as a substitute as City kicked-off attacking the end of Ashton Gate that housed over 2,000 travelling fans.
The opening minutes belonged to Wolves and after a miscued effort from Sako had been cleared, Lee Evans fired over with a shot on the turn after Doherty had headed back Zeli Ismail’s corner.
City keeper Frank Fielding was at full stretch as he turned away a tremendous 30-yard snapshot from Leigh Griffiths and then an awful ball from Neil Kilkenny went behind for a the first of consecutive corners taken by Ismail and then Sako.
The home defence struggled to get the ball clear and when it was eventually played out as far as Sako he struck a shot from 20-yards that was comfortably taken by Fielding.
Kevin Doyle used his undoubted skills to beat two men on the Wolves left. He was fouled by Kilkenny as he was about to enter the home area but, from Ismail’s free-kick, the ball was booted clear.
Emmanuel –Thomas was hopelessly wide as he tried to catch Carl Ikeme out from the edge of the centre circle before, on 15 minutes, City’s first real moment of danger saw Scott Wagstaff’s short, low cross that was turned behind at the near post by Richard Stearman.
Derrick Williams pulled Doyle back just outside the City area and after the defender had been booked, Sako hit a cracking free-kick past Fielding and into the net.
Wolves continued to dominate and after another Ismail corner, Stearman had a shot blocked and a Danny Batth header, following Sako’s corner, drifted a foot wide of the far post.
Wagstaff shot straight at Ikeme in a rare home attack before Fielding pulled out another excellent save as he turned over a dipping half volley from Doyle from fully 30-yards out.
Half-Time: City 0 Wolves 1
Five minutes after the break, Doyle was inches wide with a drive that took a deflection, and then Ismail’s persistence saw him winning possession and feeding Doherty whose cross was turned behind for an unproductive corner.
From nowhere, City drew level in the 53rd minute. Stearman appeared to slip as he challenged Sam Baldock to the right of the Wanderers box. The home skipper played the ball back to Emmanuel =-Thomas who sidefooted it past Ikeme from just outside the box.
The goal clearly rattled Wolves and after David Davis had been booked for a foul on Wagstaff, Ikeme, with a double save, kept the visitors on a level footing.
The keeper turned aside a powerful effort for Baldock and then tipped over a piledriver from the same player after the Wolves defence failed to clear their lines.
Midway through the half Kenny Jackett made a double switch wirh Björn Sigurdarson coming on for Griffiths and Jake Cassidy for Ismail.
Just seconds after his introduction, Sigurdarson was booked for a foul on Joe Bryan.
Fielding pulled off a reflex save to push away a first time effort from Doyle after Sako had carved out the opening, and then Brendan Maloney was booked after he had clipped Doherty who was taking the ball out of defence.
With five minutes left, Wolves regained the lead. Sako crossed from the left and Doherty, from the edge of the box, appeared to scuff his shot but it was enough to beat Fielding with Doyle and Aden Flint following in to make sure, or hopefully clear, respectively (pictured).
McDonald made his debut for Wolves when he replaced Doyle for the final few minutes.
Emmanuel-Thomas cut in and fired over the bar as City looked to hit back and, in stoppage time, Cassidy almost added a third as he beat Williams but then sent the loose ball over with the goal at his mercy.
City: Fielding, Maloney, Williams, Flint, Kilkenny (Bryan 35), Baldock (capt), Emmanuel-Thomas, Wagstaff, Wynter, Cunningham (Harewood 87), Pack (Elliott 60).
Unused subs: Parish, Fontaine, Reid, Burns.
Bookings: Williams (21 – foul), Maloney (75 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Ricketts (capt), Evans, Stearman, Batth, Ismail (Cassidy 65), Davis, Doyle (McDonald 85), Griffiths (Sigurdarson 65), Sako.
Unused subs: McCarey,Elokobi, Price, Foley.
Bookings: Davis (62 – foul), Sigurdarson (66 – foul), Doherty (85 – goal celebration).
Referee: D. Sheldrake.
Attendance: 14,393 (2,250) away fans.