Wolves 2 (Doyle 7, Henry 80)
Whilst they didn’t have everything their own way, Wolves ground out a 2-0 victory over Stevenage in the first ever meeting of the two clubs. Kevin Doyle made the early breakthrough but it wasn’t until ten minutes from the end that James Henry gave his side a little breathing space.
There were two changes to the home starting line-up with Björn Sigurdarson and Doyle coming in for Leigh Griffiths, who took a place on the bench, and the injured Kevin McDonald.
The visitors kicked-off attacking the South Bank end but they were soon forced back and with less than three minutes on the clock Filipe Morais was booked for deliberate hand ball outside the Boro area. Henry’s free-kick just cleared the angle.
From Stevenage’s first attack of note, Morais’s cross was headed behind by Samuel Ricketts and, from Michael Doughty’s corner Jon Ashton headed well wide.
Wolves moved into the lead in the seventh minute as Doyle was in the right place to turn home Bakary Sako’s low cross from the right.
There was almost a second a minute later as Sigurdarson was just beaten to Ashton’s back header by keeper Chris Day.
Richard Stearman, who was playing in the centre of defence with Ricketts at right-back, made a timely challenge to deny Francois Zoko a clear sight of goal and when Stevenage threatened again, Carl Ikeme had to dive full length to save Luke Freeman’s drive from the edge of the box.
After Doyle had played a Henry cross back into the goalmouth, Sigurdarson acrobatically hooked the ball wide before a Sako corner was headed out to Henry whose curling shot was well saved by Day.
Ikeme got his fingertips to a long range effort from Greg Tansey and after Sako had fired wide at the other end, Tansey threatened again with a header from Morais’s centre that was inches wide.
A teasing cross from Henry went to Sako on the far side of the area but his angled shot was blocked. Sako then returned the favour by setting up Henry who hit a powerful shot over the bar.
Just before the break a Ricketts cross fell to Lee Evans. His first shot was blocked and when the ball rebounded to the Welsh midfielder his second effort was cleared off the line by Jimmy Smith.
Half-Time: Wolves 2 Stevenage 0
Boro started the second half on the front foot and after Doughty had drilled a shot just off target, Sigurdarson had to nod a Jones header off the like following a Stevenage corner.
Play swept straight to the other end and it was Sigurdarson that was in the limelight again as he just failed to get a foot to a low cross from Henry.
In the 62nd minute the Icelandic striker was replaced by Griffiths who just seconds after his introduction just failed to make proper contact with a diving header after yet another Henry centre.
Griffiths’s then cut in from the right but his pull back was diverted away by Day’s arm as Doyle lay in wait before Danny Batth went into the book for pulling back Doughty.
Ikeme then pulled off a marvellous save to maintain his side’s advantage. A deep ball was planted into the home area and Zoko looked odds on to score as Morais headed down to him. Not only did Ikeme block but he quickly pounced on the loose ball.
Within a minute Morais missed a golden opportunity when he headed wide from in front of goal after a cross from Freeman.
Ashton managed to hook clear a through ball from Evans that would have left Griffiths through on goal. But, on 80 minutes, Wolves got a second as Henry beat the offside trap as he ran onto Evans through ball before carefully picking his spot and slotting past Day (pictured).
Zoko had the chance of pulling one back shortly afterwards but he prodded the ball wide from close quarters.
On 83 minutes Jamie O’Hara replaced Sako for his first senior football of the season. There were a few boos as he ran on but they were almost drowned out by cheering and warm applause.
In the closing stages there was a booking for Evans after a foul on Smith, and Doyle fired over after Henry brilliantly beat two defenders near the corner flag before running along the by-line and cutting the ball back to the Irish striker.
Wolves: Ikeme, Stearman, Golbourne, Evans, Batth, Ricketts (capt), Henry, Davis, Doyle, Sigurdarson (Griffiths 61), Sako (O’Hara 83).
Unused subs: Edwards, Forde, Cassidy, Ebanks-Landell, McCarey.
Bookings: Batth (72 – foul), Evans (88 – foul).
Stevenage: Day, Ashton (capt), Jones, Morais (Tounkara 81), Zoko, Heslop, Freeman, Tansey (Parrett 90+1), Smith, Doughty (Andrade 88) , Hartley.
Unused subs: Arnold, Wedgbury, Burrow, Deacon.
Booking: Morais (7 – deliberate handling)
Referee: K. Wright.