Wolves 2 (Edwards 28, Evans 56)
Preston North End 0
Goals from Welsh midfielders Dave Edwards and Lee Evans gave Wolves a fully deserved victory over an in form Preston team that had been closing down on the promotion places at the top of League One in recent weeks.
There were three changes from the side that started at Gillingham. Richard Stearman, Leigh Griffiths and Evans returned with Kevin Doyle, George Elokobi and Bakary Sako dropping down to the bench. Aaron McCarey
maintained his place in goal.
Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Bank end and the early minutes saw the Molineux men pushing forwards albeit without creating any clear cut chances.
Samuel Ricketts did take advantage of a lucky bounce but his goal attempt from the bye-line was both high and wide.
The game was in its tenth minute before McCarey got his first feel of the ball and that was from a lofted cross.
A fine crossfield pass from James Henry picked up Ricketts on the far side and from his cross Evans headed wide.
A Preston corner, the first of the game, was taken by Iain Hume and cleared by Scott Golbourne before, midway through the half, Edwards almost broke the deadlock. The midfielder ran onto Griffiths’s short through pass and clipped the wall towards goal only for Jack King to clear off the line.
The Preston defence struggled to get the ball away and when it fell to Kevin McDonald some 20-yards out, his shot looked destined for the net until King again saved the day for the visitors by heading clear.
Seconds later, in the 19th minute, the ball was in McCarey’s net after Hume had tucked away a cross from Paul Gallagher but the flag was up for offside.
Griffiths was booked for a challenge on King shortly before Wolves moved into a 28th minute lead.
Griffiths looked to be barged over in the box by King but the referee ignored the penalty appeals. Seconds later, Kevin McDonald played an inch perfect through ball to Edwards who clipped the ball past Preston keeper Declan Rudd (pictured).
The visitors almost drew level within three minutes when Joe Garner chipped the ball from wide on the left and it struck the underside of the bar before dropping down into the arms of McCarey.
From a Ricketts centre, McDonald’s shot was blocked and when Michael Jacobs latched onto the rebound his effort went over the bar.
Edwards almost added to his tally when he ran onto a Jacobs through ball but Rudd had spotted the danger and he was quickly off his line to block.
Gallagher hoisted a 22-yard free-kick high over the bar after McDonald had harshly been pulled up for a challenge on Lee Holmes, and the half finished with Griffiths diverting the ball in to the arms of Rudd as he stretched to reach a long through ball.
Half-Time: Wolves 1 Preston 0
The opening stages of the second-half saw Wolves continue to have the best of things although the offside flag thwarted two promising moves. Neil Kilkenny became the first visiting player to go into the book after he had pulled back Golbourne.
In the 58th minute Wolves increased their lead. Griffiths fed Henry who ran into the area before releasing a shot that Rudd could only block. The ball ran invitingly into the path of Evans who gleefully tucked away his second goal of the campaign.
A couple of minutes later it could have been three as Griffiths beat the offside trap as he ran onto a Henry pass. But from 20-yards the Scottish striker fired narrowly over.
A series of substitutions followed. Veteran striker Kevin Davies, and Scott Wiseman replaced Hume and Holmes respectively and, after John Welsh had been booked for a tackle on Jacobs, the first change for Wolves saw David Davis going on for Edwards.
After Welsh had lifted a free-kick over the bar from just outside the box, Griffiths made way for Liam McAlinden.
Preston were close to reducing the deficit in the 76th minute following a Gallagher corner. Wiseman rose to direct a powerful header towards goal but Stearman got his body in the way to block and the danger was cleared.
Gallagher then drew a good save from McCarey at the expense of a corner, before McAlinden took the ball down the right flank and cut inside David Buchanan and a low shot that Rudd claimed at the second attempt.
Garner saw his powerful shot blocked by McDonald and then he was booked for a foul on Stearman.
In stoppage time Henry was too high with a free-kick and then he shot narrowly over having taken the ball from the halfway line before trying his luck.
Wolves: McCarey, Golbourne, Ricketts (capt), McDonald, Batth, Stearman, Henry, Edwards (Davis 59), Griffiths (McAlinden 71), Evans (Elokobi 90), Jacobs.
Unused subs: Hennessey, Sako, Cassidy, Doyle.
Booking: Griffiths (27 – foul).
Preston: Rudd, Clarke, King, Wright, Buchanan, Holmes (Wiseman 59), Welsh (capt) (Brownhill 73), Kilkenny, Gallagher, Hume (Davies 59), Garner.
Unused subs: Stuckmann, Humphrey, Laird, Keane.
Bookings: Kilkenny (55 – foul), Welsh (64 - foul), Garner (90 – foul).
Referee: S. Matthieson.
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