Wolves 2 (McAlinden 5, Sako 63)
Walsall 2 (Hemmings 53, Hewitt 85)
Wolves win penalty shoot-out 4-2
After twice leading this Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against Walsall, Wolves had to rely on a penalty shoot-out to progress to the second round of the competition.
made his full debut against the team he spent a loan spell with last season, and there was also first starts for Jack Price and Liam McAlinden whilst Academy graduate Ibrahim Keita was named as a substitute.
Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Bank end and some determined football from Kevin McDonald saw him holding off a strong challenge before feeding Björn Sigurdarson on the right. The striker delivered a low cross that was pounced on by Bakary Sako who turned his marker before shooting high over the bar.
McAlinden celebrated his selection by giving Wolves a fifth minute lead. Matt Doherty took a perfectly weighted return pass from Price before crossing low from the right for McAlinden to turn the ball home from six yards.
As the game settled down Wanderers carried the greater threat although for a 15 minute period there was little to concern either keeper.
There was chance when Sako raced into the Walsall half and fed McAlinden on the left but the young striker’s return pass was too heavy and Saddlers keeper Richard O’Donnell ran out to claim.
Walsall forced a corner in the 24th minute that was taken by former Molineux youth winger, Ashley Hemmings. The ball was half cleared to Sako on the edge of the box but he shanked his kick sending the ball back into the danger area and Danny Batth had to head clear.
A low Sigurdarson cross was easily claimed by O’Donnell but the keeper had to be at his best to turn away a McAlinden volley at the far post after Sigurdarson had supplied the cross.
A brief spell of Walsall pressure ended when Batth blocked a fierce effort from Romaine Sawyers and, at the other end, McAlinden fired into the side netting after being put through by David Davis.
Just before the break Milan Lalkovic went into the book for a wild retaliatory challenge on Davis.
Half-Time: Wolves 1 Walsall 0
It proved to be the Slovakian’s last action as he was replaced after the interval by Craig Westcarr.
Wolves should have been two up in the 48th minute. McDonald freed Doherty on the overlap and after the defender’s initial cross was cleared back to him, he drove the ball across the Walsall goalmouth with McAlinden failing to get the touch that was all that was needed.
The Walsall fans were celebrating in the 53rd minute as Hemmings sent a powerful header past McCarey after Westcarr had supplied the cross.
Seconds later James Baxendale was inches away from a second with a looping header after a centre from Hemmings.
George Elokobi then limped off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury to be replaced by Richard Stearman.
Wolves won four consecutive corners, all of which were taken by Sako. From the last, Paul Downing appeared to drag Batth to the floor and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Downing was booked and although O’Donnell beat away Sako’s spot kick, the winger followed up to convert the rebound.
Sako almost found the net again with a low shot from fully 40-yards out that whistled inches off target before an effort from Sawyers ballooned wide after hitting Stearman.
In the 74th minute Sako again, this time from just outside the box, let fly and it needed two attempts from O’Donnell before he had the ball under control as Doherty jut failed to get to the rebound.
Walsall appeals for a penalty for handball against Stearman were ignored but Saddlers substitute Troy Hewitt notched a superb equaliser five minutes from time with a first time volley that left McCarey helpless.
The game went to a penalty shoot-out which went Wolves’ way from the off as McCarey dived to his right and pushed away Westcarr’s kick. Sigurdarson converted his penalty and then McCarey, with a brilliant save, turned Andy Taylor’s kick onto the bar. O’Donnell was then booked for dissent.
Sako blasted home his penalty as did Manton for Walsall and then Doherty made it 3-1 to Wolves. Downing needed to score his kick and although he was successful, Davis kept his nerve to beat O’Donnell and complete the victory.
Wolves: McCarey, Doherty, Golbourne, Davis, Elokobi (Stearman 56), Batth (capt), Price, McDonald, McAlinden (Forde 76), Sigurdarson, Sako.
Unused subs: Ikeme, Ebanks-Landell, Keita.
Walsall: O’Donnell, Taylor, Butler (capt), Featherstone, A. Chambers, Lalkovic (Westcarr 45), Hemmings (Mantom 81), Downing, J. Chambers, Baxendale (Hewitt 76), Sawyers.
Unused subs: Purkiss, Roberts.
Bookings: Lalkovic (45 – retaliatory challenge), Downing (63 – foul), O’Donnell (shoot-out – dissent).
Referee: D. Deadman.