Wolves 3 (Dicko 12, Sako 33, 68)
Blackburn Rovers 1 (Rhodes-pen 59)
Wolves continued their impressive start to the Championship season by securing a hard earned 3-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Molineux thanks to a Nouha Dicko opener and a brace from Bakary Sako.
It didn’t come as a surprise when Kenny Jackett named an unchanged side with summer signings Tommy Rowe and George Saville named as substitutes.
Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Bank end but the opening few minutes belonged to the visitors who had Ben Marshall booked in the third minute after for a dive when Matt Doherty challenged.
A neat piece of interplay saw Wolves taking a 12th minute lead. Dicko won the ball and laid it off to Sako who ran into the box and turned before passing to Kevin McDonald whose pinpoint cross was headed home by Dicko.
Rovers almost grabbed a lucky equaliser three minutes later when Danny Batth’s clearance struck Marshall on the edge of the box with the ball rebounding toward s the home goal and demanding a full length diving save from Carl Ikeme.
Rajiv van La Parra was wide from 20-yards after Sako had laid a square pass into his path before Rovers won two free-kicks in threatening positions. Lee Evans was harshly judged to have fouled Tom Cairney some 25-yards out and when Cairney’s free-kick came back off the wall van La Parra was deemed to have fouled Craig Conway as he attempted to clear the ball.
After the Dutchman had been shown the yellow card, Marshall’s free-kick was turned aside by Ikeme.
After 31 minutes, Evans suddenly let fly from 25-yards and his fierce shot bounced off Rovers keeper Paul Robinson before being cleared.
But Wolves kept their foot on the throttle and a minute later Marshall’s foul on Dave Edwards on the right-hand corner of the Rovers box led to a second goal. Sako took the kick and the ball flew through the crowded area and into the far corner of the net.
Wanderers went close to adding a third goal three times before the interval. Robinson just managed to divert the ball away from Dicko who had chased down Edwards’s through pass, then there was another opportunity for the striker after he had been played in by Sako.
He turned and held off a defender but fired wide before the half ended with van La Parra also shooting off target with a low effort from the edge of the area.
Half-Time: Wolves 2 Rovers 0
James Henry replaced van La Parra at the start of the new half which was 30 second old when Conway lifted a shot over the bar.
Then, in the 47th minute, some superb play saw Wolves inches away from a third with what would have been a contender for Goal of the Season.
Henry worked miracles in keeping the ball in play near the right hand corner flag. He played a short pass to Doherty who pulled the ball back to Evans.
Doherty was in place to take a return pass from the Welshman and he then played a one-two with Dicko before hitting an angled shot that was blocked by Robinson.
The ball bounced back into Doherty’s path and with the outside of his right foot he put the ball just the wrong side of the post. It was a stunning move.
Blackburn began to force Wolves back with a series of attacks and Doherty had to relieve the pressure by conceding a corner which was taken by Conway and collected by Ikeme.
Then, in the 59th minute, Rovers pulled on back when Batth was adjudged to have fouled Jordan Rhodes in the box. The defender looked to have won the ball but protests went unheard and against a background of loud boos, Rhodes sent Ikeme the wrong way from the spot.
Henry and Doherty linked up again with Robinson blocking from Henry at the near post after Doherty had sent in a low cross and Scott Golbourne was close to unlocking the Rovers defence with a ball to Dicko who then fired straight at Robinson.
With the half approaching its midway point, Wolves regained their two goal cushion. Doherty played a forward pass into the box and Dicko took the ball to the bye-line before pulling it back for Sako to find the net from eight-yards (pictured).
Ikeme and Rhodes both needed treatment after a collision and the keeper showed no after effects shortly afterwards was he pulled off a fine athletic save to keep out a piledriver from Conway.
Henry spotted Robinson off his line and chipped over the far angle as Wolves comfortably rode out the closing stages during which both sides used up their allocation of substitutes with Rowe and Saville both coming on to make their debut for the club.
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Golbourne, L. Evans (Saville 79), Batth (capt), Stearman, Van La Parra (Henry 45), Edwards (Rowe 89), Dicko, McDonald, Sako.
Unused subs: McCarey, Henry, Clarke, Ricketts.
Bookings: van La Parra (24 – foul), Saville (90+5 - foul).
Rovers: Robinson, Henley, Hanley (capt), Lowe, Cairney, Rhodes, Marshall (Taylor 73), Baptiste, Williamson (Dunn 73), C. Evans, Conway (Varney 89).
Unused subs: Kilgallon, Brown, Eastwood, O’Connell.
Bookings: Marshall (3 – diving), Cairney (34 – foul), C. Evans (44 – dissent), Hanley (55 – foul), Varney (90+2 foul).
Referee: K. Stroud.
Sunderland Under 18s 2 Wolves 2