Cardiff City 0
Wolves 1 (Sako 26)
Wolves made it three wins in three as Bakary Sako’s first-half strike, his 11th goal of the season, secured victory at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Kourtney Hause and Rajiv van La Parra returned to the starting X1 in place of Scott Golbourne and Nouha Dicko who were both named as substitutes.
Just over 2,000 travelling supporters were seated in a corner of the stadium as Wolves kicked-off.
The first tasks for the visiting defence was to clear two long throws from Aron Gunnarsson. Danny Batth headed away the first and a corner was conceded from the second. It was taken by Peter Whittingham and headed over the bar by Sean Morrison.
Dominic Iorfa was booked for the most innocuous of challenges on Craig Noone to the left of the Wolves box. Whittingham over hit the free-kick and Sako completed the clearance.
Two Sako corners, in the 13th minute, proved fruitless before Eoin Doyle’s cross was deflected onto the roof of Tomasz Kuszczak’s net.
From a Whittingham corner the ball was half cleared to Noone and his low shot took a deflection on its way into the area and Kuszczak had to save at the feet of Bruno Ecuele-Manga.
A great piece of work from Benik Afobe led to Wolves taking a 26th minute lead. The striker held off two challenges as he surged towards the home goal. He then laid a perfect ball into the path of van La Parra and his low cross was turned away from goal by Ecuele-Manga.
But the ball fell nicely into the path of Sako who steamed in and drilled a low, left foot drive into the bottom corner.
A minute later, a foul by Afobe on Gunnarsson on Cardiff’s right flank saw another free-kick from Whittingham that was punched clear by Kuszczak.
In the 42nd minute, Wolves were close to doubling their lead in controversial circumstances. A clearance from Kuszczak went out of play just beyond the halfway line. It was clearly a home throw but Afobe took it and fed Sako who ran on before returning it to Afobe. .
He ran into the box and squared the ball to van La Parra who fired over as he was challenged by a defender. The Cardiff bench made their feelings known to the fourth official when the ball had been cleared.
Just before the break, Doyle tried a shot from just outside the area but it was too high to cause Kuszczak any concern.
Half-Time: City 0 Wolves 1
The opening minutes of the second-half saw a corner from Sako being headed out for a throw on the far side and, when David Edwards had been fouled, Afobe headed wide after Sako had lifted the free-kick into the box.
Kuszczak ran across his goal to take a long-range free-kick from Whittingham who was booked shortly afterwards for tripping Afobe.
Sako’s free-kick deflected off the wall for a corner – again taken by the winger. Batth got a head to the ball and Richard Stearman just failed to get a touch as it went behind at the far post.
On 59 minutes Dicko was sent on in place of van La Parra and, as the action continued to flow from end to end, Kenwyne Jones wasn’t far off with a header following Whittingham’s free-kick.
Iorfa was given a stern ‘last chance’ warning by the referee after he had fouled Noone and almost immediately Kenny Jackett withdrew him and sent on Matt Doherty.
Cardiff substitute Conor McAleny had only been on the pitch for a minute when he hit a suicidal back-pass that left Afobe with a clear sight of goal. But David Marshall had spotted the danger and he was quickly out to block.
In the 65th minute City were reduced to ten men when Whittingham clattered into Doherty and was shown a second yellow card.
Despite the setback, Cardiff pressed hard and Kuszczak’s goal had an escape when efforts from Jones and McAleny were cleared off the line in quick succession by Doherty and Stearman.
Matthew Kennedy had a chance when Gunnarsson’s throw was only half cleared and the ball ran to him on the edge of the box but he failed to make a proper connection and the ball bobbled through to Kuszczak.
Kevin McDonald went into the book for catching Gunnarsson as the pair vied for the ball in the centre circle. Then Kuszczak, who twice needed attention after being barged over in the closing stages, punched out a free-kick from Noone.
It was Noone, in the 87th minute, that delivered a deep cross that Morrison just failed to get a foot to. In the third of the five added minutes, Stearman came to the rescue once again as he headed off the line after a Jones header took a deflection off substitute Ethan Ebanks-Landell.
City: Marshall (capt), Peltier, Ecuele-Manga, Whittingham, Jones, Noone, Doyle (McAleny 63), Connolly, Gunnarsson, Kennedy (Ravell 79), Morrison.
Unused subs: Moore, Macheda, Adeyemi, Ralls, O’Keefe.
Bookings: Whittingham (57 – foul).
Sending-Off: Whittingham (65 – foul, second bookable offence).
Wolves: Kuszczak, Hause, Iorfa (Doherty 61), Edwards, Batth (capt), Stearman, Van La Parra (Dicko 59), McDonald, Afobe (Ebanks-Landell 88), Price, Sako.
Unused subs: McCarey, Golbourne, Henry, Evans.
Bookings: Iorfa (7 – foul), McDonald (74 – foul).
Referee: R. Madley.