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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
12:28 24th February 2015

Sako Sinks Fulham

Wolves 3 (Batth 10, Sako 40, 45+2)

Fulham 0

Another home win and another clean sheet for Wolves as a Danny Batth header and a brace from Bakary Sako, all in the opening half, put paid to Fulham’s challenge and maintained Wolves’ push to get into a play-off position.

Kenny Jackett made just the one change to his team with Jack Price, having recovered from illness, coming in for James Henry who was named as a substitute.

Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Bank end and after some initial jousting it was Fulham that posed the first threat through Bryan Ruiz who burst into the area only to lose possession after a well-timed tackle from Batth.

The skipper was soon in action at the other end as he gave Wolves a tenth minute lead. Dominic Iorfa won a corner that was taken by Sako and Batth rose at the near post to power home a header (pictured).

From the restart Seiko Fofana won possession and he dribbled into the home area before hitting a shot on the turn wide of the mark.

In the 15th minute Wolves were a whisker away from would have been a fantastic goal. Nouha Dicko thumped a cross to Scott Golbourne on the far side of the box and he hit a first time return into the path of Sako whose volley was pushed away by Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Fofana wasn’t far off an equaliser with a drive from 25-yards that took a deflection off one of his own players and flew just wide with Tomasz Kuszczak struggling to get across his line.

Fulham started to exert some pressure on the home defence and the lively Fofana hit a crisp shot from outside the area that had power but went straight to Kuszczak.

The Cottagers should have been level on 33 minutes after a smart move involving Ruiz and Hugo Rodallega left Ross McCormack with a clear sight of goal. But, from just ten yards out, his shot lacked power and Kuszczak was able to dive and save.

The tension eased in the 40th minute as Sako doubled his side’s advantage with one of his specials. He picked the ball up on the edge of the Fulham area and struck a low shot into the far corner of the net.

Just before the break Dicko broke away on the right and cut inside before hitting a fierce cross-shot that Bettinelli beat away at his near post.

There was still time for another attack and Sako made it three as he jinked between Jazz Richards and Shaun Hutchinson before burying an angled left foot shot past Botticelli.

Half-Time: Wolves 3 Fulham 0

Price, with a superb cross-field pass, gave the Sako the chance to lift over a centre that flew dangerously across the goalmouth before being headed behind for a corner.

Sako’s kick was half cleared and when Richard Stearman won possession he was urged by the crowd to shoot which he did – albeit a tad too high!

Both sides then made changes as Sean Kavanagh replaced Fofana for the visitors, and Rajiv van La Parra took the place of Sako who looked to be ok but went straight down the tunnel with the club doctor.

Kuszczak appeared to be barged in mid-air by Rodallega as he went to catch a deep cross from Kavanagh. There was no whistle and, after a brief scramble, the keeper dived to save after Ryan Tunnicliffe’s low shot bounced off Golbourne.

After Henry had been sent on for Dicko, Benik Afobe’s persistence was almost rewarded with a goal as he cut inside Kostas Stafylidis and hit a shot that Bettinelli just managed to keep out.

Dave Edwards bulleted a header over the bar following a corner from Henry, and Kuszczak saved with his legs after Kavanagh had worked his way into the box.

Kevin Doyle came on for the last few minutes in place of Afobe and just before the final whistle Bettinelli needed two attempts to hold on to Kevin McDonald’s 25-yard punt at goal.

Wolves: Kuszczak, Golbourne, Iorfa, Edwards, Batth (capt), Stearman, Price, McDonald, Afobe (Doyle 81), Dicko (Henry 70), Sako (van La Parra 67).

Unused subs: Flatt, Doherty, Ebanks-Landell, Hause.

Fulham: Bettinelli, Stafylidis, Hutchinson, Bodurov, Ruiz, Fofana (Kavanagh 57), Tunnicliffe, Rodallega (Woodrow 81), Christensen, Richards, McCormack (capt).

Unused subs: Kiraly, Hoogland, Parker, Kacaniklic, Burn.

Referee: G. Salisbury.

Attendance: 17,744. 

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