Wolves 3 (Ward 8, Ebanks-Blake 61, Edwards 70)
Barnsley 1 (Cywka 79)
After nine months without a League win at Molineux, Wolves cruised to a 3-1 victory over Barnsley to kick-start their campaign after the disappointing opening at Leeds.
Wolves kicked off attacking the South Bank end and they made a bright start forcing much of the early attacking play. Kevin Doyle allowed a low fourth minute corner taken by Matt Jarvis to go through his legs to Roger Johnson who saw his deflection saved by keeper David Gonzalez.
A Jarvis cross was punched off the head of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake by Gonzales seconds before the striker played his part in Wolves moving into an eighth minute lead as Stephen Ward ran onto his perfectly weighted return pass and steered the ball into the net.
Former Molineux striker Craig Davies fired narrowly wide with a low drive from the edge of the area before a flowing Wolves move saw Jarvis sprinting out of defence and pushing a pass to Slawomir Peszko. The Pole’s superb crossfield ball fell to Ward whose low cross was cut out by the keeper as Doyle lay in wait.
Another end to end move saw Ward and Doyle combining with Doyle’s cross headed behind by a defender before Ebanks-Blake could take advantage.
Ward’s speed took him into the Barnsley box but he lifted his shot over the bar then, from a Jarvis corner, Gonzales once again punched clear as Ebanks-Blake homed in.
Thomasz Cykwa was booked for a late challenge on Tongo Doumbia who, with Karl Henry, was bossing the midfield.
Six minutes before the break, Doyle tested Gonzales with a fierce drive that had the Columbian keeper at full stretch.
Half-Time: Wolves 1 Barnsley 0
Kelvin Etuhu headed straight at Carl Ikeme after a cross from Davies shortly after the restart. Then one time Wolves loanee Marlon Harewood was uncomfortably close with a powerful drive.
But Wolves were soon back on the attack and Jarvis played a smart return pass to Ward whose cross was booted clear.
Wanderers went two up in the 61st minute after some interplay between Henry and Doyle with the last named playing a perfect pass for Ebanks-Blake to beat the offside trap, control the ball, and shoot past Gonzalez. The referee consulted his linesman before confirming the goal was legal.
Three minutes later, Ebanks-Blake was replaced by Björn Sigurdarson and Henry by Dave Edwards.
As Wolves continued to dominate, it was no surprise when the third goal went in. Peszko crossed from the right and Edwards was perfectly positioned to head home from eight yards.
Ståle Solbakken made a final change when Doumbia left the field to a huge ovation. His place was taken by David Davis.
Eleven minutes from the end, Barnsley pulled one back when Davies’s pass found Cywka unmarked in the area and he shot low past Ikeme.
Edwards was incensed when he was barged over by Davies who continued his run before shooting over. The midfielder remonstrated with the referee that he had been fouled and he certainly looked to have a case.
Twice in the closing minutes, the hard working Doyle had the chance of grabbing a fourth goal. He glanced a header inches over the bar following a Jarvis free kick and then shot wide of the far post from the narrowest of angles.
Wolves: Ikeme, Zubar, Ward, Henry (capt) (Edwards 64), Berra, Johnson, Peszko, Doumbia (Davis 74), Ebanks-Blake (Sigurdarson 64), Doyle, Jarvis.
Unused subs: Stearman, Nouble, Forde, De Vries.
Barnsley: Gonzalez, Hassell (Crainie 66), Golbourne, Foster, Davies, Perkins (capt) (Dawson 51), Wiseman, Mellis, Etuhu, Cywka, Harewood (Dagnall 57).
Unused subs: Likadevicius, Collins, Clark, Rose.
Booking: Cywka (30 – foul).
Referee: P. Gibbs.