Cardiff City 3 (Whittingham 11-pen, 14, 65)
Wolves 1 (Sako 10)
After Bakary Sako had followed up his wonder strike at Northampton with another superb effort to give Wolves an early lead on their first visit to the Cardiff City Stadium, Bluebirds winger Peter Whittington took centre stage with a hat-trick that condemned the visitors to defeat.
Carl Ikeme was the only member of the side to have started the cup tie three days earlier as Sako made his full debut. Kevin Doyle was named as captain for the first time.
Inside the first two minutes Ikeme had to dive at the feet of Craig Noone before Wolves won two corners, both taken by Sako. From the second Christophe Berra’s glancing header was deflected into the arms of City keeper David Marshall.
The Bluebirds responded with two corners of their own, taken by Whittingham, and from his second flag-kick the ball was headed out to Noone who hit a fierce drive that was brilliantly parried by Ikeme.
Wolves took a short-lived lead in the tenth minute as Sako drilled home a 30-yard free-kick from the right that flew past the startled Marshall.
Just seconds after the restart Ronald Zubar tripped Noone as he ran into the left of the Wolves box and Whiitingham made no mistake with the resultant spot kick.
Worse followed three minutes later as Nicky Maynard’s low cross ran through to Whittingham who hit a daisy cutter into the corner of the net from just outside the area.
Jordon Mutch was shown the yellow card after he had clattered into Tongo Doumbia before Marshall was forced into a full length save after Doyle got his head to Slawomir Peszko’s centre.
The game was being played at a lively pace and Cardiff were close to a third goal when Tommy Smith cut in from the right and curled a shot narrowly wide.
Stephen Ward and Doumbia opened up a chance for Dave Edwards but his shot was blocked at close range by a defender in the Cardiff box, and then Sylvan Ebanks-Blake drove narrowly wide of the far post.
In the 44th minute, Marshall did well to turn aside a low effort from Ebanks-Blake. The ball ran along the face of goal and out to Sako who returned it into the heart of the area where a defender was on hand to boot clear.
In stoppage time Noone ran from the edge of his own area to the opposite 18-yard line where his stinging shot bringing the best out of Ikeme.
Half-Time: Cardiff 2 Wolves 1
Ebanks-Blake went into the book shortly after the break after he fouled Kevin McNaughton two yards outside the Wolves area. Whittingham’s free-kick had Ikeme at full stretch as he turned the ball behind for a corner.
A mistake by Sako then led to McNaughton making inroads on the visitors goal and luckily for Wanderers his fierce shot bounced clear off Berra.
But the relief for Wolves proved to be temporary and Whittingham completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute with a sweetly struck free-kick after Sako had fouled Noone four-yards outside the area.
Wolves tried desperately to get back into the game and City skipper Mark Hudson had to head over his own bar to clear a cross from Peszko before Ståle Solbakken made a double switch sending on Frank Nouble for Edwards and Richard Stearman for Zubar.
After Ikeme had made another fine save, this time from substitute Don Cowie’s low drive, there was a third Wolves change with Anthony Forde replacing Peszko.
Four minutes from the end, Doumbia worked a shooting position for himself but Hudson managed to block before, in stoppage time, Ward got across in a nick of time to clear after a lucky bounce had given Heidar Helguson a clear sight at goal.
Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson (capt), Whittingham, Connolly, Smith, Noone (Cowie 73), Mutch (Gunnarsson 59), Helguson, Maynard (Mason 68).
Unused subs: Lewis, Velikonja, Bo-Kyung, Nugent.
Booking: Mutch (17 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme, Zubar (Stearman 73), Ward, Edwards (Nouble 73), Johnson, Berra, Peszko (Forde 84), Doumbia, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle (capt), Sako.
Unused subs: De Vries, Elokobi, Batth, Davis.
Booking: Ebanks-Blake (49 – foul).
Referee: A. D’Urso.