Swindon Town 1 (M. Smith 74)
Wolves 4 (Sako 9, 34, Dicko 19, Clarke 90+3)
Wolves took another step towards promotion as they beat Swindon Town by 4-1 and created a club record by winning their ninth consecutive League game.
The Molineux men were in devastating form in the first half as they moved into a three goal lead. Town were a much better side after the break and they deservedly pulled a goal back before substitute Leon Clarke wrapped things up in stoppage time.
Wanderers were unchanged for the fifth consecutive game on their first visit to the County Ground since March 2000. Town were captained by former Molineux defender Darren Ward.
Wolves kicked-off defending the open end of the ground which housed 2,000 of their supporters and there was some patient play from Kenny Jackett’s men in the opening stages without home keeper Tyrell Belford coming under any real threat.
It was in the seventh minute that the Swindon keeper breathed a sigh of relief as James Henry hit a left foot drive a foot or so wide.
Just minute later Wolves were ahead and Henry was the man who supplied the ammunition with a great cross that Bakary Sako nodded over the line at the back post.
Alex Prichard drew a good save from Carl Ikeme with a rising shot from 20-yards and when Samuel Ricketts fouled Pritchard shortly afterwards, wide on the left, the Town man fired in the free-kick which was headed clear by Sako.
After 18 minutes Wolves were a few inches away from a second. Sako’s superb through ball found Nouha Dicko on the right and when he pulled the ball back for Henry the winger hammered the ball against the near post with an angled effort.
Just a minute later after another great ball from Sako picked out Dicko who checked inside his marker before shooting past the exposed Belford to put Wolves two up.
Pritchard was by far Swindon’s best player and he did well to get a cross in from the by-line that was headed over by Michael Smith.
It was Pritchard again, with a low drive, that tested Ikeme and as Town desperately tried to get back into the game, a shot from Smith hit team-mate Dany N’Guessan and bounced to safety.
Sako did well as he beat his marker on a run to the by-line but his driven cross was cut out by Belford at the near post.
There was a moment of danger for the visitors as a Nathen Byrne centre went across the face of goal just in front of Smith with Danny Batth clearing at the expense of a corner.
Pritchard’s corner was headed out to Michael Jacobs and from deep inside his own half he planted a lovely ball in front of Sako who drew Belford from his line before slotting home a third goal (pictured).
Ikeme made a comfortable save from a Pritchard free-kick before, in the final minute of the half, Ricketts lifted the ball over the bar after he had run onto a short pass from Dicko.
Half-Time: Swindon 0 Wolves 3
Swindon made a change at the start of the new half with George Barker replacing N’Guessan and in the 53rd minute another switch saw Louis Thompson taking the place of Yaser Kasim.
Prichard, who looked dangerous every time he went forward, fired narrowly wide and then Thompson drove a cross through the six-yard box that needed just a touch from a home player to register a first of the evening for Town.
A third change for the home side saw Jack Barthram replacing Byrne.
Kevin McDonald hit a rising shot over the far angle after he took a short pass from Sako, and at the other end Massimo Luongo blazed over the bar from the edge of the box after Smith had laid the ball into his path.
Three bookings followed in quick succession – Henry after clipping the heels of Pritchard, Barthram for a foul on Scott Golbourne and Dicko for a shove on Raphael Rossi-Branco.
In the 74th minute Wolves conceded their first goal from open play, and only the second in the nine game run, when Smith converted from close range after taking a pass from Pritchard.
Ikeme then failed to get his hands to an inswinging corner from Pritchard before the ball drifted out of play not far wide of the far post, before Clarke was sent on for Dicko.
The final few minutes could have been pretty nervy ones for the travelling fans if Jay McEveley’s header had gone in after he had met a Barthram centre. But the ball bounced against the bar and down into the grateful arms of Ikeme.
Rossi-Branco was yellow carded after a foul on Sako that provoked an angry reaction from the winger who was spoken to by the referee.
Deep into stoppage time Clarke eased any fears by hitting Wolves’ fourth. He beat Rossi-Branco as he ran into the box and clipped the ball over Belford from an acute angle right in front of the delighted fans in the away end.
Town: Belford, Byrne (Barthram 57), Luongo, Harley, Pritchard, N’Guessan (Barker 45), McEveley, Kasim (Thompson 53), Ward (capt), M. Smith, Rossi-Branco.
Unused subs: Bedwell, A. Smith, Gladwin, Randall.
Bookings: Barthram (65 – foul), Rossi-Branco (90 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme, Golbourne, Ricketts (capt), McDonald, Batth, Stearman, Jacobs, Price (Edwards 76), Dicko (Clarke 81), Henry, Sako (Ethan-Ebanks Landell 90+4).
Unused subs: McCarey, Doherty, Elokobi, McAlinden.
Bookings: Henry (64 – foul), Dicko (69 – ungentlemanly conduct).
Attendance: 9,670 (2,140 away supporters)
Referee: I. Williamson.