Wolves 1 (Mason 66)
Preston North End 2 (Gallagher 17, Reach 53)
Joe Mason’s goal midway through the second-half wasn’t enough to prevent a disappointing defeat against Preston in front of a disgruntled home support.
Jack Price returned to the starting eleven in place of Kevin McDonald as the only change to Kenny Jackett’s team.
Preston kicked-off attacking the South Bank end on a bitterly cold and windy afternoon and the first chance fell to the Lancashire side when Adam Reach sent in a low cross from the by-line.
Joe Garner ran in at the near post but he couldn’t get a clean strike of the ball as it bounced and Carl Ikeme made a comfortable save.
Bjorn Sigurdarson’s pace saw him force a corner for Wolves but George Saville’s kick was cleared by the visiting defence.
Anders Lindegaard’s attempted clearance from a back pass ballooned behind for a corner but the keeper atoned when he pulled James Henry’s flag-kick out of the air.
Paul Gallagher was only just too high when he ran onto Reach’s low cross and hit a crisp shot from 20-yards. But in Preston’s next attack, in the 17th minute, they took the lead.
Gallagher took a return pass from Garner and lifted the ball into the net despite the best efforts of Matt Doherty to keep it out.
Henry had pulled up just before the goal and he limped off to be replaced by Nathan Byrne before the game restarted.
Wolves were inches away from levelling in the 26th minute after Sigurdarson had been fouled some 22-yards out. Byrne’s free-kick went over the defensive wall and hit the outside of the post with Lindegaard stranded in the middle of his goal.
Rajiv van La Parra was high and wide when he tried his luck from at least 30-yards out, and in first half stoppage time Lindegaard easily dealt with Connor Coady’s bobbling effort.
Half-Time: Wolves 0 Preston 1
Joe Mason was an interval replacement for van La Parra.
Five minutes into the half there was another chance for Byrne to display his dead ball talents after Doherty had been fouled just outside the box but this time the winger’s free-kick bounced to safety off the defensive wall.
In the 53rd minute Preston doubled their lead. Calum Woods fired over a centre from the right and when Ikeme punched the ball out it fell at Reach’s feet and he rammed it into the back of the net from 15-yards.
Wolves pulled a goal back in the 66th minute when Mason ran onto Coady’s through ball and by-passed Lindegaard before forcing home a right foot shot as he ran across the face of the goal (pictured).
Saville’s free-kick from wide on the right, after Daniel Johnson’s foul on Byrne, was cleared with ease before Dominic Iorfa jinked his was into the Preston box after claiming a Coady through ball. The defender was looking to get a shot away when he was crowded out by three defenders.
Sigurdarson just failed to make contact with a diving header as a cross-shot from Byrne flew through the box, before Tommy Rowe replaced Saville for the closing stages.
The three minutes of added time saw little to encourage a bitterly disappointed home crowd on what was, for them, an afternoon to forget.
Wolves: Ikeme, Iorfa, Doherty, Saville (Rowe 85), Batth (capt), Ebanks-Landell, van La Parra (Mason 45), Coady, Sigurdarson, Price, Henry (Byrne 18).
Unused subs: Martinez, McDonald, Deslandes, Le Fondre.
Preston: Lindegaard, Cunningham, Clarke (capt), Wright, Johnson, Gallagher (Welsh 67), Garner, Woods, Browne, Huntington, Reach. (Doyle 85)
Unused subs: Kirkland, Vermijl, Kilkenney, Hugill, Robinson.
Referee: K. Johnson.