Wolves 1 (Mason 15)
Aston Villa 0
There was a real derby atmosphere at Molineux for Aston Villa’s first visit since 2012. And it was Wolves that took the bragging rights thanks to Joe Mason’s 15th minute strike.
There were seven changes from the team that had triumphed at Stoke in the FA Cup a week earlier as Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Bank end.
The first corner of the game went Villa’s way with Danny Batth heading clear Ross McCormack’s flag kick. Wolves responded with a surging run by Nouha Dicko whose shot from the edge of the box bounced clear off a defender.
Wolves’ first corner, taken by Helder Costa, was only half cleared and when Mason returned the ball into the heart of the box Dave Edwards was too high with an attempted scissors kick.
Wolves took the lead in the 15th minute after Dicko had taken a return pass from Costa and fired in a low cross. Sam Johnstone managed to push the ball out but only as far as Mason who guided it back into the empty net (pictured).
There was a moment of danger when Ivan Cavaleiro clipped Albert Adomah to the right of the home area but Costa dropped back to head clear McCormack’s free-kick.
Villa missed the chance of equalising in the 30th minute after Jordan Amavi had run half the length of the field on the left flank and crossed for McCormack who put a free header, from eight yards out, over the bar.
Costa tested Johnstone with an angled drive after he had taken an excellent ball from Dicko, and then James Chester cleared off the line after Costa’s cross had bounced off a defender to Mason.
A long through clearance caught the home defence out and when the bounce took the ball past Carl Ikeme, who had left his area, Adomah looked on to score until Conor Coady got back to control and clear the danger.
Just before the break, Leandro Bacuna was shown the yellow card for tripping Costa.
Half-Time: Wolves 1 Villa 0
Seconds after the restart a mix up in the visiting defence gave Dicko the chance to break into the Villa box but his cross went over the bar.
Villa appeals for a penalty for hands against Edwards after Mile Jedinak’s shot struck him were ignored by the referee and seconds later the Welsh midfielder went down with a head injury after an aerial dual with Jedinak. Edwards disappeared down the tunnel but soon returned after being patched up.
Costa, with a typical burst of speed, took the ball deep into the Villa half before slipping it neatly to Dicko whose low drive was blocked by Johnstone.
Both sides then made a series of substitutions. For Wolves Bright Enobakhare replaced Cavaleiro before Edwards’s injury forced him from the proceedings with George Saville taking his place. The last change saw Jon Dadi Bodvarsson going on for Dicko.
In the 79th minute Saville tried to catch Johnstone off guard with a snapshot from 35-yards but the ball was too close to the keeper who made a comfortable save.
As the clock ticked down Bodvarsson’s burst of pace took him clear on the left. He cut into the box and held the ball up brilliantly until reinforcements arrived in the shape of Enobakhare who was agonisingly close to putting the match beyond Villa’s reach with a shot from the edge of the box that flashed wide.
There were four extra minutes at the end of the 90 and although Villa pressed hard the home defence stood firm to record a third consecutive clean sheet.
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Coady, Edwards (Saville 74), Batth (capt), Stearman, Costa, Price, Dicko (Bodvarsson 77), Mason, Cavaleiro (Enobakhare 63).
Unused subs: Burgoyne, Iorfa, Hause, Gibbs-White.
Villa: Johnstone, Baker, Bacuna, Tshibola (Grealish 60), Agbonlahor, Chester (capt), Hutton, Amavi, Jedinak (Davis (90+1), Adomah (Green 67), McCormack.
Unused subs: Bunn, Westwood, Elphick, Gardner.
Booking: Bacuna (43 – foul).
Referee: T. Harrington.
West Bromwich Albion Academy Under 18s 1 Wolves 0