Wolves 3 (Batth 9, 41, Costa 82)
Cardiff City 1 (Zohore 12)
Wolves made it four on the trot after a workmanlike 3-1 victory over Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City on a fine springtime afternoon at Molineux.
Andy Lonergan came in for the injured Carl Ikeme in an otherwise unchanged Wanderers side.
Cardiff kicked-off attacking the South Bank end and, after some initial jousting, it was Paul Lambert’s men that took an ninth minute lead.
Helder Costa was fouled by Aron Gunnarsson and when Ben Marshall floated the free-kick into the box, Danny Batth’s header went across the face of goal to Andi Weimann. He nodded the ball back for Batth to power home from close range for a headed one-two.
The lead, however, was to last for just three minutes. Gunnarsson’s long throw was headed out by Kortney Hause but only as far as Sean Morrison who prodded it back into the goalmouth and Kenneth Zahore’s back header went over Lonergan and, almost as if in slow motion, into the net.
Dave Edwards had a half chance after a low cross from Costa but after the Welsh midfielder had scuffed his first attempt, he managed a second shot that was well saved by Cardiff keeper Allan McGregor.
Another long throw from Gunnarsson was headed down to Morrison whose shot was deflected behind for a corner.
When Marshall set up Costa for a shot at goal, the winger’s attempt struck Bruno Manga and looped gently into the arms of McGregor.
Gunnarsson was wide from a decent position after a low cross from Kadeem Harris and Marshall wasn’t far away with a 20-yard snapshot when Wolves went on the attack.
Sol Bamba went into the book for a clumsy challenge on Marshall. The midfielder took the free-kick himself and when it was half cleared Costa closed in to release a shot that forced a diving save from McGregor.
Another Marshall free-kick, that was partially cleared, led to Wolves’ second goal in the 41st minute. A neat touch by Lee Evans gave Marshall the chance to return the ball into the middle and the head of Batth did the rest.
Half-Time: Wolves 2 City 1
Shortly after the resumption a combined effort from Bamba and Manga on Weimann resulted in a Wolves free-kick just to the right of the Cardiff area but Marshall’s ball into the box was headed away.
There was a brief bout of pushing and shoving after Joe Ralls’s late challenge on Evans – the City man joining Bamba in the book.
After Morrison was wide with a header following another Gunnarsson throw, Harris was booked for a foul on Coady.
Then City made two changes with Peter Whittingham and Craig Noone replacing Ralls and Junior Hoilett respectively.
Batth was inches away from completing a hat-trick with a header from a Morrison corner but Noone was even closer to giving the visitors a second equaliser with an angled drive that struck the post before being cleared.
Marshall was booked for tripping Bamba before a double Wolves substitution saw Romain Saiss and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson replacing Marshall, who had taken a knock, and Ivan Cavaleiro.
A three on one break from a Cardiff corner saw Costa haring down the right before delivering a low cross that was just out of reach of Edwards. Weimann, at the far post, tried to play the ball back to his team-mate but McGregor managed to intercept.
Second half pressure paid off, however, when Edwards played Costa in. The winger turned Morrison inside out before putting the keeper on the wrong foot and poking the ball home (pictured).
Wolves: Lonergan, Doherty, Coady, Edwards, Batth (capt), Hause, Costa, Evans, Weimann (Saville 87), Marshall (Saiss 73), Cavaleiro (Bodvarsson 73).
Unused subs: Burgoyne, Dicko, Gibbs-White, Williamson.
Booking: Marshall (69 – foul)
City: McGregor, Bamba, Zohore, Morrison (capt), Hoilett (Noone 62), Manga, Gunnarsson, Richards, Harris (Pilkington 79), Ralls (Whittingham 62), Bennett.
Unused subs: Murphy, John, Connolly, Halford.
Bookings: Bamba (33 – foul), Ralls (51 – foul), Harris (62 – foul).
Referee: A. Davies.
Attendance: 20,519 (1,395 away supporters).
Swansea City Academy Under 18s 0 Wolves 1 (Sealey)