Blackburn Rovers 0
Wolves 1 (Sako 77)
After the midweek disappointment of an undeserved home defeat against Crystal Palace, Wolves bounced back in style to record a 1-0 win over fellow high fliers Blackburn Rovers with a 77th minute strike from Backary Sako giving the visitors the points.
Ståle Solbakken made two change to his team – both of them enforced with David Davis and Richard Stearman coming in for the injured duo of Kevin Doyle and Slawomir Peszko. Stearman played at right-back and Kevin Foley moved up into midfield.
Wolves kicked-off defending the end of the ground that housed over 1,200 of their supporters. It was at the opposite end that the first chance fell to Sako after five minutes when his low shot on the turn was well saved by home keeper Paul Robinson.
Then Sylvan Ebanks-Blake turned Scott Dann before firing high and wide from outside the home. area.
Jordan Rhodes looked odds on to give Rovers the lead as he took the ball deep into the Wolves box but, as he prepared to shoot, Christophe Berra got across to clear in a nick of time.
Davis wasn’t far away when he let fly with a low drive from 25-yards before home penalty appeals after Stearman and Rhodes collided in the area were ignored by the referee.
Wolves were close in the 19th minute after Sako had spread the ball out to Foley. He crossed and Ebanks-Blake headed against the foot of the post with Robinson beaten. A minute later Sako drilled a shot narrowly wide from distance.
On 29 minutes Colin Kazim Richards reacted angrily to what seemed a perfectly fair block tackle from Karl Henry. There was a brief bout of pushing and shoving between players from both sides before Henry and Kazim Richards were spoken to by the referee. Henry was then shown the yellow card – to the justifiable anger of the travelling fans.
Wolves continued to press and Robinson punched clear a Sako corner from a congested six-yard box. For Rovers, Mauro Formica sent a volley from outside the box well over the bar.
A triple collision between Berra, Stearman and Rhodes in the Wolves box left the visiting defenders in need of attention after Stephen Ward had cleared the danger. The referee, at first, seemed reluctant to allow the pair any treatment before he eventually allowed physios from both teams on to treat the players.
In stoppage time, Jason Lowe’s corner was headed on by Dann to Kazim Richards whose header was comfortably taken by Carl Ikeme.
Half-Time: Rovers 0 Wolves 0
At the start of the new half, Rovers replaced Formica with Fabio Nenes and six minutes after his introduction he landed a teasing centre on the roof of Ikeme’s net with the keeper watching cautiously as it went over.
Stearman obviously hadn’t shaken of the knock he had taken just before the break and he was replaced by Anthony Forde who moved into midfield while Foley dropped back into defence.
Play was swinging from end to end without Robinson or Ikeme being unduly worried although Sako did manage a low, long didtance effort that went wide.
From a Ward cross, Bradley Orr got in the way of a Sako shot, and then Sako was wide of the far post after playing a one-two with Ward.
Wolves moved ahead in the 77th minute following a Sako corner. His kick was half cleared to Tongo Doumbis and his attempt to play the ball back into the box took a deflection off a defender. But the ball ran to Sako who cut inside and ghosted past a defender before hitting a terrific shot that flew into the far side of the goal.
Rovers hit back and Kazim-Richards headed wide from a Nunes cross and then Nunes’s driven cross was well held by Ikeme.
Danny Batth replaced Ebanks-Blake for the final few minutes and, as the game moved into the four minutes of added time, Sako broke from defence and fed Forde who closed in on goal only to plant the ball wide of the far post.
Sako was booked after he had outmuscled Martin Olsson and played on after the whistle. The referee blew for a foul but Sako ran on for a couple of paces and lobbed the ball into the net.
Rovers: Robinson, Orr, Olsson, Givet, Lowe (Etuhu 71), Formica (Nunes 45), Rhodes, Murphy (capt), Dann, Hanley, Kazim-Richards.
Unused subs: Kean, Dunn, Gamst Pedersen, Gomes, Rochina.
Wolves: Ikeme, Stearman (Forde 53), Ward, Davis (Zubar 61), Johnson, Berra, Foley, Henry (capt), Ebanks-Blake, Doumbia, Sako.
Unused subs: McCarey, Nouble, Jonsson, Margreitter.
Bookings: Henry (29 – foul), Sako (90+3 playing on after whistle had gone).
Referee: N. Miller.
Wolves Under 18s 3 (Dell, Moth, og) Manchester City 0