By George, Sav's Double Wins It
Wolves 2 (Saville 14, 86)
Derby County 1 (Martin 43)
Wolves finally got back into winning ways thanks to a much improved team performance and a George Saville double that put high flying Derby to the sword.
There was a debut for on loan signing Jeremy Helan, and Dominic Iorfa and Saville returned to the starting line-up with Rajiv van La Parra, Joe Mason and Kortney Hause dropping out.
Wolves kicked-off attacking the South Bank end on a sunny but bitterly cold afternoon at Molineux.
Inside the first minute Cyrus Christie had to boot a good centre from Nathan Byrne over his own goal. Keeper Scott Carson needed two attempts to claim Helan’s corner.
Derby’s first chance came in the fifth minute with Carl Ikeme diving to save Jacob Butterfield’s low drive from just outside the box.
Wolves moved into a 14th minute lead with Saville scoring his first for the club. Byrne turned his marker inside out before squaring a pass to Saville on the 18-yard line. The midfielder controlled the ball in a flash before burying a low, left foot shot into the corner of the net.
Bradley Johnson’s foul on the lively Byrne to the right of the Derby box gave Wanderers the chance of a second but Helan over hit the free-kick and it curled out of play on the far side of the goal.
Matt Doherty burst into the left of the Derby box and he looked on for a great individual effort until a defender’s toe took the ball out of his path.
In the 43rd minute Saville caught Johnson a yard outside the home area and Chris Martin’s free-kick curled over the wall and inside the near post beyond the despairing dive of Ikeme to level things up.
In stoppage time Bjorn Sigurdarson was inches too high with a drive from 20-yards.
Half-Time: Wolves 1 Derby 1
Ikeme had to dive at Marcus Olsson’s feet soon after the restart, then Conor Coady’s challenge on Johnny Russell some 25-yards out gave Martin another free-kick opportunity and although his effort was wide, it wasn’t by much.
Danny Batth was booked for tugging at Martin’s shirt moments later and then a 30-yard volley from Butterfield flew straight into the arms of Ikeme.
County made a double switch in the 56th minute with Andreas Weimann and Tom Ince replacing Russell and George Thorne respectively.
Sigurdarson was yellow carded for an untidy challenge on Olsson and then Doherty found the net after a well-constructed move but the cheers quickly subsided when the offside flag was spotted.
On the hour mark Ince found some space on the right of the home area and it looked bleak as he took aim but his shot curled a fraction wide of the far post.
Johnson’s tamely hit shot went through to Ikeme after Ince had set up the chance before Christie was booked for pulling back Helan. Before play restarted, Mason took the place of Byrne.
A couple of dubious decisions that went against Wolves saw Kevin McDonald’s temper being tested and he was yellow carded for dissent.
Sigurdarson was so close to giving Wolves the lead in the 82nd minute with a low 20-yard shot that struck the post and rolled away with Carson beaten.
But the Molineux men weren’t to be outdone and four minutes later Doherty fired over a cross that was brilliantly headed home by Saville (pictured).
Wolves were close to a third in the five minutes of added time after Iorfa had galloped down the right and hit a low cross that neither Mason nor Sigurdarson could manage to get a foot to.
Saville was booked for a foul on Ince just before the end, but that wasn’t going to spoil the midfielder’s day and at the final whistle he was presented with the Man of the Match award.
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Iorfa, Saville, Batth (capt), Ebanks-Landell, Byrne (Mason 76), Coady, Sigurdarson, McDonald, Helan.
Unused subs: Martinez, Hause, Rowe, Price, Le Fondre, Hunte.
Bookings: Batth (51 – foul), Sigurdarson (56 – foul), McDonald (80 – dissent), Saville (90+3 – foul).
Rams: Carson, Christie, Keogh (capt), Hendrick, Martin, Russell (Weimann 56), Shackell, Johnson, Butterfield (Blackman 88), Olsson, Thorne (Ince 34).
Unused subs: Grant, Bryson, Buxton, Hanson.
Booking Christie (76 – foul).
Referee: G. Scott.
Reading Academy Under 18s 7 Wolves 2