Close But Wolves Go Through
Wolves 2 (Mason 7, Coady 76)
Crawley Town 1 (Boldewijn 13)
After taking an early advantage, Wolves were soon pegged back by a determined Crawley Town side and Walter Zenga’s men had their work cut out before securing a narrow victory and passage through to the second round of the League Cup
The new boss made five changes to his starting eleven with recent signing Joao Teixeira making his full debut.
Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Bank end and there was drama inside the first minute as one time Molineux Academy scholar Mark Connolly illegally halted Teixeira’s run on goal a couple of yards outside the box. After Connolly had been booked Teixeira took the free-kick himself but his effort sailed over the bar.
An incredible few seconds in the seventh minute saw the home goal lucky to survive before the ball was in the back of the Crawley net. Jordan Roberts’ corner fell to Enzio Boldewijn who hooked the ball towards goal from just eight-yards out.
Conor Coady was perfectly placed to head off the line and the ball was cleared upfield to Jed Wallace who sped down the right before cutting into the box and hitting a low shot that hit the base of the far post. Joe Mason didn’t miss the chance of opening his account for the season as he bundled the ball home from inside the six-yard box.
The Reds were back on level terms just six minutes later after a dangerous low cross from Lewis Young was turned behind at the back stick. Boldewijn found the time and space to head the ball past Andy Lonergan from Jimmy Smith’s corner.
Teixeira went down after a challenge in the Crawley area but the referee shook his head and, for Wolves, a foul on Teixeira presented James Henry with a 25-yard free-kick opportunity but he too lifted the ball over the bar.
Clear cut chances at either end were almost non-existent although Young stirred the crowd with a miss-hit clearance that wasn’t far away from the Yusuf Mersin’s goal.
Teixeira skipped past two challenges in the Crawley box before firing narrowly over the far angle before, in the 38th minute, Lonergan came to the rescue with a terrific save from substitute Adi Yussuf who was on a clear run to goal.
In stoppage time Wallace was only just off the mark with an angled drive that was wide of the far post.
Half-Time: Wolves 1 Crawley 1
There was a double change at the start of the new half with two more recent acquisitions taking the Molineux stage for the first time as Helder Costa and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson took over from Wallace and Henry.
A Teixeira shot took a deflection for a corner that was taken by Jack Price. Danny Batth got in a header which was cleared from inside a congested six-yard box.
Costa displayed some great close control as he rode four challenges working his way into the area before getting away a shot that was blocked at close quarters.
Teixeira was then booked for simulation after he went down just outside the Town box.
Bodvarsson headed over following a Teixeira centre whilst, at the opposite end, James Collins hit a firm, low cross that no-one was able to get a touch to.
After Teixeira had been fouled to the right of the Crawley box, Price lifted over the free-kick and Batth’s bullet header was headed off the line by a defender.
But in the 76th minute came the winning goal after another Price free-kick. This time it was from wide on the left and Bodvarsson rose at the far post to power a header across the face of goal for Coady who stooped low to nod home.
Five minutes from the end Mason was unlucky not to have added to his tally with a shot that smashed against the inside of the post and bounced to safety.
In the dying seconds Connolly fouled Costa on the left and was shown a second yellow quickly followed by a red.
Wolves: Lonergan, Doherty, Coady, Teixeira (Edwards 84), Batth (capt), Hause, Henry (Costa 45), Price, Mason, Evans, Wallace (Bodvarsson 45).
Unused subs: Ikeme, Saville, Enobakhare, Johnson.
Booking: Teixeira (57 – simulation).
Town: Mersin, Young, Arthur, Payne, Connolly, Boldewijn, Smith (capt), Banton (Harrold 81), Roberts (Yussuf 26) (Bawling 72), Collins, McNerney.
Unused subs: Beeney, Yorwerth, Clifford, Pappoe.
Bookings: Connolly (1 – foul, 89 - foul).
Sending-Off: Connolly (89 – second bookable offence).
Referee: R. Joyce.
Attendance: 8,252 (111 visiting supporters).