Wolves suffered their first defeat of pre-season after Derby County shaded a competitive pre-season friendly at Derby County, despite Diogo Jota’s strike at Pride Park.
The hosts had led at the break through David Nugent’s close-range finish, however Wolves levelled when Jota reacted quickest to fire home after Ruben Neves had struck the frame of the goal.
Mason Mount settled the game in Derby’s favourite with another close-range finish, meaning Nuno Espirito Santo’s men suffered their first 90 minute defeat of the summer.
Nevertheless, his players were given more minutes on the pitch and showed promise, particularly in the second-half, with two week still to go before the season opener against Everton at Molineux.
With the season approaching, Nuno continued to fine-tune his side at Pride Park, giving first Wolves run outs to Jonny Otto and Joao Moutinho from the start. However, it was the hosts, who finished in the Championship Play-Offs last season, who came close early on when Nugent shot wide.
The opening 20 minutes brought little in the way of action, although Moutinho’s quality in possession was displayed instantaneously. In terms of chances, Nugent headed Max Lowe’s deep cross wide of Rui Patricio’s goal on the stretch.
Moments later Ruben Neves, who scored that unbelievable goal against the Rams last season, forced Scott Carson into his first save, low to his right. The goalkeeper excelled from the resulting corner too, producing a strong arm to claw away Matt Doherty’s powerful header.
A piece of slack defending from Wolves was almost punished by Nugent, before the visitors quickly produced their most dangerous attack yet, as Jota burst forward and squared for Helder Costa, who connected firmly with his effort but watched a sliding Richard Keogh clear from the goalline.
However, five minutes before the interval the hosts found the breakthrough. Patricio produced a fine fingertip save to deny Keogh, but was out of luck as the ball squirmed underneath him and fell kindly for Nugent to tap into an empty net.
Half-Time: Derby 1 Wolves 0
Nuno brought Morgan Gibbs-White and Raul Jimenez off the bench at half-time, with Moutinho and Leo Bonatini making way, and Jimenez was quickly involved, stinging the palms of Carson with a venomous strike.
Will Norris, Ryan Bennett and Ryan Giles took to the field soon after, with Patricio, Otto and Romain Saiss making way. It wasn’t long after when Wolves equalised through a familiar pairing either.
Neves’ brilliant curling effort was tipped onto the underside of the crossbar impressively by Carson, however Jota reacted the quickest, firing underneath the goalkeeper and into the corner for a deserved leveller.
However, parity didn’t last long as Wolves failed to deal with a deep Florain Jozefzoon cross and Nugent set up Mount to fire into the roof of the net, past a heap of men in gold. Before the restart Bright Enobakhare joined the action as the latest substitute.
Wolves pressed for a second equaliser but when Willy Boly’s header dropped wide a minute from time the game was up and Wolves were beaten at Pride Park.
Full-Time: Derby 2 Wolves 1
Derby: Carson, Wisdom (Bogle 84), Lowe (Forsyth 78), Keogh (Pearce 84), Davies, Ledley (Johnson), Wilson, Bryson (Jozefzoon), Nugent (Bennett), Mount, Lawrence (Thomas 82).
Unused Subs: Roos, Jerome, Mitchell.
Wolves: Patricio (Norris 61), Doherty, Saiss (Bennett 61), Coady, Boly, Otto (Giles 61), Neves, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 46), Costa, Bonatini (Jimenez 46), Jota (Enobakhare 73).
Unused Subs: Buur, Batth, Hause, Goncalves, Ashley-Seal.
Referee: Peter Bankes