Report | Wolves 2-1 Preston

Wolves 2 (Jimenez 8, Traore 29) Preston 1 (Woodburn 47)

Wolves booked their place in the third round of the Carabao Cup with their first win of the season against Preston North End. After a hugely impressive first-half, Bruno Lage’s side did what was required in the second to progress in the competition under the Molineux lights.

First goals of the season for Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore won the tie for the hosts. First, the Mexican tapped in following a slick team move, before his Spanish teammate thundered home a stunning volley to double Wolves’ lead.

The contest wasn’t dead and buried however, particularly after Hee Chan Hwang’s penalty was saved by David Cornell and Ben Woodburn reduced the arrears after the break, but the hosts did the necessary to ensure they’re in Wednesday’s draw for the next round.

For Matheus Nunes, the cup tie presented a home debut, and a little over a minute was gone by the time he charged forward and fed Jimenez, who turned and stung the palms of David Cornell in the Preston goal. In what was the Mexican’s first start of the season, he was hungry to make up for lost time and grabbed the opening goal before the opening ten minutes were up.

The ability Wolves’ central defenders have on the ball has been a theme of the season so far, so when Maximilian Kilman threaded an inch-perfect through ball to Rayan Ait-Nouri, few in Molineux were surprised, nor when the old gold’s number nine picked up the low cross to turn into an empty net at the back post for 1-0.

That goal set the theme of the half, with Wolves dominant, and Leander Dendoncker drilled a free-kick straight at Cornell, before Traore clipped a cross onto the head of Jimenez, but the Mexican’s effort flew down the middle and was another routine stop of the Preston custodian.

However, when the second goal arrived, there was nothing Cornell could do about it this time. Nelson Semedo’s tee up to Traore was inviting, but he still had plenty to do, but the Spaniard did it in style, releasing a vicious left-footed volley which flew over the Cornell and into the top corner.

That lead should have been made greater on the stroke of half-time when Hwang was pulled back in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Jimenez allowed the South Korean to take the kick himself, having bagged in pre-season from the spot, but his low effort was comfortably smothered by Cornell on the North End goal.

Half-time | Wolves 2-0 Preston

With that spot kick miss still feeling fresh, Bruno Lage will have been disappointed to see his side gift their opponents a route back into the game. A scruffy period of play, where Joao Moutinho couldn’t bring the ball under his spell, allowed Woodburn to cut inside and hit a lot shot out of the reach of debutant Matija Sarkic.

That goal appeared to kick Wolves back into life, however. Soon after, from an Ait-Nouri corner, Kilman had a header parried by Cornell, before Nunes watched his drive deflected wide and Ait-Nouri himself chopped his way into a shooting position but blazed over from the edge of the box.

While Kilman went close quickly after Preston’s goal, it was his defensive colleague Nathan Collins’ turn to be left disappointed on the hour mark when his guided header flew just over the crossbar. But as time ticked away, the Championship side remained in the contest, and with nine minutes remaining Brad Potts fired into the side netting on the slide.

However, Wolves held on and could have made the win greater than Pedro Neto’s shot flown in, rather than into the hands of Cornell, but as the full-time whistle went seconds later, it was job done for the hosts.

Full-time | Wolves 2 Preston 1

Wolves | Sarkic, Semedo (Jonny 78), Collins, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Dendoncker (Neves 62), Moutinho, Nunes, Traore (Neto 62), Hwang (Guedes 62), Jimenez (Podence 86).

Unused subs | Smith, Bueno, Toti, Cundle.

Preston | Cornell, Cunningham, Whiteman, Bauer, Evans (Parrott 79), Johnson (Slater 86), McCann (Leigh 86), Storey, Riis, Woodburn (Potts 79), Olosunde (Browne 46).

Unused subs | Woodman, Lindsay, Amaral, O’Neill.