Report | Wolves 5-0 Blackpool

Wolves 5 (Kalajdzic 10, Silva 25, Doherty 60 & 66, Fraser 84) Blackpool 0

Wolves progressed into the third round of the Carabao Cup with a comfortable victory over League One Blackpool, with Matt Doherty celebrating his return with a brace and Nathan Fraser bagging on his senior debut.

It was a near-perfect evening for Gary O’Neill, whose first Molineux victory looked on the cards after just 25 minutes, when striking pair Sasa Kalajdzic and Fabio Silva had both found the back of the net, with the latter netting in old gold for the first time in more than two years.

After the break, Doherty reintroduced himself to Molineux with a quickfire double in front of the South Bank, heading home a fine Pablo Sarabia cross, before firing in at the near post to put the hosts in cruise control.

The night couldn’t have ended any better than with a dream debut for Fraser, who collected Sarabia’s third assist of the night and fired a deflected effort into the net to put the finishing touches to a thoroughly professional outing for the Old Gold.

At Goodison Park on Saturday, Kalajdzic will hope he experienced the watershed moment of his Wolves career and the early signs on Tuesday evening suggested that was the case. Against the Seasiders, it took him just ten minutes to get off the mark at Molineux. Jonny’s through ball saw Sarabia denied by Richard O’Donnell, but the Austrian was in the right place to fire into the ground and over the Blackpool defenders on the line for 1-0.

However, Blackpool weren’t in town just to make up the numbers and once they pressed possession out of Boubacar Traore’s grasp on the edge of the Wolves box, Kenny Dougall fired a warning sign by rattling a low effort off the foot of the post.

It was Wolves who took the initiative from that point, however. Sarabia was the creator, carving Blackpool open and sending Silva through on goal, and the Portuguese outwitted the goalkeeper, shaping to bend inside the far post and firing in at the near, with O’Donnell committed, putting the hosts in the driving seat.

Next up was Jonny, making his first appearance of the season, and he had a left-footed drive from the edge of the box held by O’Donnell, while for the Seasiders, Marvin Ekpiteta headed a late effort comfortably held by Bentley, also making his 2023/24 bow.

Half-time | Wolves 2-0 Blackpool

One of the livelier players on the pitch in the opening period was Joe Hodge, but sadly early in the second period, when he was leading a Wolves charge, the youngster pulled up with a hamstring injury, allowing Harvey Griffiths to make his first-team debut, and Fraser followed soon after, on a successful night for Wolves Academy.

Before the striker had come on, Molineux rolled back the years with Doherty’s first goal back in front of the South Bank. Sarabia, who’d been involved in both first half goals, broke the offside trap and clipped in a delightful cross for the Irishman, who’d steamed in at the back post to head in off the underside of the crossbar from close range.

It was like he’d never been away. On his second debut for the club, and having moved to right-wing-back, Doherty had his second. Jonny found Fraser, who intelligently slipped across for Doherty, who was composed to fire home low at the near post to grab his second goal in six minutes.

At the other end, Bentley was enjoying a quiet evening, but was grateful to his crossbar when Callum Connolly crashed a free-kick off the woodwork. The third and final debut arrived in the closing stages as Alfie Pond took to the pitch and it was his under-23s teammate who put the finishing touches to a fine win.

Yet again, Sarabia was at the heart of it and as the ball fell to Fraser, he benefitted from a useful deflection, as his effort cannoned off a Blackpool defender and out of O’Donnell’s reach to mark a dream debut and fine night for O’Neill’s side.

Full-time | Wolves 5-0 Blackpool

Wolves | Bentley, Jonny, Doherty, Kilman (Pond 81), Toti, Ait-Nouri (Bueno 81), Traore, Hodge (Griffiths 55), Sarabia, Silva, Kalajdzic (Fraser 62).

Unused subs | King, Dawson, Gomes, Ballard-Matthews, Cunha.

Blackpool | O’Donnell, Connolly, Pennington, Carey (67), Dougall, Weir (Oakley-Boothe 61), Virtue, Beesley (Hamilton 67), Ekpiteta, Thompson, Lyons.

Unused subs | Grimshaw, Husband, Dale, Morgan, Casey, Tharme.