A late Mark Hudson own goal gave Wolves a 1-0 victory over Cardiff City at Molineux on Saturday.
Bakary Sako’s curling corner kick was diverted onto the post by Marshall as the home side looked the more likely to score in the opening half. Sean Morrison had City’s best opportunity with almost the last kick of the half with the former Reading man unable to convert Anthony Pilkington’s corner kick.
The second half saw both teams fight for the victory, City denied what looked like a strong case for a penalty kick when substitute Guido Burgstaller’s shot was handled by Wolves defender Richard Stearman. This debatable decision became more important on after ninety-one minutes when Mark Hudson’s attempted clearance from Kevin McDonald’s cross squirmed into the bottom right corner of David Marshall’s goal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær made three changes from the starting eleven that began the 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in midweek. Skipper Mark Hudson and Adam Le Fondre were welcomed back into the line-up while Anthony Pilkington made his full Cardiff City debut at Molineux. Former Swansea City manager Kenny Jackett named an unchanged team from Wednesday’s victory over Fulham.
The home sides first shot of note came after nine minutes when tricky winger Rajiv van La Parra was felled on the edge of the Cardiff penalty area. David Marshall denied Bakary Sako a third consecutive goal in three games against the Bluebirds from the resulting set piece
Dutch U21 International van La Parra was involved again at Wanderers hit the upright in the twelfth minute. Sean Morrison cleared van La Parra’s cross with Sako’s deliveries once more causing problems for Solskjær’s men. The formerSaint-Étienne winger’s corner evaded all in the penalty box bar David Marshall who superbly tipped the ball onto the outside of the post as it looked destined for the top corner.
City’s first effort of note came on twenty-one minutes, new forward Adam Le Fondre almost opening the scoring with a superb individual effort. Counter-attacking from a Wolverhampton corner, Le Fondre running fifty yards with the ball before firing just wide of goal under intense pressure from three home defenders.
The home side should have taken the lead just after the half hour mark when fullback Scott Golbourne found van La Parra with a superb cross. The Dutch winger beat Fabio in the air but his downwards header from five yards failed to test Marshall, drifting wide of goal. The hosts had further chances in the opening half with Marshall continuing to deny van La Parra from distance once more, while defender Matt Doherty had little luck when through on goal only finding the side netting.
The best chance of the first half for Ole’s men came on the forty-five minute mark when two set pieces almost broke the deadlock. Whittingham’s deep free kick was cleared for a corner by the home defence with the former England U21 International letting new boy Pilkington take the resulting corner kick. Le Fondre nodded Pilkington’s low ball towards goal with defender Morrison unable to divert the ball home at the back post with the match going in level at the break.
HALF TIME: WOLVES 0-0 CARDIFF CITY
Substitution, Cardiff City: Nicky Maynard replaced by Kenwyne Jones (45 minutes)
City managerOle Gunnar Solskjær made a half time substitution for the second consecutive match, replacing Nicky Maynard with top-scorer Kenwyne Jones. Peter Whittingham had Cardiff’s first chance of the second half after fifty-five minutes when the midfielder’s low effort forced Ikeme into a superb diving save, the game opening up following the introduction of Jones.
Substitution, Cardiff City: Anthony Pilkington replaced by Guido Burgstaller (66 minutes)
Substitution, Wolves: Dave Edwards replaced by Michael Jacobs (66 minutes)
Kevin McDonald attempted to break the deadlock with a long-range effort on sixty-nine minutes, the midfielder’s effort flying well over the bar. Fellow midfielder van La Parra will have been disappointed not to test David Marshall after being played through on goal, striking his shot over the bar under pressure from Fabio. The former Manchester United defender undoubtedly denied van La Parra a good chance of opening the scoring with an outstanding tracking run.
Substitution, Cardiff City: Aron Gunnarsson replaced by Kagisho Dikgacoi (74 minutes)
City substitution Guido Burgstaller went close after seventy-five minutes, Carl Ikeme holding his deflected shot as both teams looked for a late goal. City have every right to feel slightly aggrieved as Burgstaller’s shot seemed to cannon off Richard Stearman’s hand in the build up.
Only an incredible save on eighty-four minutes from Wolves keeper Ikeme kept the game goalless. Whittingham finding Trinidad & Tobago forward Kenwyne Jones with a fantastic long ball, the striker bringing the ball down superbly and volleying towards goal only for Ikeme to somehow keep the ball out of the net.
Substitution Wolves: Karl Henry replaced by Rajiv van La Parra (87 minutes)
It seemed like just one goal would be needed to decide this tight match, and this was the case as a fortunate own goal from Mark Hudson gave the home side victory. The City skipper’s attempted clearance from Kevin McDonald’s cross slipped off the defenders boot and into the bottom corner of Marshall’s goal to give Kenny Jackett’s side an unlikely winner.
FULL TIME: WOLVES 1-0 CARDIFF CITY
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Golbourne, Edwards (Jacobs, 68), Stearman, Batth, Sako, McDonald, Evans, van La Parra (Henry, 87), Dicko. Subs not used: McCarey, Clarke, Ricketts, McAlinden, Ebanks-Landell.
Cardiff City: Marshall, Connolly, Hudson, Morrison, Fabio, Whittingham, Gunnarsson (Dikgacoi, 74), Adeyemi, Pilkington (Burgstaller, 68), Le Fondre, Maynard (Jones, 45). Subs not used: Moore, Brayford, Macheda, Eikrem.
Referee: Darren Drysdale