On Saturday afternoon, Russell Slade's Bluebirds defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers for the second time this season, with Craig Noone producing two moments of magic to aid City on the way to victory.
City made a solid start in the opening period, and had some good chances to take the lead. Joe Ralls had a shot from the edge of the area, which was seemingly goalbound, before being deflected just wide of the upright. Stuart O’Keefe’s effort soon after came even closer to breaking the deadlock. The midfielder’s strike left goalkeeper Carl Ikeme stranded, but agonizingly crashed against the angle of crossbar and post.
With the travelling fans in fine voice, the Bluebirds broke the deadlock shortly before the half-hour mark. Ralls found winger Craig Noone, who unleashed a dipping shot past Ikeme and into the top left corner. Cardiff continued their positive start to the match, and the returning Peter Whittingham almost doubled the Bluebirds’ tally. A trademark free-kick from the City stalwart went inches wide of the post, with the Bluebirds in the ascendancy.
Cardiff found their second goal nine minutes before the break, with another long-range effort from Noone. Joe Mason’s cleverly disguised pass found the winger, who advanced forward in search of a pass, before arrowing another unstoppable left-footed effort into the net.
The Wolves players, who had not seen much action in-and-around the City box, seemed to click into gear after conceding the second goal. After possession in the Cardiff half, the hosts found a way back into the match four minutes after conceding. Rajiv Van La Parra fired a shot towards David Marshall, who dived to push the ball away from goal. It unfortunately fell to the in-form Michael Zyro, who added to his midweek brace with a tap in, halving the deficit. The home supporters found their voices again after the goal, but couldn’t help their team find another before the break, as the teams went in with Cardiff 2-1 up.
SOLID SECOND HALF
The second half began with Cardiff showing the same urgency as they did in the first period. A blistering counter attack three minutes in saw the dangerous Noone up against Matt Doherty. The winger cut inside, and unlike earlier in the match, opted against shooting. Instead he turned provider, rolling the ball to Ralls. The young midfielder slotted home into the bottom left-corner for his first goal of the season, restoring City’s two goal lead.
Needing another goal to get back into the game, Wolves tried to get on the ball and create some chances, with Van La Parra and goalscorer Zyro looking sharp. However, the Bluebirds defenders held firm, and an impressive attacking performance added to the cause. Anthony Pilkington hoped for a long-range effort of his own, but his shot from distance flew just over the crossbar. Whittingham almost found Mason with a world-class pass, but the Wolves defence recovered well to regain possession.
Flourishing in a new central role, Pilkington came close again with a long range effort. The shot was just wide of the near post, as the Bluebirds searched for a fourth goal to secure the win. An excellent break soon after almost brought it, but to no avail. Wolves pushed forward in the latter stages in hope of a comeback, but the solid City defence held firm. Despite stages without the ball, Cardiff held out comfortably for an impressive win, to the delight of the 1057 travelling Bluebirds; taking a crucial victory into next week’s clash with Rotherham United.
FINAL SCORE: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–3 Cardiff City (Zyro 40; Noone 28 & 36, Ralls 48)
Wolves: Ikeme; Iorfa, Batth, Ebanks-Landell, Doherty, McDonald, Coady (Henry 45’), van La Parra, Edwards, Graham (Enobakhare 66’), Zyro. Subs not used: Martinez, Golbourne, Saville, Price, Byrne.
Cardiff City: Marshall, Peltier, Manga, Connolly, Malone, Noone, O'Keefe, Ralls, Whittingham (Fábio 86’), Pilkington (Revell 90+3’), Mason (Dikgacoi 75’). Subs not used: Moore, Kennedy, Ameobi, Macheda.