Report: Wolves 1-0 Bolton
Wolves shaded the battle of the league’s two Wanderers, with Nouha Dicko’s header in first-half stoppage time edging out Bolton at Molineux.
Despite much endeavour and pressure in the second period, which included a missed Owen Garvan penalty, Bolton were unable to find a way through a stubborn Wolves rearguard.
Dougie Freedman made three changes to the side that beat Rotherham United in midweek, with Lee Chung-Yong, Liam Feeney and Garvan all coming into the starting line-up.
Elsewhere, there was a place on the substitutes’ bench for Kevin McNaughton who returned to the first team squad after missing the previous five games through a combination of injury and illness.
Meanwhile, new recruit Paddy Kenny was also named on the bench.
The Trotters flew out of the traps.
A quick throw from Craig Davies found Lee, who in turn crossed with a loose ball eventually being smacked goalwards by Jay Spearing. His shot deflected marginally wide of Carl Ikeme’s goal.
Bolton saw more of the ball inside the opening 20 or so minutes, though the hosts’ backline limited any real attempts on goal.
The main threat for the men in black and gold came down the flanks, with both full-backs pressing forward to combine with their respective, interchanging wingers.
A flurry of Scott Golbourne crosses were well dealt with by Matt Mills and co whilst Spearing had to be alert to clear Bakary Sako’s pull-back from the right byline.
From the resulting corner Andrew Lonergan flung himself right to palm away Danny Batth’s towering header.
On 22 minutes Bolton carved out their first attempt on target of note.
Owen Garvan and Joe Mason combined to tee up Craig Davies, though his first-time shot from the edge of the area was somewhat tame and easily gathered by Ikeme.
Wolves responded, with midfielder Lee Evans crashing a half volley within a whisker of Lonergan’s left post.
The hosts ended the half the better of the two sides and took the lead on 44 minutes.
Dicko crept between two defenders as a ball looped into the area before nodding home at the near post.
Wolves started the second period in the ascendancy.
Golbourne arrived at the back post to head down James Henry’s cross only to see Lonergan smuggle the ball behind for a corner.
Jermaine Beckford replaced Craig Davies just before the hour mark and his introduction had an immediate impact.
Beckford found a pocket of space on the left side before making a beeline for the goal. Dancing his way into the area, he was then felled by Wolves defender Richard Stearman’s outstretched leg – penalty kick.
Garvan grabbed the ball, but saw his kick from 12 yards beaten away by Ikeme with his follow up then scrambled clear.
Mark Davies was then introduced to a chorus of jeers from the home fans.
Bolton continued to endeavour to find a route back into the contest.
Mason saw a swirling cross from the right clip the crossbar before Dorian Dervite met Mark Davies’ cross but could only head wide.
In a rare foray into Bolton territory Henry did cross for sub Leon Clarke at the near post, with Mills throwing himself in front of a goalbound effort, sustaining a hefty blow which required treatment in the process.
That stoppage in play seemingly allowed the home side to regroup.
But Bolton continued to press forward.
Beckford threaded a clever ball in behind the Wolves full-back with Liam Feeney’s shot blocked by Ikeme.
Beckford then fired a snap shot from the penalty spot straight at Ikeme, with the hosts eventually hanging in there to claim all three point.