Saturday 28th February 2014
Wolves v Port ValeAt Molineux
Attendance: 21,929 including 2,280 visiting supporters
WOLVES:Carl Ikeme, Richard Stearman, Danny Batth, James Henry, Bakary Sako, Kevin McDonald, Samuel Ricketts, Jack Price,Scott Goldbourne, Michael Jacobs, Nouha Dicko. SUBS: Aaron McCarey, Matt Doherty, George Elokobi, Dave Edwards, Lee Evans, Liam McAlinden, Etahn Eubanks-Lendell
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Jack Grimmer, Chris Robertson, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Chris Lines, Billy Knott, Doug Loft, Daniel Jones, Louis Dodds, Tom Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Gavin Tomlin, Joe Davis, Ben Williamson, Chris Birchall.
Despite a spirited first half display from the Vale they ended up with nothing as Wolves showed just why they had won six on the bounce going into the game.
Goalless at the half time interval, a point looked well achievable, but the home side showed their quality in the second half to take the spoils and there can be no complaints from the Vale camp.
Micky Adams decided on four changes to personnel as Vale lined up to face Wolves at Molineux, with Jordan Hugill, Adam Yates and Joe Davis all on the bench and Anthony Griffith out injured.
Jack Grimmer made a quick recovery from injury to take his place in the team, albeit at right back and Louis Dodds came into the side, as did a new pairing in the heart of the defence in Richard Duffy and Chris Robertson.
Vale certainly matched their hosts in the opening minutes of the game, adopting an attacking approach probably not expected by Wolves boss Kenny Jackett.
The home side could have taken an early lead however when Michael Jacobs ran at the Vale defence, who backed off and allowed the Wolves man to shoot but thankfully he put it wide of the target.
Bakary Sako looked dangerous every time he got the ball and he almost worked his magic in the 16th minute when he danced his way into the Vale box, but failed to finish.
There is no doubt Wolves were the better side from an attacking point of view, but generally speaking Vale were holding their own and were certainly not outplayed in any department.
But as the first half continued Wolves began to assert their authority on the game, though Vale had a terrific chance to go in front in the 26th minute.
Billy Knott received the ball in a forward position, drove towards goal before slipping the ball into the patch of Tom Pope just inside the box.
Usually so reliable from that position, Pope lifted his shot over the crossbar when you would have put your house on him finding the net.
The home side were enjoying a spell of pressure and they went close again when Sako powered his way towards goal, but again Chris Neal was able to watch as the shot went wide.
Wolves then struck the woodwork when Ricketts’ bullet header beat Neal and crashed off the crossbar before being nodded behind for a corner.
Vale began the second half on the front foot, but they were soon pegged back when the home side finally got their noses in front in the 51st minute.
GOAL: BAKARY SAKOagain caused Vale problems, pushing on before unleashing a shot which took a wicked deflection off a Vale defender to catch Chris Neal out before dropping into the net.
Wolves really ought to have extended their lead on the hour when Jacobs got up at the far post to meet a cross from the left, but he somehow headed wide when it looked easier to score.
The home side continued to have the lion’s share of possession without threatening Chris Neal’s goal too often, but all of that changed when the home side hit two goals within two minutes.
GOAL:In the 73rd minute Ricketts put the ball into the Vale box and NOUHA DICKO finished from close range to double the home side’s lead.
Vale responded with a treble substitution, Dodds, Knott and Duffy all going off to make way for Ben Williamson, Jennison Myrie-Williams and Chris Birchall.
GOAL:The changes made no immediate difference, however, when DICKO fired home via the underside of the bar from close range to effectively wrap up the points for Wolves.
A speculative thirty-yard drive from Dan Jones failed to give Carl Ikeme any real problems, with Vale unable to make any headway where it really counts.
The home side had the chance to hit a fourth goal when James Henry was upended in the box by Chris Lines and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
With the thoughts of a hat-trick on his mind, Soko spotted the ball and shot confidently to Chris Neal’s right, but the Vale ‘keeper guessed right to make the save.
In the end Wolves were good value for the three points and Vale can take consolation in the fact that they are unlikely to meet any side with such quality between now and the end of the season.