HALF-TIME: Wolves 0, Bristol City 1
City last won a game at Molineux way back in March 1931, since when they have lost 13 and drawn six times on visits to the Black Country.
If ever they needed to end that particular record of under-achievement, it was in this nerve-ridden contest between the Championship’s bottom two sides.
If Wolves boss Dean Saunders dropped skipper Karl Henry and opted for an attacking line-up, Robins head coach Sean O’Driscoll named a team designed to keep things tight and frustrate the opposition.
Optimistically billed as a 4-3-3 system, City’s set-up was more a case of 4-5-1 out of possession, Paul Anderson and Stephen Pearson dropping back to support the midfield trio of Liam Kelly, Cole Skuse and Marvin Elliott and leaving Steven Davies to operate as a lone striker.
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If the intention was to subdue Wolves and dampen the ardour of a crowd that sensed the importance of the occasion, then O’Driscoll’s plan served its purpose during an opening phase in which the only real goal-scoring opportunity fell to City.
Initiating a lightning-quick counter-attack from the edge of his own penalty area, Robins centre-back Liam Fontaine neatly dissected the home defence with as long pass that invited Davies to drive for the 18 yard box. Having shown gold-shirted defenders a clean pair of heels, however, the Liverpudlian screwed his shot wide from a narrow angle.
Left out of the starting line-up, Albert Adomah entered the fray earlier than expected for a second successive week. A replacement for Jon Stead against Middlesbrough last time out, he was called upon after just 16 minutes at Molineux, coming on for Anderson, who was the unfortunate victim of a shuddering tackle from Wanderers left-back Jack Robinson.
City overcame any inconvenience occasioned by the loss of the former Nottingham Forest man to take the lead in bizarre circumstances on 26 minutes.
There appeared no danger when Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme played a quick goal kick to David Davies, who was positioned on the edge of the box. Closed down by Skuse and suddenly under pressure, the midfielder sought to play the ball back to Ikeme.
His pass was a touch heavy and the ball bounced just in front of the startled keeper, who inadvertently allowed it to squirm between his legs and trickle over the line.
The goal was greeted by stunned silence from home fans and worse followed for Wolves when Bakary Sako pulled up with a tight hamstring moments later and was replaced by Stephen Hunt.
Stung into a response, Wolves poured forward in search of an equaliser and were denied when Fontaine executed a goal-saving block on Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle.