Wolves pounce on sore Saints
Three goals in opening 20 minutes seals Molineux mauling
By Elliot Ball. Last Updated: 11/04/09 5:48pm
Craddock: Scored Wolves' second
Wolves enjoyed a fantastic Good Friday as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against Southampton and had further chances to inflict further damage on their troubled opponents.
The first Championship fixture of the Easter period got off to a cracking start when Wolves raced to a lead with just 35 seconds on the clock, when Sam Vokes headed the hosts ahead.
Slack defending from the corner was the key to the first goal and Saints' defence was in turmoil again five minutes later, when Jody Craddock was allowed to glance his header from another set-piece to double Wolves' advantage.
And the contest was over at Molineux by the 19th minute when David Jones' unstoppable penalty sealed the match to put Mick McCarthy's men five points clear at the top of the table.
Southampton - who are confident of avoiding a 10-point penalty after parent company Southampton Leisure Holdings went into administration -stay second-bottom and risk falling further behind in the quest for survival.
The pressure was on McCarthy's side after a 2-0 defeat to midlands rivals Birmingham on Monday saw their advantage at the top cut to just two points.
And despite missing Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Chris Iwelumo and Michael Kightly through injury, they made a dream start by taking the lead inside a minute.
Wales striker Vokes, recalled to the starting line-up, forced a corner and then headed the resulting set-piece from Jones into the net - his first goal in nine games.
Things went from bad to worse for the struggling Saints, who went into the game without a win in six matches, when they conceded again in the sixth minute.
Another Jones delivery landed on the head of Craddock, who steered the ball into the corner of the net to register his first goal since October 2007.
Wolves were flying and went close to making it 3-0 in the ninth minute but Andy Keogh's drive flew just wide.
Southampton had a glimpse of goal in the 13th minute but Marek Saganowski's header drifted harmlessly wide.
Game, set & match
But Wolves did grab a third with just 19 minutes gone. Saganowski, who bagged a hat-trick at Molineux in Saints' 6-0 success in 2007, brought down David Edwards and Jones found the roof of the net with the resulting penalty.
Saints boss Mark Wotte introduced Jason Euell and Bradley Wright-Phillips at the interval in an attempt to salvage something from the game.
And Euell almost pulled one back in the 51st minute but he failed to get any real contact on the ball as it found its way back to him following Wayne Hennessey's smart stop from Saganowski.
From then on it was Wolves who came closest to adding to their tally with Vokes, Keogh and substitute Marlon Harewood - making his home debut - all going close.
Wright-Phillips came within inches of netting a consolation for the visitors but his shot after a jinking run was deflected just wide by the impressive Craddock.
And as the clock ran down it was Wolves who were comfortably left celebrating their first home victory over Saints since 1979.
A Mexican wave went around Molineux in the closing stages, with the focus now turning to what Wolves' promotion rivals can muster in reply.
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