First Wolves win for Solbakken
Last Updated: August 21, 2012 10:40pm
Ward: Celebrates Wolves' opener
Much-improved Wolves finally got their Championship campaign up and running with a deserved 3-1 home victory over Barnsley on Tuesday.
The Black Country club have endured a difficult summer following relegation from the top flight and speculation still continues to surround the futures of several players, most notably wantaway striker Steven Fletcher and winger Matt Jarvis.
But after an unconvincing cup victory over Aldershot on penalties and defeat to Leeds at the weekend, there was finally some welcome cheer at Molineux as boss Stale Solbakken celebrated his first league win at the helm and Wolves' first on home soil in 2012.
It was only Wanderers' second league victory of any kind since early December, highlighting why Solbakken was so desperately keen to shake off the losing mentality that dogged the club over the latter part of last season.
Stephen Ward broke the deadlock with only eight minutes on the clock before Sylvan Ebanks-Blake added a second just after the hour mark and Dave Edwards headed a third.
Tomasz Cywka pulled one back for the Tykes but it was Wolves' night as they recorded a seventh successive home win over their South Yorkshire visitors.
Solbakken made two changes from Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Leeds.
Transfer-listed defender Christophe Berra returned - minus the majority of the boos which accompanied his Capital One Cup performance against the Shots - while midfielder Slawomir Peszko was also handed his first start.
Barnsley also made two alterations from the XI who saw off Middlesbrough 1-0 at the weekend, Bobby Hassell and Kelvin Etuhu coming in for injured pair John Stones and Matty Done.
But the visitors found themselves behind early on.
Tykes goalkeeper David Gonzalez saved from Roger Johnson's eighth-minute header but the Colombian was beaten just 30 seconds later as Ward was sent clear by Ebanks-Blake and finished coolly.
Craig Davies and Ebanks-Blake exchanged efforts off target at either end amid a lively opening quarter.
And it was the home side who started to strengthen their grip on proceedings as the first half wore on, putting together plenty of neat approach play although Ward and skipper Karl Henry failed to trouble Gonzalez.
Johnson blocked well from Cywka as Barnsley enjoyed a spell of pressure while Kevin Doyle brought another save from Gonzalez.
Jacob Mellis then drilled narrowly wide of Carl Ikeme's goal as Wolves took a deserved lead into the interval, with Solbakken's only disappointment probably that his side were not more than one goal to the good.
Marlon Harewood whistled an effort wide at the start of the second half but it was Wolves who did double their advantage in the 61st minute.
Ebanks-Blake, in plenty of space, received the ball in the middle of the penalty area and beat Gonzalez with a well-taken finish into the bottom corner.
And it was soon 3-0 as Jarvis' cross was met by the head of the onrushing Edwards and he buried the ball home.
Cywka pulled one back for Barnsley with 12 minutes remaining, converting Etuhu's cross from the right, but the game was already wrapped up.
Sky Bet Championship
Tue 21st Aug
Wolves3 - 1Barnsley
Sheff Wed3 - 2Birmingham
Bristol C4 - 1C Palace
Brighton0 - 0Cardiff
Middlesbro'3 - 2Burnley
Charlton2 - 1Leicester
Huddersfld1 - 1N Forest
Watford0 - 1Ipswich
Peterboro1 - 2Millwall
Blackpool2 - 1Leeds
Bolton2 - 0Derby
Sky Bet Championship
|2||Queens Park Rangers||18||38|
|11||Brighton and Hove Albion||18||25|