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Molineux Stadium (ATT 22,426) 30th August 2005 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: N Miller

Wolves Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Queens Park Rangers QPR

Wolves 3

ft

QPR 1

Cort treble sinks Rangers

By Mark Kendall.   Last Updated: 30/08/05 9:44pm

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A Carl Cort hat-trick handed Wolves a convincing 3-1 victory over QPR as Glenn Hoddle's side served notice of their status as genuine promotion contenders.

The Black Country outfit lit up Molineux, especially in the first half, with some slick, flowing football that should have seen a wider margin of victory.

Ian Holloway's side battled bravely, but Cort's third in injury time at the end of the game gave the scoreline a truer reflection of the difference between the sides.

Wolves almost forged ahead in the fifth minute when visiting goalkeeper Simon Royce had to produce a smart save to turn Rohan Ricketts' low drive from range around the post for a corner.

However, the home fans did not have to wait long before their side did hit the front. Just two minutes later Royce produced another fine stop to deny Ricketts, but the former Spurs midfielder showed excellent awareness to nip in front of the goalkeeper and pinch the rebound before crossing to the far post where Cort thumped a volley past Royce at his near post after a mis-kick from Leon Clarke.

After such a positive start, Molineux was left stunned when Rangers drew level barely four minutes later; Luke Moore dug out a superb cross from the left and Kevin Gallen easily got above Lee Naylor to power a header home.

Paul Furlong drew a smart save from Michael Oakes, but Wolves restored their advantage on 24 minutes when Cort latched on to Kenny Miller's inviting low cross from the left to stab home from close range.

Clarke went close to extending the lead but dragged a shot across the face of goal and was then denied by Royce from a narrow angle ten minutes before the break.

The hosts thought they should have been awarded a penalty three minutes after the interval when Danny Shittu appeared to catch Miller as he burst into the box, but the defender was given the benefit of the doubt.

The home fans were left even more incensed shortly after the hour mark when the officials opted to chalk off an own-goal from Shittu after deciding Cort was in an offside position despite the striker not touching the ball before it entered the net.

Glenn Hoddle's side should have given themselves the breathing space their play merited but Miller was profligate with two glorious chances in the space of 30 seconds a quarter of an hour from time. Twice Royce did well to deny the Scottish international, first with a low effort and then a rising shot, but the striker really should have done better.

It was not to prove costly, though, as despite increased possession in the second period Rangers could not find a way to trouble Oakes.

Indeed, in stoppage time Cort put a gloss on the scoreline, completing his first league hat-trick by rolling past Royce into the bottom corner (pictured) to hand Wolves a victory which sees them climb into sixth.

Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Middlesbrough 35 66
2 Derby County 35 65
3 Watford 35 65
4 Bournemouth 35 63
5 Norwich City 35 62
6 Brentford 35 61
7 Ipswich Town 35 60
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 35 57
9 Nottingham Forest 35 50
10 Blackburn Rovers 35 48
11 Sheffield Wednesday 35 46
12 Charlton Athletic 35 45
13 Birmingham City 35 45
14 Cardiff City 35 44
15 Leeds United 35 44
16 Huddersfield Town 35 42
17 Bolton Wanderers 35 41
18 Reading 35 41
19 Brighton and Hove Albion 35 40
20 Fulham 35 39
21 Rotherham United 35 37
22 Wigan Athletic 35 31
23 Millwall 35 31
24 Blackpool 35 22

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