Wolves go a dozen clear at the top
Wolves produced some moments of real quality to complete a convincing win against a decent Brentford team on Tuesday evening. Chances went begging for a while for the home team but once they went ahead there was only going to be one winner, and their play looks tailor made for a higher level of football than the Championship.
With Danny Batth suspended after his red card at Bristol, Ryan Bennett was recalled to the defence as the only change to the starting line up;
Bennett, Coady, Boly
Doherty, Neves, Saiss, Douglas
Costa, Bonatini, Jota
It was so nearly a sparkling start for Wolves as Costa puts a low ball in from the right that Bonatini prods against the post in the first minute. Then Bennett gets a header in from a corner that is cleared off the line and Doherty brings a diving save from the corner as Wolves look really in the mood. Brentford were playing some nice stuff too in an entertaining game but Wolves have that extra quality and Costa was featuring in most of the attacking moves early on. And when he is sent clean through the keeper does well to narrow the angle and block his chip. Wolves could easily have been 4 up early on.
The visitors went close with a header just wide but then a fabulous move sees a cross from Doherty go beyond the far post to Douglas who pulls it back first time to Jota who hit a sweet volley that brought an excellent save from the keeper, Bentley. No goals at the break but Wolves could have had 5 and they start the second half as lively as they had the first. Bonatini produces a great run to bulldoze a way through the Brentford defence before bringing another good save from Bentley
Cavaleiro replaces Costa early in the second half and makes a swift impact setting up Doherty then Bonatini who both have efforts blocked. A goal surely had to come and when it did it was worth waiting for. A free kick 25 yards out would often mean a Barry Douglas special but this one was on the left side and Neves hit a superb shot into the top corner. And we didn`t have to wait long for the second and another fine goal. Cavaleiro played a low ball in from the right and Douglas showed he can bang them in with his right foot as well.
Wolves were rampant now and Cavaleiro brings another fine save from Bentley who has prevented a rout here, then a goalbound Jota effort is blocked. But a third arrived when Doherty chested a corner back across the six yard box and Jota, despite being on the floor, hooked the ball in.
Ruddy 7 - Brentford proved to be decent opponents but still couldn`t provide Ruddy with a difficult evening
Bennett 7 - steady as a rock defensively and was close to following up his goal at Bristol on a couple of occasions
Coady 7 - so consistent at the heart of the defence
Boly 8 - a goliath in the Wolves back line
Doherty 8 - full of energy up and down the right flank
Neves 8 - man marked but you wouldn`t have known it as he produced countless spot on passes and scored a brilliant goal
Saiss 6 - steady game in the centre of the park
Douglas 7 - took his goal really well and had a fine all round game
Costa 7 - produced plenty of good moments in the first half as he edges back to his best after his lay off, and it was a surprise to see him taken off early after the break
Bonatinii 7 - much livelier than in recent games and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet
Jota 7 - also looked more on his game tonight, scored his goal and produced some good runs
Cavaleiro 8 - as on Saturday, a really lively cameo
Hause 7 - impressed in his short spell on the field after replacing Boly
Enobakhare a late sub replacing Jota
Special mention for Brentford who contributed to an entertaining game and to referee Andrew Madley who set an example to other refs in the excellent way he applied the advantage rule.
A fine win for Wolves who are relentlessly edging closer to promotion and the title. Long way to go of course, but with a 12 point lead who would bet against them. And the club do not look like resting on their laurels as report indicate that young Spanish striker Rafa Mir is set to join the club from Valencia. A break from the league now until the trip to Barnsley on Jan 13th, but there will be Premier League opposition at Molineux on Saturday as Swansea visit in the FA Cup Third Round.