Wolves stretch the gap at the top
Wolves swept QPR aside with more sparkling football in the early stages of the game and looked capable of knocking up the cricket score their game has threatened on a number of occasions this season, but by the end they were glad to secure a narrow victory as the game changed around after the break.
It was an unchanged Wolves 11 that started the game although there were changes on the bench with Bonatini unfit and Mir, Vinagre and Miranda back in the squad;
Bennett, Coady, Boly
Doherty, Neves, N'Diaye, Douglas
Costa, Jota, Cavaleiro
Wolves were surprisingly lax defensively in the early stages and QPR striker Washington twice got through with the keeper to beat. The first came after N'Diaye lost possession and Washington hit a fierce shot but straight at Ruddy, and then he was put clean through and the keeper made a decent save but the striker should have scored.
But Wolves were soon turning it on and Boly sent Cavaleiro away on the left and from his cross, N'Diaye was there to turn the ball in. Wolves then had a spell where they were passing the ball through the Rangers defence at will and Jota was foiled by a last ditch challenge by Onouha after Ruddy set up a breakaway with a fine throw. And after more exquisite passing Wolves doubled their lead. Jota released Cavaleiro on the left again and his first time pass left Costa with a tap in.
Wolves were completely dominant now and Jota twice went close, one blocked by the keeper after a defence splitting pass by Neves, and another just wide. It looked like Wolves could go on to a wide margin win but it was almost too easy and gradually the pace went out of their game and the visitors were allowed back into the game. A misunderstanding between Ruddy and Douglas lead to an unnecessary corner and although Ruddy blocked the header from that corner it fell to Washington who hooked the ball in. And Rangers could easily have been level when N'Diaye missed a through ball and it fell to sub Smith who vollied just over.
Jota was denied by another last ditch tackle after being set through by another brilliant Neves pass, but Rangers were threatening now and Ruddy was far from convincing as he fubmles a ball only to be saved by a Bennett clearance, although the Wolves keeper made a decent diving save just after. Then another scramble in the area and another excellent Bennett clearance.
Wolves had introduced Afobe for Cavaleiro and Gibbs White for Costa and the two subs combined with an MGW cross and an Afobe header going wide when he should have done better. Afobe then set up Doherty who turned the ball wide but then Afobe missed another golden chance turning wide a Jota cross, and then fluffed his lines again when set up by N'Diaye but made a woeful first touch saw the chance disappear. Rangers almost stole a point at the death when a shot beats Ruddy but Coady was able to clear off the line. Just before the end there was an unsavoury incident when Jota was punched off the ball, something that everyone in the stadium except the officials seemed to see.
Ruddy 5 - made a couple of decent saves but on 3 or 4 occasions had the home fans hearts in their mouths with some unconvincing handling
Bennett 8 - been a model of consistency since coming in to the team and this was probably his best performance so far
Coady 7 - showed how much his defensive game has come on as Wolves came under pressure in the second half
Boly 6 - had his good moments but can be overly confident in possession and his passing on the day was sometimes poor
Doherty 6 - not as prominent in the attacking play as usual but did his bit defensively
Neves 9 - as those around him struggled to keep on top of their game after the first half hour, Neves was the exception with another passing masterpiece. Wolves fans can't wait to see him in their colours playing at the higher level where he belongs
N'Diaye 5 - covers a lot of ground and supports the attack well, but his passing was often poor on the day
Douglas 6 - Not imposing himself on the game as much in recent games
Costa 7 - edging ever closer to his best in recent games
Jota 7 - very lively in the opening period and came close on a few occasions but faded in the second half and dropped deeper once Afobe was on there he was less effective
Cavaleiro 7 - outstanding in the early stages and set up both goals but lost possession far too often as the game went on
Afobe 4 - missed three really good chances and his touch was poor
Gibbs White 7 - given a series of impressive sub appearances in recent games and looks a fine prospect
Wolves started the weekend 11 points clear at the top and ended it 12 ahead. Yet another full house to show how much their fans are enjoying the season and the 5,600 tickets allocated for next weeks trip to Preston have all been snapped up. The good times are certainly back at Molineux even if this game turned out to be pretty hard work in the end.