Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 PNE 0 full-time

Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson
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Preston North End came out second best to an impressive Wolves side in their clash at Molineux.

Goals from Dave Edwards and Lee Evans gave the home side victory on an afternoon when things did not really click for the Lilywhites.

It meant disappointment for the 3,500 travelling PNE fans as their three month unbeaten away run came to an end.

North End did have their chances, Iain Hume getting the ball in the net in the first half but seeing the effort ruled out by an offside flag.

Joe Garner also hit the underside of the bar with a superb chip from out on the left-wing, the ball bouncing down inches the wrong side of the line.

Edwards ran clear to give Wolves a 28th minute lead, with Evans doubling the advantage 11 minutes into the second half after Declan Rudd had parried a shot from James Henry.

Simon Grayson made three changes to the North End side.

Garner, Tom Clarke and Jack King returned to the starting XI, with Kevin Davies, Keith Keane and Paul Huntington dropping out.

Clarke came in at right-back and King at centre-half in a 4-4-2 formation, with Garner partnering Iain Hume up front.

New signing Scott Wiseman was named among the substitutes having joined from Barnsley on a free transfer on Friday.

It was Wolves who had the better of the early play, Sam Ricketts blazing over from a tight angle after beating Paul Gallagher on the side of the PNE box.

A weak shot from Michael Jacobs trickled through to Rudd, then Lee Evans put a header over the bar - Ricketts having whipped the ball into the middle.

North End were indebted to King in the 21st minute, Henry’s pass putting Edwards in the clear.

The striker lifted a shot over Rudd and it was on its way into the net until King slid back and hooked it clear off the line.

North End had the ball in the net in the 23rd minute, Gallagher’s cross from the left finding Hume at the back post who stabbed the ball over the line.

But the flag went up for offside against the Canadian striker and the effort was chalked off.

Wolves took the lead five minutes later, Kevin McDonald’s through ball clipping a Preston boot and running through to Edwards in the box who tucked a calm finish past Rudd as he came off his line.

There was almost a spectacular quick response from the visitors as they broke on the counter-attack.

Garner took possession out on the left-wing and tried his luck with an audacious chip which sailed over keeper Aaron McCarey and struck the underside of the bar, bouncing down just the wrong side of the line.

It needed a fine save from Rudd to prevent Wolves from stretching their advantage in the 38th minute.

McDonald fired a fierce shot from 20 yards through a crowd of players, Rudd seeing it late but doing well to beat it out, Jacobs putting the rebound high over the bar.

A free-kick from Gallagher - awarded after a foul on Holmes - hit the top of the wall and looped behind for a corner.

In stoppage-time at the end of the first half, Henry’s chipped pass forward found Leigh Griffiths whose shot on the turn went straight into Rudd’s gloves.

In the opening exchanges of the second period, a shot from McDonald sailed harmlessly wide of the target.

Wolves netted their second goal in the 56th minute, Griffiths winning possession the right-wing and playing in Henry.

The winger took the ball into the box and drilled a low shot goalwards which Rudd managed to get down to and parry.

But the rebound fell into the path of Evans who made no mistake with a shot into the unguarded net.

Soon after, Griffiths got away down the inside-left channel but his shot flew just wide of the post.

Grayson made a double substitution just before the hour mark, Davies and Wiseman replacing Hume and Holmes.

Josh Brownhill joined them from the bench later, taking the place of skipper John Welsh who shortly before had been booked.

As the contest entered its final 15 minutes, Gallagher saw a curling right-foot shot pushed behind by McCarey at full-stretch.

Wolves sub Liam McAlinden found room at the other end to test Rudd with a low effort which the keeper was equal to.

In the 80th minute, a quickly taken free-kick from Kilkenny found Garner in space on the left side of the box, but his shot was blocked by a defender and the ball went out for a corner.

Late in time added on, Henry powered into the PNE box and drove a shot just over Rudd’s bar.

Wolves: McCarey, Ricketts, Batth, Stearman, Golbourne, Henry, McDonald, Evans (Elokobi 90), Jacobs, Edwards (Davies 64), Griffiths (McAlinden 71). Subs not used: Hennessy, Sako, Cassidy, Doyle.

PNE: Rudd, Clarke, King, Wright, Buchanan, Holmes (Wiseman 59), Welsh (Brownhill 73), Kilkenny, Gallagher, Hume (Davies 59), Garner. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Humphrey, Laird, Keane.

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Stockport)

Attendance: 20,434