PNE turned up the heat on Wolves boss Kenny Jackett as the Lilywhites ran riot at Molineux.

By Rosie Swarbrick
Saturday, 13th February 2016, 1:48 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th February 2016, 2:48 pm

It was a walk in the park for PNE as they triumphed 2-1 and were elevated into the top half of the Championship table.

Paul Gallagher is on fire at the moment and the in-form midfielder played a neat one-two with Garner before strolling towards goal and chipping on-running Wolves shot-stopper Carl Ikeme to break the deadlock in the 17th minute.

The Lilywhites dominated the first 45 and played some inspired passing football on a bleak pitch as Wolves failed to bite in the final third.

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Despite the cold temperatures Jackett’s team did not receive a warm reception at the break as they trudged off to a torrent of boos.

Chairman Jez Moxey received the brunt of the home faithful’s venom as the fans in the stands howled for him to leave time and time again.

It went from bad to worse for Wolves as Ikeme parried Calum Woods’ sublime cross into the path of Adam Reach and he arrowed the ball home right-footed from an angle.

Half-time substitute Joe Mason pulled a goal back after beating the offside trap and rounding Anders Lindegaard but that was the last clear cut chance the host’s had as PNE shut up shop to bag all three points and climb up to 11th in the Championship table.

Lilywhites boss Simon Grayson made two changes to the side that beat Huddersfield 2-1 last Saturday.

Grayson shifted from a 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2 shape as Paul Huntington and Daniel Johnson returned to the side in place of Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson who both dropped to the bench.

The only fly in the ointment for PNE after back-to-back wins is that star striker Joe Garner’s two month barren spell continues despite wasting a golden opportunity to net his fourth of the campaign.

The striker’s last goal was on December 12 against Reading but instead of hammering home strike partner Reach’s sublime right wing cross first time, he dabbled in the box and was subsequently swamped by a sea of golden shirts as the ball looped meekly to Ikembe in the fourth minute.

In the seventh minute the 1504 travelling North End fans broke out in applause to honour late hero Sir Tom Finney who passed away on February 14 2014.

Bjorn Sigurdarson had a half chance but PNE bossed the opening stages and Gallagher lobbed Ikembe to give the Lilywhites a deserved lead in the 17th minute

Substitue Nathan Byrne who entered the fray after striker James Henry limped off nearly pulled Wolves level with a superb free-kick.

PNE captain Tom Clarke had tripped Sigurdarson just outside the box and the substitute’s set-piece looked destined for the top corner but fortunately for the static Lindegaard who was rooted to the spot the ball crashed into the top of the bar and bounced away.

The poor Rajiv van La Parra blasted over from distance and then sliced the ball way wide of the right post from a similar position moments later.

La Parra’s last act of the day was to knock the ball past Wright on the right and run straight into the PNE defender. Referee Kevin Johnson ruled that Wright had impeded the striker’s run and booked Wright four minutes before the half drew to a close and boos echoed round the stadium.

PNE kept their foot on the gas at the start of the second half.

A section of the travelling North End support reacted with glee as they thought Garner had doubled PNE’s lead.

Garner did well to connect with Reach’s deep cross from the right at the back stick but the back pedalling striker just could not direct the ball on target.

But PNE did made it two in the 53rd minute. Woods whipped the ball into the box from the right and Ikeme just beat last weekend’s match-winner Alan Browne to the ball.

But the keeper inadvertently punched the ball into the path of Reach and the forward - who excelled in a new role playing just behind Garner - rifled the ball home from a tight angle on the right.

Wolves pulled a goal back from out of the blue as substitute Mason produced a moment of magic.

The striker beat the offside trap, rounded Lindegaard and rolled the ball home despite Clarke’s best efforts to get back to the line and clear in the 67th minute.

Alan Browne tried his luck from distance as his 25-yard shot took a slight deflection and forced Ikeme to dive to his right and cling onto the ball.

Huntington played his 150th game for the club and was called upon in the latter stages as he made a key intervention to nick the ball off Iorfa’s feet in the box.

Mason nearly got the better of Huntington just outside the six-yard box and Byrne’s cross just missed the heads of two unmarked gold shirts at the back post as Wolves looked for an equaliser but lacked a killer instinct in the final third.

As time ticked on referee Kevin Johnson made a controversial decision that was met with anger by the blood-thirsty home support.

Byrne beat the offside trap and forced Lindegaard to come off his line. The keeper came to claim the ball near the top right of the box and it looked as though he handled the ball outside of the box but fortunately for PNE the referee waved play on.

Wolves barely threatened Lindegaard’s goal in the dying embers of the game and Grayson’s men walked away with a deserved three points.

PNE: Lindegaard, Clarke, Huntington, Wright, Cunningham, Johnson, Gallagher (Welsh, 68), Browne, Woods, Reach, Garner (Doyle, 86). Subs not used: Kirkland, Vermijl, Kilkenny, Hugill, Robinson.

Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Batth, Henry (Byrne, 18), Saville (Rowe, 86), Coady, La Parra (Mason, 46), Iorfa, Price, Sigurdarson, Ebanks-Landell. Subs not used: Martinez, McDonald, Deslandes, Le Fondre.

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Weston-super-Mare)

Attendance: 21,204 (PNE 1,504)