Wolves 3 Barnsley 1: Solbakken sees his side get their season up and running
21:03 GMT, 21 August 2012
Much-improved Wolves finally got their npower Championship campaign up and running with a deserved victory over Barnsley.
The Black Country club have endured a difficult summer following relegation from the top flight and speculation still continues to surround the futures of several players, most notably wantaway striker Steven Fletcher and winger Matt Jarvis.
But after an unconvincing cup victory over Aldershot on penalties and defeat to Leeds at the weekend, there was finally some welcome cheer at Molineux as boss Stale Solbakken celebrated his first league win at the helm and Wolves' first on home soil in 2012.
Battle: Wolves' Matt Jarvis and Barnsley's Stephen Foster
Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Zubar, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Peszko, Henry (Edwards 64), Doumbia (Davis 74), Jarvis, Doyle, Ebanks-Blake (Sigurdarson 64).
Subs Not Used: De Vries, Stearman, Nouble, Forde.
Goals: Ward 8, Ebanks-Blake 61, Edwards 70.
Barnsley: Gonzalez, Hassell (Cranie 66), Foster, Wiseman, Golbourne, Etuhu,Perkins (Dawson 51), Mellis, Cywka, Harewood (Dagnall 57), Davies.
Subs Not Used: Lidakevicius, Collins, Clark, Rose.
Goals: Cywka 79.
Referee: Phil Gibbs
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It was only Wanderers' second league
victory of any kind since early December, highlighting why Solbakken was
so desperately keen to shake off the losing mentality that dogged the
club over the latter part of last season.
Stephen Ward broke the deadlock with
only eight minutes on the clock before Sylvan Ebanks-Blake added a
second just after the hour mark and Dave Edwards headed a third.
Tomasz Cywka pulled one back for the
Tykes but it was Wolves' night as they recorded a seventh successive
home win over their South Yorkshire visitors.
Solbakken made two changes from Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Leeds.
Transfer-listed defender Christophe Berra returned – minus the majority
of the boos which accompanied his Capital One Cup performance against
the Shots – while midfielder Slawomir Peszko was also handed his first
Barnsley also made two alterations
from the XI who saw off Middlesbrough 1-0 at the weekend, Bobby Hassell
and Kelvin Etuhu coming in for injured pair John Stones and Matty Done.
But the visitors found themselves behind early on.
First win: Stale Solbakken saw his Wolves side win at Molineux
Tykes goalkeeper David Gonzalez saved
from Roger Johnson's eighth-minute header but the Colombian was beaten
just 30 seconds later as Ward was sent clear by Ebanks-Blake and
Craig Davies and Ebanks-Blake exchanged efforts off target at either end amid a lively opening quarter.
And it was the home side who started
to strengthen their grip on proceedings as the first half wore on,
putting together plenty of neat approach play although Ward and skipper
Karl Henry failed to trouble Gonzalez.
Johnson blocked well from Cywka as Barnsley enjoyed a spell of pressure while Kevin Doyle brought another save from Gonzalez.
Jacob Mellis then drilled narrowly
wide of Carl Ikeme's goal as Wolves took a deserved lead into the
interval, with Solbakken's only disappointment probably that his side
were not more than one goal to the good.
Marlon Harewood whistled an effort
wide at the start of the second half but it was Wolves who did double
their advantage in the 61st minute.
Ebanks-Blake, in plenty of space,
received the ball in the middle of the penalty area and beat Gonzalez
with a well-taken finish into the bottom corner.
And it was soon 3-0 as Jarvis' cross was met by the head of the onrushing Edwards and he buried the ball home.
Cywka pulled one back for Barnsley
with 12 minutes remaining, converting Etuhu's cross from the right, but
the game was already wrapped up.