Birmingham 1 Wolves 3 - Report and pictures

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[gallery] If this is Wolves in "pre-season", imagine how good they'll be when they really get going.

Walter Zenga said this week that his team, owing to new transfers, a new boss, a new approach and just about a new everything else, are playing catch-up, writes Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers at St Andrew's.

Well eight points from four games and a scintillating derby comeback here aren't a bad start for a team just warming up.

It was a feisty, blood and thunder clash in the Second City, as you'd expect, and Wolves were good value for the three points.

They spurned several chances in the first half and were unjustly behind at the break.

But a stirring second half comeback - full of the passion, the desire and the spirit that Zenga has so quickly instilled in this team - gave them an utterly convincing derby day victory.

Joe Mason, chief culprit in the first half, produced a sublime finish to equalise on 47 minutes. Skipper Danny Batth equalised soon after from a corner, And then Jon Dadi Bodvarsson laced the Wolves cake with Icelandic icing when he lashed home a late third.

The 2,700 fans behind Tomasz Kuszczak's goal lapped it up. And Wolves - who only started with one new signing, showcasing just the impact Zenga has had in a few short weeks - ended the day in third place in the early Championship knockings.

Zenga sprang a couple of surprises with his team sheet, dropping Joao Teixeira and David Edwards with Jed Wallace and Jack Price brought in.


New signing Prince Oniangue was on the bench.

Wolves started brightly with Matt Doherty cutting back inside and crossing for Conor Coady whose header was deflected wide.

Coady then let fly from 20 yards and forced a sprawling save from Tomasz Kuszczak, before Wallace tried his luck with a tame effort.

Blues began to get a foothold in the game and tested what looked like a slightly suspect Wolves back line, with Kortney Hause needing a last-ditch clearance to deny Che Adams a free shot at goal.


Wolves were then presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead when they briefly found themselves four-on-one on the counter - Coady raced down the left but Blues quickly got numbers back. He played through the line for Mason but instead of shooting first-time he took a touch and was crowded out.

Wolves then suffered a blow when Lee Evans was forced off with what looked like a groin injury - Edwards replaced him.

And just a minute later Wolves fell behind. A right-wing cross was allowed to make its way to the back stick where Adams was criminally unmarked - with Dominic Iorfa out of position - and he sidefooted home with a tidy finish.

Back came Wolves - Jon Dadi Bodvarsson nipped in after Ryan Shotton mis-controlled. He made it into the box and forced Kuszczak into a smart low save.

Clayton Donaldson's free header caused Ikeme a problem when it looped up dangerously, and then at the other end Wallace's come-and-get-me cross was somehow bundled behind.

From the resulting corner Mason fired wide from a good position as the opportunities continued thick and fast.

And that was half time. A disappointing scoreline given the chances Wolves created, but they paid for not being clinical in front of goal.

However that all changed - as did Mason's mood - at the start of the second half.

Wolves came flying out of the traps and within two minutes levelled it up, with Mason cutting in from the left of the box and curling an absolute beauty into the far corner.

It sparked wild scenes of celebration behind Kuszczak's goal - and was reward for Mason who kept plugging away and had the confidence to produce something special despite spurning those first-half chances.

Wolves, galvanised by the goal and spurred on by their supporters, swarmed over Blues with Wallace lashing a deflected shot just wide. He then span and fired from range but it didn't trouble Kuszczak.

Zenga's team were looking menacing on the counter, with Coady often the man to get them going in what was one of his finest games in a Wolves shirt.

It was all Wolves - and they very deservedly took the lead just past the hour mark.

Jack Price clipped a corner into the box - Doherty's header was brilliantly saved by Kuszczak at point blank range but there was captain Batth, reacting quickest to fire home the rebound.

On came Prince Oniangue to make his debut, with Price departing, as Zenga looked to firm up Wolves' lead.

Wolves began to sit deeper and the game flowed in Blues' favour, with the hosts piling on the pressure.

There was dangerous pinball in the Wolves box but Iorfa crucially cleared. And other than that they dealt relatively comfortably with what Blues had to throw at them.

They sporadically countered - Mason fired into the side netting from a decent position - and then with just a few minutes left their task was made even easier by the petulance of Blues' Jack Storer.

Having only been on the field a few minutes, the substitute clashed with Hause - the pair were head to head and Storer threw his forehead towards the Wolves man.

It was a clear headbutt and he was duly shown his marching order. To his credit, Hause didn't make a meal of it.

And there was time for some icing on the cake when Bodvarsson crashed home a lethal finish from 15 yards to send the away fans into ecstasy.

The way Wolves and Zenga are going, there could be a few more days like this in the coming weeks and months.

Blues (4-3-3): Kuszczak; Spector (Storer, 76), Morrison, Shotton, Grounds; Gleeson, Davis, Maghoma (Stewart, 76); Cotterill, Donaldson, Adams (Tesche, 61). Subs: Legzdins, Robinson, Kieftenbeld, Solomon-Otabor.

Goal: Adams (24)

Wolves (4-3-3): Ikeme; Iorfa, Batth (c), Hause, Doherty; Coady, Evans (Edwards, 22), Price (Oniangue, 65); Wallace, Bodvarsson, Mason. Subs: Lonergan, Saville, Henry, Teixeira, Costa.

Goals: Mason (47), Batth (54), Bodvarsson (89)

Attendance: 18,569 (2,761 Wolves fans)


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