Shrewsbury 2 Wolves 0 – Report and pictures
Wolves lost their second successive pre-season game after being beaten 2-0 by Shrewsbury Town.
First half goals from Alex Rodman and Carlton Morris were enough to give the League One side victory in Nuno Espirito Santo's first game on English soil.
Wolves, who lost £15million record signing Ruben Neves to injury midway through the first half, created a handful of chances in an improved second half performance but were deserved losers.
What's the Portuguese for "wake up call"?
If he needed it Nuno certainly received one here as Wolves crashed to a poor defeat against League One opposition, writes Tim Spiers at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Of course pre-season for Wolves is primarily about building up fitness and getting used to their new 3-4-3 formation. But, with Middlesbrough visiting Molineux just two weeks today, it's also very much about performances and despite an improved second half Wolves were off the pace here as they failed to tame the Shrews.
If this were a Football Manager game the home side set the tackling instruction to 'hard' – which certainly disrupted Wolves' flow – but that was no excuse for the lack of fluency in their play and a dearth of goalscoring chances created. After all, in the starting XI only Neves, Willy Boly and Roderick Miranda are strangers to British football.
In terms of results Wolves have got worse throughout pre-season and the same could be said of performances too. Whatever the merits of friendlies such as these a lack of cohesion in the final third must be concerning to the new head coach.
Beat Werder Bremen but lose to Shrewsbury? Some would call that the Wolves Way, but Nuno will need to shake off a few old stereotypes such as that if he's to have a successful season.
The next two weeks will be vital to getting the flying start that Wolves crave, but judging on the last two games the signs don't look too promising at the moment.
Nuno included Connor Ronan in his starting XI for the first time this pre-season while David Edwards was brought into midfield against his former club and wore the captain's armband.
New loan signing Ruben Vinagre was on the bench, as was Jordan Graham who missed the Austria trip with a slight knock.
The game came too soon for Diogo Jota, the Atletico Madrid winger, whose loan transfer hadn't gone through in time for him to feature.
At a sunny but blustery Greenhous Meadow the 2,800 Wolves supporters outnumbered the home fans.
But aside from an early refrain of "one Carl Ikeme" they were kept very quiet for the first half as Wolves produced a desperately poor 45 minutes.
They mustered just one shot – a Nouha Dicko effort from 20 yards which he dragged wide – and weren't at the races against fired-up opposition.
If Shrewsbury's plan was to rough up Wolves it certainly worked. A number of meaty challenges knocked Nuno's team off their stride early on and they never got their passing game going in what felt like a League Cup tie rather than a pre-season friendly.
With referee Rob Lewis happy to let most of the crunching challenges go – and to be fair Shrewsbury were winning the ball, if being over-zealous for a friendly – the home team were buoyed and by half an hour they were 2-0 up.
First a spilled cross by John Ruddy was only partially cleared and when it came back into the box Alex Rodman sent a half volley into the corner.
Then striker Carlton Morris beat Willy Bolly to a left-wing cross and lashed past keeper Ruddy to double the lead.
In between the goals Neves trudged off injured. He took a kick early on and failed to shake it off, making it a thoroughly miserable first period in which Wolves were also denied a penalty despite Matt Doherty appearing to be tripped in the box.
Nuno made eight changes at half time with only Saiss and wing backs Doherty and Barry Douglas staying on.
The new line-up looked up for the challenge and within 10 minutes they very nearly pulled a goal back – Bright Enobakhare slipped a lovely through ball for Michal Zyro who rolled the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper only to see it brilliantly cleared right on the line by Christos Shelis.
Wolves were seeing more of the ball and Enobakhare was enjoying a lively cameo and he again played through the defence, this time for Mason, although it was cleared.
Vinagre and Aaron Simpson replaced Douglas and Doherty and stretched the play down both flanks with their pace.
Wolves dominated most of the play but a goal just wasn't forthcoming. Saiss went close twice in a minute but his 25-yard free kick was well saved and from the resulting corner the Moroccan sent a free header over the bar.
After that the game petered out, with Wolves' attacking forays soon waning.
They face Peterborough on Tuesday and then Leicester on Saturday in their final pre-season match. Improvements will have to be made.
Shrewsbury (4-5-1): Henderson (MacGillivray, 45); Bolton, Sadler (Shelis, 45), Nsiala, Brown; Rodman (James, 62), Morris (John-Lewis, 45), Ogogo (Dodds, 62), Gnahoua (Whalley, 62), Nolan (Adams, 62); Morris.
Goals: Rodman (8), Morris (30)
Wolves first half (3-4-3): John Ruddy; Miranda, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves (Saiss, 22), Edwards (c), Douglas; Ronan, Dicko, Cavaleiro.
Wolves second half (3-4-3): Norris; Bennett, Batth (c), Deslandes; Doherty (Simpson, 62), Price, Saiss, Douglas (Vinagre, 62); Zyro, Mason, Enobakhare. Subs not used: Burgoyne, Graham.
Attendance: 5,409 (2,908 Wolves fans)
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