Derby 0 Wolves 2 – Report and pictures
Barry Douglas and Ivan Cavaleiro were on the scoresheet as Wolves produced a deeply impressive 2-0 win at Derby.
Douglas put Wolves in front just after the half hour with a low drive from the left of the box.
Wolves spurned a trio of golden chances early in the second half including Diogo Jota hitting the post and Leo Bonatini missing an open goal.
But they got the second goal their scintillating football deserved 15 minutes from time when Cavaleiro scored a tap-in on the break after good work from Jota and Bright Enobakhare.
Wolves don't win at Derby. In fact not only do they not win, they tend to get absolutely hammered.
Three seasons ago it was 5-0, two seasons ago it was 4-2 and last season it was a very flattering 3-1, writes Tim Spiers at Pride Park.
In fact not only do they not win at Derby, they also tend not to play incisive, piercing, beautiful football as well. But they managed to win – and in sensational style.
Some of the stuff played in the second half was heavenly. The 2,500 short-sleeved fans in the away end absolutely lapped it up.
Yes, something is stirring at Wolves. They've played three games this season, won all three, scored four goals and conceded none. And Helder Costa isn't even fit yet.
Whisper it quietly but they look solid and organised at the back, tidy in midfield and explosive up front. Creativity was lacking against Boro but here it was laid on by the bucketload, with Diogo Jota and Bright Enobakhare playing some downright filthy passes and Matt Doherty and Barry Douglas a constant threat on the overlap.
And Nuno Espirito Santo has just become the first Wolves manager since Ronnie Allen in 1965 to win all his first three games in charge.
The celebrations at full time were special. They were in August last year too at Blues away – but this year it feels like there's far more substance to go with Wolves' style.
Perhaps surprisingly Nuno stuck with the XI that beat Middlesbrough last weekend, choosing to leave suspension-free Ivan Cavaleiro on the bench.
Dave Edwards and Jordan Graham were left out of the squad, with no injuries for either player, meaning Jack Price got a spot on the bench.
Derby fielded ex-Wolves loanee Andreas Weimann in their starting XI, as well as striker Chris Martin who Wolves tried to sign last summer.
And the hosts made the better start with both Weimann and Martin heavily involved and Tom Huddlestone pulling the strings in midfield.
Wolves were twice indebted to captain Conor Coady – who was the subject of a bid from Sheffield United in the week – for saving what looked certain goals.
First Martin sent a flick on in Weimann's direction in the box, with a crucial Coady toe denying the Austrian a free shot from 10 yards.
Then Derby sliced Wolves open with a scintillating move through the middle – Martin's pass again released Weimann and this time Coady had to block with a perfectly-timed sliding tackle.
Other than that Wolves were largely untroubled, with John Ruddy's goal well protected.
At the other end they were struggling to make headway for the first half an hour with their passing range off.
But after that second Weimann chance the visitors burst into life, creating a succession of chances.
Matt Doherty crossed to Leo Bonatini who turned not far wide at the near post, then Bonatini lashed threateningly into the six yard box.
Wolves were on top and on 32 minutes their pressure paid off. An Enobakhare cross towards Bonatini was blocked, it came out to Douglas who struck low and true from 10 yards and it deflected off Richard Keogh into the net.
Doherty and Douglas were proving very threatening on the overlap and Enobakhare and Jota were beginning to link productively with them. Crosses from the two wing backs caused more danger and Wolves didn't want the half time whistle to come.
Indeed the half time break did Derby some good – they came out a different team at the start of the second half.
Twice in the opening three minutes they went close. First Curtis Davies was allowed a free header which he put just over the bar. Then Coady misjudged the flight of a long ball forward – it came to Russell whose well-struck effort from 20 yards was palmed wide by Douglas.
Wolves were on the ropes...but in the next few minutes they somehow contrived to spurn two of the most gilt-edged opportunities they could have wished for.
First Jota was put clean through in Derby's half...he ran fully 50 yards but began to slow up before shooting, perhaps unaware of Andre Wisdom haring to catch him up and the defender got in a perfect sliding tackle in the nick of time.
Then Bonatini played in Jota with a gorgeous pass – he struck the post from 15 yards, the ball came out to Bonatini who somehow put it over the bar with the goal gaping.
Wolves were carving through Derby like a machete through cream cheese. Enobakhare's filthy inside flick set Doherty into the box – he looked set to double the lead but sliced it into the side netting.
In a breathtaking start to the second half they were tested again at the other end when Ruddy had to tip Huddlestone's 20-yarder over the bar, before Ivan Cavaleiro replaced Bonatini.
But then, finally came the second goal Wolves' play so merited. Enobakhare played a crucial role, playing past his man and then feeding Jota who unselfishly teed up Cavaleiro for a tap in.
Thereafter Wolves cruised it, with Jota and Enobakhare given standing ovations by the delirious away end.
It's very, very early days. But there's absolutely nothing not to be very pleased with so far. Long may it continue.
27 – Conor Coady brilliantly slides in to block Andreas Weimann from close range.
32 – GOAL – Bright Enobakhare's cross eventually drops to Barry Douglas whose low drive hits Richard Keogh and bounces into the net.
53 – Diogo Jota has the whole of the Derby half to himself but just as he's about to shoot Wisdom catches him and tackles.
54 – Jota fires against the post, Leo Bonatini has the goal gaping but fires over.
58 – Matt Doherty plays a one-two with Enobakhare and fires into the side netting from a great position.
75 – GOAL – Blistering counter from Wolves, Enobakhare plays to Jota who squares to Ivan Cavaleiro for a tap in.
Derby (4-3-3): Carson; Wisdom, Keogh (c), Davies, Forsyth; Butterfield (Bryson, 62), Huddlestone, Johnson; Weimann (Anya, 71), Martin, Russell (Nugent, 62). Subs: Mitchell, Baird, Pearce, Bennett.
Wolves (3-4-3): John Ruddy; Miranda, Coady (c), Boly; Doherty, Neves, Saiss, Douglas; Enobakhare (Ronan, 81), Bonatini (Cavaleiro, 65), Jota (Dicko, 86). Subs: Norris, Bennett, Batth, Price.
Goals: Douglas (32), Cavaleiro (75)
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)