FA Cup: Chorley 0 Wolves 1 - Report

Vitinha's wonderful finish saw grossly-below-par Wolves scrape past non-league Chorley and advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The Portuguese got his first goal for the club with a true moment of magic, but Nuno Espirito Santo's side were woeful for the rest of the clash at Victory Park.

Jamie Vermiglio will be hugely proud of his National League North outfit's attitude and application as they outperformed the Premier League lot for large parts of the evening.

Wolves avoided a repeat of that dark day in 1986, but there is not much to be positive about after this narrow victory. They crawl through.

Analysis

Losing 3-0 to Chorley at Bolton's old Burnden Park in this competition 35 years ago is what many class as the lowest point in the club's history.

And they could have easily lost to the Lancashire side again. It was a dreadful Wolves outing, completely devoid of ideas going forward and so soft in defence.

John Ruddy had to put in the best display he has had in ages, such was the barrage from the hosts in the second half.

Vitinha's goal was a thing of beauty, so fair play to him, but this was grim viewing on the whole. The backline are just refusing to mark men while the strikers did not make it stick all night.

The Magpies had some real opportunities while Wolves did not create a single clear chance.

If they carry on performing anything like this in the top flight, they will slide into major trouble.

It is a win and they are through to the next round where they will face either Arsenal or Southampton. Wolves, though, have no reason to be cheerful after this shocking showing. So much needs improving, and by an enormous margin.

Match report

Wolves – keen not to underestimate the sixth-tier outfit – put out a strong side including skipper Conor Coady and veteran midfielder Joao Moutinho.

In total, there were six changes from the team which lost 3-2 to Albion last weekend. Ruddy, as expected, came in between the sticks while Max Kilman, Ki-Jana Hoever, Rayan Ait-Nouri, Vitinha and Patrick Cutrone were also in the starting XI

Morgan Gibbs-White was not involved after testing positive for Covid-19 and entering a period of self-isolation. Romain Saiss was also absent.

One to keep an eye on in the Chorley XI, meanwhile, was midfielder Mike Calveley, having scored in each of the previous two rounds.

A 'bad' pitch was what Nuno anticipated, but given the adverse weather during the week the surface was in top condition and not disrupting the flow of Wolves' passing in the early stages.

Still, it was the Magpies who had the tie's first shot on target as Elliot Newby's low drive forced Ruddy to get down quickly to his left. Another speculative effort from Willem Tomlinson had to be caught by the Wolves keeper soon afterwards, too.

Nuno's lot, thankfully, were able to calm things down a bit 12 minutes in, taking the lead through Vitinha's stunning long-range strike.

With Chorley looking pretty solid while adopting a flat back five, the young Portuguese opted to let fire from around 40 yards and his swerving, dipping shot left Matt Urwin helpless.

That was a moment of pure quality from the attacking midfielder, who continued to look bright on the ball.

Credit to the hosts though, they did not let their heads drop after that goal. Arlen Birch swung in an inviting cross which was only cleared as far as Tomlinson, who guided his attempt from the edge of the box wide.

Wolves were then, in all fairness, guilty of giving it away cheaply on several occasions. The front pair of Fabio Silva and Cutrone were barely involved for large parts of the first half either.

They were ahead but not blowing the Magpies away, by any means, so it was not a surprise they failed to find another before the break.

The best they were able to muster was a curling Cutrone effort which flew over the crossbar on the stroke of half-time, with the overall play short of vigour and inventiveness. Room for vast improvement in the second period.

Vitinha and Hoever were both busy, but the robust and hard-working Magpies had done a superb job of containing everyone else in gold and black.

Vermiglio's charges had a great chance just seconds after the restart as well. Connor Hall was found unmarked in the area but could only guide his header right into the arms of Ruddy – a let-off, to put it lightly.

The lively Hall also saw a volley miss the target a few minutes later – failing to be picked up yet again.

Wolves were playing very poorly. There was an alarming lack of creativity and conviction from them, and the number of misplaced passes was growing at a rapid rate.

And they had Ruddy to thank for keeping them in front. Amid more lackadaisical defending from a set piece – not tracking runners – the stand-in stopper pulled off a wonderful save to deny Andy Halls at the far post.

Coady went into the book for a cynical foul on Harry Cardwell as well. Wolves, make no mistake, were on the ropes. It was wave after wave of Magpies attacks.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say, and Nuno brought on three of his big guns at once. Ruben Neves, Adama Traore and Pedro Neto entered the fray, in place of Moutinho, Vitinha and Cutrone.

Nuno's men looked a little more comfortable in the closing stages and, ultimately, got through.

Chorley can be immensely proud of their efforts, but Wolves' performance was borderline embarrassing.

Teams

Chorley (5-3-2): Urwin; Birch, Halls, Leather (c), Baines (Miller, 83), Shenton (Henley, 83); Tomlinson, Calveley, Newby; Cardwell, Hall (Smith, 87)

Subs not used: Dutton (gk), Putnam, Garratt, McKenzie, Roberts, Birchall

Wolves (3-5-2): Ruddy; Boly, Coady (c), Kilman; Hoever, Moutinho (Neves, 67), Dendoncker, Vitinha (Neto, 67), Ait-Nouri; Silva, Cutrone (Traore, 67)

Subs not used: Patricio (gk), Semedo, Lonwijk, Richards, Otasowie, Corbeanu

Goal: Vitinha (12)

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester)

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