Sky Bet Championship: Wolves edge out Norwich at Molineux
Last Updated: 12/08/14 3:00pm
A second-half header from David Edwards was enough to see Wolverhampton Wanderers to a 1-0 win over 10-man Norwich City at Molineux.
A solitary effort was all Wolves needed to make the perfect start to life back in the Sky Bet Championship, with Neil Adams left to curse Martin Olsson’s costly dismissal as his wait for a first success as Norwich manager continued.
Two evenly-matched sides cancelled each other out until the hour mark, when a rush of blood from Olsson changed the course of the tie.
The Swedish full-back was shown a second yellow card for tugging Rajiv van La Parra and reacted angrily to the brandishing of a red card by shoving referee Simon Hooper.
Norwich’s afternoon got a whole lot worse four minutes later, with Wolves debutant Van La Parra whipping over the perfect cross for Edwards to glance past John Ruddy.
Wolves dominated the match for long spells and the tone was set as early as 22 seconds into the game when Kenny Jackett's side should really have taken the lead.
But Edwards was wasteful on this occasion - blazing over the bar when well placed in the area after being picked out by Bakary Sako.
While Norwich briefly threatened in the opening exchanges when Nathan Redmond flashed a shot wide, it was Wolves who continued to carry more of a threat although they were struggling to find an end product to their build-up play and greater possession.
Van La Parra, on his debut following his summer switch from Heerenveen, and striker Nouha Dicko carried the greatest threat for Wolves.
Olsson found the pace and movement of Van La Parra a real problem and one particularly crude 27th-minute challenge earned him a booking from referee Hooper in a sign of what was to come later.
Dicko looked poised to finally make Wolves' pressure pay on the stroke of half-time when Sako whipped in a low left-wing cross.
But a desperate lunge from Norwich captain Russell Martin cleared the ball with Dicko ready to pounce.
Sako was then frustrated himself seconds later with a desperate block from Bradley Johnson deflecting his shot away for a corner.
Sako was becoming more of a threat as the game progressed and again he looked to have teed up Dicko in the 51st minute only for the ball to fly inches past the outstretched foot of the former Wigan marksman as he waited to pounce at the far post.
That let-off belatedly sparked Norwich out of their slumbers and they finally managed to force Wolves back on to the defensive - albeit only briefly.
Former Wolves midfielder Andrew Surman saw his 53rd-minute shot blocked and 60 seconds later Lewis Grabban, making his debut following his £3millon move from Bournemouth, forced Carl Ikeme into a smart save.
Any hopes Norwich had that the tide had turned in their favour proved to be short-lived as their task then became all the harder when Olsson saw red for a second rash challenge on the tricky Van La Parra.
Sako's free-kick was well saved but Wolves’ pressure finally told four minutes later when man of the moment Van La Parra floated over a right-wing cross that the unmarked Edwards headed home.
Sako should have given the final scoreline a more emphatic look eight minutes from time only to fire straight at John Ruddy from 14 yards after good work by Dicko.