Derby County vs Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sky Bet Championship.
Pride Park StadiumAttendance29,063.
Sunday 18 October 2015 17:32, UK
Derby gave another big sign of their promotion credentials and extended their unbeaten run to six games as captain Chris Martin led the Rams to a 4-2 Sky Bet Championship win over Wolves.
Martin scored a brace inside 27 minutes before a missed penalty denied him a first-half hat-trick, but Bradley Johnson helped make it 3-1 at the break.
Johnny Russell added a fourth for Derby before the hour mark, helping the side to a third straight win and back into the play-off places.
A Wolves side that promised much in the build-up were left chasing the game throughout, even if goals in either half from star man Benik Afobe and Adam Le Fondre gave them outside hopes of extending their own unbeaten run to five.
Wolves had struck six unanswered goals over their last two games, but they had few answers on Sunday as Derby bossed the opening exchanges.
Barely had Kenny Jackett's men got their bearings than Martin gave Derby the lead on three minutes, as a well-worked throw-in was eventually laid on a plate for him to curl home from the edge of the box.
George Thorne nearly made it two shortly after, with Wolves goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez's diving save keeping out his 30-yard volley.
Wolves needed a reliable hand at the wheel, and winger James Henry stepped up, his low corner helping to put the visitors level in the 19th minute as Jed Wallace's dummy allowed former Arsenal man Afobe to smash it in first time.
Henry was proving a menace with his crosses, while Le Fondre was denied from close range by a fantastic block from Derby centre-back Jason Shackell.
Rattled, and with Tom Ince ineffective on the right, the Rams had to lie in wait for a defensive lapse. One duly arrived on 27 minutes as Wolves failed to clear deep in their own half, leaving Johnson to send a cross to the far post for Martin to head in his second.
A frantic end to the first half came in stoppage time, with Martin first denied from the penalty spot by Martinez, after Danny Batth brought down Ince, before the resultant corner was bundled home somewhat inadvertently by Johnson at the far post.
Derby were clearly eager to extend that lead quickly after the interval, as Russell's darting runs caused much trouble for Wolves, who then saw the number 11 poke home a half-clearance on 56 minutes, after some great footwork from Jeff Hendrick.
Wolves, as in the first half, responded with a goal, but not before Jackett made a double change with Jack Price making way for Conor Coady and Wallace replaced by Sheyi Ojo. It was the latter who helped reduce the deficit, as he headed down for Le Fondre, the Cardiff loanee finishing well on the turn.
Nevertheless, the hosts appeared largely in control as Russell continued to haunt the Wolves backline.
The visitors did have a chance to pull one back with three minutes left, with Henry given a free-kick from within range on the left, though the effort was blazed over, summing up Wolves' day out at the iPro Stadium.