Wolves 3-1 Burton: Championship leaders cruise to victory
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/03/18 3:50pm
Wolves took another step closer to promotion and the Sky Bet Championship title with a convincing 3-1 win against relegation-threatened Burton at Molineux.
The victory saw Wolves move six points clear of second-placed Cardiff. Helder Costa gave them the lead in the 15th minute with Benik Afobe scoring for the second successive match to double their advantage after 41 minutes.
Lloyd Dyer gave Burton some hope on the stroke of half-time before Wolves again opened up a two-goal advantage when Afobe grabbed his second in the 56th minute as Wolves eased to their third win in four games.
While the win kept Wolves on course for the Premier League, Burton are facing an increasingly uphill battle to avoid exiting the division in the opposite direction, having now won only one of their last 12 league games.
In extremely blustery conditions, Wolves made the perfect start through Costa. Burton's offside trap had worked well until a through ball from captain Conor Coady sprung it.
Coady's well placed ball over the top of the Burton defence fell perfectly for Costa. Burton goalkeeper Stephen Bywater came off his line to try to narrow the angle but Costa lifted the ball past him and into the far corner of the net.
It would have been easy for Burton to quickly fold after that setback. But they went in search of an equaliser and Marvin Sordell was unfortunate to see his shot blocked by a packed Wolves defence in the 24th minute.
While Burton were full of fight, Wolves carried the greater threat and they doubled their advantage through Afobe four minutes before half-time.
Once again, Burton were undone by a long through ball this time from Ruben Neves. Afobe was as clinical as Costa, rifling his shot past Bywater and into the far corner of the net.
That looked to have put the game out of the reach of Burton, but Dyer handed them a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.
Wolves failed to fully clear a Sordell corner and when the ball broke to Dyer on the edge of the area, he let fly with a low drive that took a deflection which left goalkeeper John Ruddy flat-footed as the ball flew past him.
Burton's comeback hopes did not last long though, as Wolves regained their two-goal cushion at the start of the second half when Afobe rolled home his second goal from 12 yards after being set up by Ivan Cavaleiro following his run into the penalty area.
That ensured Wolves moved six points above Cardiff as Burton remained in the bottom three.
Nuno: "It was a good performance that showed control and character. We know that playing well takes you to victory, but the consistency from the team that we asked for was there. This is the most important part of it as this is what we showed again today.
"They played really well. The crowd supported us and I think they enjoyed it but at the same time the lads enjoyed playing. The talent comes when you are organised and when you are intense and you are in shape and reacting to the loss of the ball. All these things are very important. The important is the how. The what and when will come naturally. The important thing is how we play."
Nigel Clough: "The quality Wolves have is very close now to Premier League standard. This was the biggest mismatch in English football today. You have got £15million players out there and that is more than half our budget. That shows the difference. With all the will in the world we didn't expect to get much today.
"My only criticism of the players is the goals that we conceded. They were a little bit too easy from our point of view."