3-1 to Wolves
Wolves 3 (Ward 8, Ebanks-Blake 61, Edwards 70)
Barnsley 1 (Cywka 79)
An injury-ravaged Reds side battled hard at recently relegated Wolves but couldn’t prevent the pace and movement of the hosts at Molineux.
There were certainly chances for Hill’s side and it was a night to remember for Tomasz Cywka as he opened up his Tykes account with a neat turn and finish – but it only proved to be a consolation for his side.
The two sides exchanged efforts on target but both lacked power, Davies for the Reds shooting straight at Ikeme on five minutes after hunting down Golbourne’s long punt.
Two minutes later Johnson rose highest to nod a Jarvis cross straight at Gonzalez but the hosts didn’t waste a chance from Ward moments later, slotting past the advancing Gonzalez on eight minutes.
Cywka slipped a great ball through for Davies who fancied his chances on his left this time, and had Ikeme scrambling to his left but the ball drifted inches wide.
Perkins charged through on13 minutes and probably should have taken aim himself but instead attempted to slip in Davies but the big striker was forced too wide.
Cywka planted an absolute peach of a pull-back into the area that was just begging to be turned home after doing well to bring down a looping Mellis through-ball but not blue and black shirt was in sight.
Despite the vociferous Molineux crowd fiercely backing every Wolves charge forward, the Reds were by no means out of it. Doyle then tried his luck from 25 yards but only made Gonzalez pull off a routine save.
Keith Hill’s side powered into the second half with a break down the right-hand side and Etuhu charged at a deflected Davies cross although Ikeme had a fairly simple task of gathering down the centre.
Marlon Harewood had Ikeme worried as the big frontman, who spent time on loan with Wolves in 2009, fired from distance just wide.
In an attempt to freshen up the attack, Chris Dagnall came on for Marlon Harewood up top, minutes after Perkins was forced off with what looked like a precaution.
But Wolves doubled their lead in bizarre fashion through Sylvan Ebanks-Blake found himself in the Barnsley box completely unmarked and looked embarrassed as he put the ball home, as he himself was waiting for the offside flag. After the referee debated with his assistant he gave the goal and Wolves were delighted.
Martin Cranie was thrown on for a tough debut as he replaced Bobby Hassell and it certainly wasn’t the perfect start as Edwards found room to tap home a header, giving Gonzalez no chance from six yards, as he met Peszko’s header.
The third goal was certainly a killer blow for the Reds with just over 20 minutes left to play.
There was a glimmer of hope as the Reds found a lifeline through Tomasz Cywka and it was a net finish from the Pole. Kelvin Etuhu powered down the right and pulled a great ball back for Cywka who spun and tucked into the far corner from 10 yards.
A great chance opened up once more this time as Davies gunned forward and the big man fired wildly over the ball with team-mates in arguably better positions.
Jarvis whipped in a splendid ball for Sigurdarson to glance a header onto the bar – it was a terrific delivery from the wide-man who will certainly stand out head and shoulders above the rest of the division.
Wolves slowed the tempo but Barnsley still posed a threat, although their decision making in the final third let them down on the night. Deep into five added minute Doyle danced his way forward and almost curled home an acute finish but his effort nicked the post.
Wolves: Ikeme, Peszko, Henry (Edwards 64), Ebanks-Blake (Sigurdarson 64), Ward, Johnson, Berra, Jarvis, Zubar, Doumbia, Doyle.
Subs: Stearman, Nouble, Davis, Forde, De Vries.
Reds: Gonzalez, Hassell (Cranie 66), Golbourne, Foster, Davies, Perkins (Dawson 51), Wiseman, Mellis, Etuhu, Cywka, Harewood (Dagnall 57).
Subs: Lidakevicius, Collins, Cranie, Clark, Rose.
Referee: P. Gibbs
Assistant Referees: J. Scott & G. Stretton
Fourth Official: M. Amphlett
Att: 24, 400 (475 away)