Bialkowski outstanding as Wolves edge closer to top flght
Matt Doherty’s first-half goal took Wolves one step closer to the Premier League.
The defender finished off a clever move with a far post header inside the first quarter hour and the runaway leaders rarely looked like letting slip the three points from there.
The visitors were a constant threat on the break and the outstanding Bart Bialkowski produced a string of saves to keep Blues in the game.
Town kept pushing to the final whistle though and Grant Ward almost grabbed a point in added on time.
Town made two changes to the side that drew at Bolton last week, Jordan Spence returning from suspension and Stephen Gleeson handed his first start on his home debut following his arrival from Birmingham.
Wolves had a free-kick cleared by David McGoldrick inside the first minute, then Bersant Celina responded for Blues with a 50 yard run that forced a corner.
Ruben Neves fired well over from distance, Callum Connolly much closer with a strike from 25 yards that John Ruddy had to deal with.
Martyn Waghorn’s chip had Ruddy scampering across his goal to prevent an opener but it was the visitors who struck on 15 minutes, Doherty’s header at the far post from Barry Douglas’ cross finishing off a clever move.
Connolly had a shot blocked on the edge of the box after Waghorn’s free-kick had only been partially cleared, McGoldrick doing his defensive duties superbly to clear from Diogo Jota.
Bialkowski denied the dangerous Douglas with a save at full stretch from a free-kick after Gleeson had been punished for a challenge on Neves.
Bialkowski did even better on the half hour to get a big right hand to Jota’s shot after Wolves had broke at pace. Connolly forced Ruddy into a save from 25 yards, Celina just wide with a curler as Town continued to carry a threat.
Neves thundered another long ranger wide, Ruddy forced to tip over McGoldrick’s right foot effort, then Celina burst into the box but ran out of angle in the last action of a free-flowing first-half.
Waghorn couldn’t make Celina’s cross count as Town started the second-half on the front foot, Wolves looking a danger on the break though and Jota tested Bialkowski from the edge of the box.
Town’s ‘keeper was first class again to deny Jota after Helder Costa had set him up, then Jota burst clear again after a slick passing move but with the goal gaping, his pass failed to find Costa for what looked to be a certain second.
Bialkowski denied Costa from Ivan Cavaleiro’s pass, Waghorn smashing a vicious left footer into the sidenetting, substitute Leo Bonatini then rifling a goalbound volley with his first touch that hit Luke Chambers and bounced to safety.
Bialkowski denied Wolves again when he kept out Bonatini’s effort after the Brazilian had got in on goal, then got down to his right to keep out Bright Enobakhare’s strike.
Town made a triple change for the last 10 minutes, Luke Hyam, Freddie Sears and Grant Ward all entering the fray.
Ruddy saved from Celina and in added on time a cross wasn’t dealt with by the Wolves 'keeper but Ward couldn’t take advantage.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Carter-Vickers, Knudsen, Gleeson (Hyam 83), Connolly, Celina, Waghorn, McGoldrick (Sears 83), Garner (Ward 83). Subs not used: Crowe, Webster, Bru, Kenlock. Booked: Waghorn, Gleeson, Connolly.
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Douglas, N’Diaye, Bennett, Cavaleiro (Bonatini 70), Neves, Boly, Coady, Costa (Enobakhare 77), Jota. Subs not used: Norris, Baath, Gibbs-White, Miranda, Vinagre. Booked: N’Diaye.