Goal: (Doherty 18′, Gunnarsson 65′, Hoilett 78′)
Attendance: 30, 230
Cardiff City came from behind to secure back-to-back home wins with a 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday evening.
Matt Doherty’s first-half strike gave Wolves the lead at the interval but goals from both Aron Gunnarsson and Junior Hoilett ensured the Bluebirds moved up to 15th in the table.
A quiet opening to the evening saw chances a premium for both sides. Gunnarsson’s long throw eventually fell into the path of Joe Ralls, who rifled an effort wide of Rui Patricio’s post early on. While Cardiff skipper Sean Morrison also headed wide from Ralls’ free-kick in the opening stages.
But it was Nuno Santo’s side who took the lead through defender Doherty on his 200th appearance for the club.
Joao Moutinho’s corner found the head of Raul Jimenez and he forced an initial good save from Neil Etheridge, but Doherty was there to fire in the rebound.
It was the seventh time the Bluebirds had conceded from a set-piece this season, the joint-most in the league with Newcastle United.
Neil Warnock’s side looked to respond to the setback as Hoilett went close with a header from the edge of the area.
Cardiff’s best chance of the half fell to Bournemouth loanee Harry Arter just before the interval. After Victor Camarasa’s corner was met by the head of Morrison, Arter picked up a loose ball and smashed an effort against the post.
While Wolves could have doubled their lead as Neves flashed an effort wide of Etheridge’s near post.
The hosts appealed for a penalty just before the interval as Paterson went down in the Wolves penalty area. Paterson appealed for a spot-kick but referee Andre Marriner waved away his protests.
After the restart, Cardiff started with a more attacking intent as Josh Murphy flashed an effort into the side netting.
But Wolves went close to doubling their advantage through Neves. He was afforded too much time and was able to try his luck against Etheridge with a powerful effort from distance.
Warnock’s men created more chances in the opening stages of the second period and went close to levelling through Arter. The visitors’ defence failed to deal with a corner and the ball fell kindly to Arter, who saw his effort deflected off the line by Conor Coady.
But the Bluebirds’ pressure finally paid dividends as they got the equaliser they merited with 25 minutes remaining.
Goalkeeper Patricio failed to deal with a lofted ball into the area and after Morrison’s header fell to Gunnarsson, the Icelandic skipper hooked an effort past the Portuguese ‘keeper to level the scores.
Wolves looked to respond to the goal as substitute Diego Jota advanced into the penalty area, but Morrison timed his tackle to perfection to deny him from restoring the visitors’ lead.
A moment of magic from Hoilett was ultimately the difference between the two sides as he grabbed the winner with 12 minutes remaining.
After substitute Decordova-Reid saw his effort deflected, Hoilett picked his spot and curled home a wonderful strike off the under-side of the crossbar.
After priding themselves on being defensively sound from set-pieces last season, Neil Warnock would have been disappointing with how his team fell behind from a corner.
But the Bluebirds came out in the second half and showed much more of an attacking threat from the outset.
Harris and Decordova-Reid made an impact after coming on, both using their pace to attack Wolves’ defensive line.
Warnock’s men had to remain patient and lacked a cutting edge in the first half, but eventually got the three points they deserved in the second period.