Derby County 0
Wolves 2 (Douglas 41, Cavaleiro 76)
Wolves have suffered some disappointing defeats at Pride Park in recent seasons but a brilliant performance by the Molineux men ensured that Derby County were distinctly second best this time around and if there was any real criticism it would be that the winning margin of 2-0 should have been far greater.
Nuno Espirito Santo fielded the same side that had beaten Middlesbrough in the season’s opener as County kicked-off attacking the end of the ground that held over 3,000 travelling fans.
Bradley Johnson was wide with an attempted chip in the opening minute and, after a Jota corner had been cleared, Derby won two flag-kicks of their own each taken by Tom Huddlestone and each headed clear by Romain Saiss.
Jota got a shot in on the Derby goal but he failed to make a good connection and the ball deflected away for an unproductive corner.
A low cross from Andre Wisdom looked likely to cause problems for the visiting defence but the ball struck Willy Boly before bouncing onto Jacob Butterfield and rolling behind.
Andreas Weimann, who enjoyed a loan spell at Molineux last season, almost broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute as he jinked his way deep into the Wolves area. It took a great tackle from Conor Coady to prevent a shot with John Ruddy completing the clearance.
Barry Douglas almost unlocked the Derby back line with a volleyed cross that flew through the goalmouth but he did the trick in the 32nd minute as he scored his first goal for the club.
Matt Doherty sent in a low driven cross from the right that deflected off home skipper Richard Keogh straight into the path of Douglas who lashed a shot that flew in off the unfortunate Keogh.
Shortly before the break the dangerous Douglas fired in yet another low cross and Curtis Davies, facing his own goal, had to head behind
Half-Time: Rams 0 Wolves 1
County had two chances in the opening minutes of the new half with Davies heading over after a free-kick from the right, and then Ruddy made a fine save in knocking away Johnny Russell’s shot after he had broken into the right hand channel of the Wolves area.
Then it was the turn of Wanderers to pile on the pressure with Jota breaking from his own half with only keeper Scott Carson in front of him. A second Wolves goal looked inevitable but Wisdom chased back and got in a tremendous saving tackle on the 18-yard line.
In the 56th minute the woodwork came to County’s rescue. Jota played a one-two with Bright Enobakhare and he saw his shot turned onto a post by Carson. The ball bounced down to Leo Bonatini but, from a good position, he lifted it over.
Seconds later, Enobakhare was involved in another one-two, this time with Doherty who after doing all the hard work slammed the ball into the side netting.
Apart from the opening 15 minutes, Wolves had looked by far the more dominant side but Derby still posed a threat and Ruddy had to athletically turn over a 25-yard drive from Johnson
Derby made a double switch in the 62nd minute with David Nugent and Craig Bryson replacing Russell and Butterfield. Further changes followed with Ivan Cavaleiro taking over from Bonatini, and for County when Ikechi Anya went on for Weimann.
The goal that Wanderers deserved finally arrived in the 76th minute. Doherty broke on the right and fed Enobakhare who slipped a great ball to Jota. He ran into the box and, with just Carson to beat, unselfishly slipped a pass to Cavaleiro who couldn’t miss.
Ruddy had to turn a powerful header from Nugent over the bar and, in stoppage time, substitute Nouha Dicko had a shot blocked at close range after he had been set up by Cavaleiro.
Rams: Carson, Forsyth, Keogh (capt), Russell (Nugent 62), Martin, Wisdom, Johnson, Butterfield (Bryson 62), Weimann (Anya 71), Davies, Huddlestone.
Unused subs: Mitchell, Baird, Pearce, M. Bennett.
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Douglas, Coady (capt), Boly, Miranda, Saiss, Enobakhare (Ronan 81), Bonatini (Cavaleiro 65), Neves, Jota (Dicko 86).
Unused subs: Norris, Bennett, Batth, Price.
Referee: L. Probert.
Wolves Academy Under 18s 1 (Carr) West Bromwich Albion 1.