Wolves booked their place in the Emirates FA Cup fifth-round after finally seeing off a spirited Shrewsbury Town side at Molineux. The two-tied clash proved full of trills and spills, ups and downs, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s side showed their professionalism to break down the League One side, as Ivan Cavaleiro’s winner set up a trip to Bristol City in the last 16.
When Matt Doherty tucked the hosts ahead after just 90 seconds, Wolves looked on course for a comfortable evening, but they’d have no such luck. Shrewsbury boasted big hearts at Molineux and levelled through James Bolton’s thumping header, before Josh Laurent’s effort from range bamboozled John Ruddy to put the visitors ahead.
Doherty continued to make his stamp on the contest however, and his simple header drew Wolves level before the break. Continuous pressure followed in the second period and the home side’s dominance finally told through Cavaleiro’s quality, as the Portuguese skipped into the penalty area and fired home the winner.
It was a goal courtesy of Wolves’ right wing-back which forced the replay ten days ago, so fittingly Doherty began the scoring in the return tie at Molineux less than two minutes in. Morgan Gibbs-White’s initial delivery was poor, but his return was much improved and allowed Saiss to nudge into the path of Doherty, who calmly tucked into the bottom corner.
However, that dream start quickly evaporated as the plucky League One opponents responded. Greg Docherty prized a corner out of Conor Coady and Wolves didn’t regroup in time. Oliver Norburn’s corner evaded everyone inside the Wolves box apart from Bolton, who crashed his header into the back of the net. Two set pieces, two goals, 1-1 at Molineux.
Nevertheless, Wolves continued to play their usual game and when Adama Traore beat Ryan Haynes all ends up, his cross was on the money for Jonny, but his vicious volley was blocked in the nick of time by Luke Waterfall. While Jonny was unlucky, Willy Boly only had himself to blame for not reinstating Wolves’ lead, as he headed Gibbs-White’s corner wide when unmarked.
By the half-hour mark, Wolves were enjoying more of the ball and from a Doherty knock-down, Saiss tried in vain to scramble the ball over the line. However, due to one momentary lapse in concentration, the Shrews edged ahead through a stroke of fortune. Laurent’s speculative effort from range bounced and was spilled by Ruddy into the net.
However, Wolves were able to go in for half-time level thanks to Doherty’s second of the night and third of the tie. Jonny’s deep cross saw Ivan Cavaleiro challenge Shrewsbury goalkeeper Steve Arnold, who dropped the ball under pressure and allowed the Irishman to nod into an unguarded net and conclude the half’s scoring.
Half-time: Wolves 2 Shrewsbury 2
The first 15 minutes brought continued pressure from the hosts, which was rewarded on 62 minutes. Wolves owed a great deal to Traore, who robbed Omar Beckles of possession, which allowed Doherty to free Cavaleiro, and the Portuguese did the rest, brilliantly rolling the ball past the Shrewsbury defence and tucking underneath Arnold.
With 20 remaining Joao Moutinho was given a run-out, taking the place of Helder Costa. Then, with Nuno not fully satisfied at 3-2, he put Raul Jimenez on in place of Traore, who’d put in an tireless shift. The changes were disrupting any possible flow and Shrews substitute Shaun Whalley dragged a shot wide from range with 13 minutes remaining.
With Jimenez now on, the Mexican naturally wanted to continue his fine goal scoring form, and forced a save out of Arnold after a perfectly-weighted pass through by Doherty. At the other end, Town remained a threat with just one goal separating the two teams, and Beckles fancied a dig from range, but Ruddy was happy to watch is sail wide.
With time running out, Bolton lashed high into the North Bank for the visitors, before Niall Ennis was given a moment to remember, replacing Cavaleiro for his professional debut. But in added time it was the visitors pressing and Laurent’s header sailed a little too high for Ruddy’s crossbar. Fortunately, that was the finally action and Wolves finally saw off Shrewsbury.
Full-time: Wolves 3 Shrewsbury 2
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny, Saiss, Gibbs-White, Cavaleiro (Ennis 88), Costa (Moutinho 69), Traore (Jimenez 77)
Unused subs: Norris, Giles, Dendoncker, Neves.
Shrewsbury: Arnold, Haynes, Beckles, Docherty, Okenabirhie (Amadi-Holloway 87), Bolton, Vincelot (Sears 38), Gilliead (Whalley 66), Waterfall, Laurent, Norburn.
Unused subs: Charles-Cook, Edwards, Rowland, Ward.