Cooper double just the tonic for beleaguered Jones

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 - Derby County 0
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The Independent Football

Molineux held its breath for the possible sacking of Dave Jones last night. Instead, it witnessed an even more momentous event - a Wolverhampton Wanderers goal from a penalty.

Molineux held its breath for the possible sacking of Dave Jones last night. Instead, it witnessed an even more momentous event - a Wolverhampton Wanderers goal from a penalty.

Kevin Cooper succeeded early on where six of his team-mates had failed earlier in this tortuous season.

And, if his beleaguered manager had, indeed, been within one defeat of the exit door, he was breathing easily from the 49th minute when the same player brilliantly made it two against a side long since down to 10 men.

Having taken Paul Ince off at half-time at Nottingham Forest on Friday in Wolves' third successive defeat, Jones decided he could do without him altogether last night. The captain, who would be strongly in line to become caretaker manager if Jones is dismissed, was in the stands to see Wolves make a strong start.

The recalled Colin Cameron had already brought an unconvincing save from Lee Camp when the two clashed with greater significance in the 17th minute.

The keeper's advance from his line towards Kenny Miller's overhead through ball was followed by a blatant foul on Cameron - and the inevitable red card. Derby-born Kevin Cooper was the latest volunteer for the hot potato that is the job of Wolves penalty-taker and made no mistake with a fierce shot past substitute Lee Grant.

Wolves have made an art form of blowing hot and cold this season and Michael Oakes had to scramble wide a header from Grzegorz Rasiak almost immediately.

It proved to be Derby's only serious effort, though, of a half which Wolves controlled busily without often threatening a second goal. But they had to wait only four minutes of the second half virtually to ensure their first home win since beating Everton in the Premiership in May.

Adam Bolder was booked for fouling Miller 25 yards out after Tom Huddlestone was dispossessed, and Cooper stepped up without hesitation to curl a tremendous left-foot free-kick over Derby's wall and in at Grant's near post.

Derby hadn't looked capable of pulling one back, so two looked well beyond them. They might well have further behind when Cameron clipped the bar from 30 yards and then Miller completely miscued a lob.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Oakes; Lowe, Craddock, Bischoff, Kennedy; Cooper, Cameron, Olofinjana, Seol (,Newton, 70), Cort (Clark, 79), Miller. Substitutes not used: Murray (gk), Naylor, Andrews.

Derby County (4-4-2): Camp; Jackson, Mills, Johnson (Huddlestone, 45), Vincent; Tudgay, Bolder, Taylor, Reich (Grant, 16); Smith ( Holmes, 67), Rasiak. Substitutes not used: Junior, Peschisolido.

Referee: D Gallagher.

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