Cort hat-trick ends Wolves' famine

Wolverhampton W 3 - Queen's Park Rangers 1
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The Independent Football

Cort struck twice in the opening 24 minutes and landed the injury-time killer blow against opponents he took three goals off last season. But with misses aplenty, notably by Kenny Miller, this seventh successive home victory was not the resounding success Hoddle is seeking.

It took Wolves seven minutes to start answering the demands for more goals. Rohan Ricketts, having already brought a good save out of Simon Royce from 30 yards, was well denied by the goalkeeper as he burst into the area from Cort's neat lay-off. But he quickly returned the ball to the goalmouth, where Cort chested down and drove in after Leon Clarke's miskick.

Rangers had not scored in three matches - and lost 3-0 in two of them. That did not stop them equalising in their first attack, though. Stefan Moore's 11th-minute centre from the left appeared to carry no particular menace but Kevin Gallen climbed highest to score with a fine header.

Gallen netted home and away against Wolves last season and Paul Furlong almost joined him in the act by thumping a shot against the knees of Michael Oakes.

But Wolves were generally in control and Cort had them back in front by side-footing home from close range after Kenny Miller had superbly gone round Ian Evatt to cross hard and low. It gave the scoreline a more realistic look, with Clarke twice coming close and Ricketts curling narrowly wide.

Wolves thought they had made the game safe just after the hour following more quality supply work by Miller. His right-wing cross was aimed for Cort, who was flagged for offside just before Danny Shittu intervened to stretch and slide past his own keeper. It was not a decision that sat well with an increasingly agitated crowd. Miller twice squandered clear opportunities to make it three before Cort put away Ricketts's through ball.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-3-3): Oakes; McNamara, Edwards, Lescott, Naylor; Kennedy, Anderton, Ricketts; Miller, Cort, Clarke (Olofinjana, 62). Substitutes not used: Ikeme (gk), Gyepes, Davies, Ndah.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Royce; Evatt, Shittu, Santos, Milanese; Bignot, Doherty, Bircham, Moore; Gallen, Furlong. Substitutes not used: Cole (gk), Bean, Brown, Ainsworth, Shimmin.

Referee: N Miller (County Durham).

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