Wolves 5 Nottingham Forest 1: Wingers fly high as Kightly leads Wolves' rout of Forest

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The Independent Football

Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager, was as dour as ever following this comprehensive victory over Nottingham Forest, but even he could not help admitting that this was a performance to savour as his side rose to the top of the Championship. Michael Kightly scored twice in a five-goal feast for the home side, who are now hoisted above Preston and Birmingham City in the fledgling table.

"We played some great stuff and we could have had more," McCarthy said. "It's as good a performance as I've seen from a team of mine, or anybody's, for a 45-minute period for a long time."

The former Sunderland and Republic of Ireland manager reckons his team are now playing the sort of football he had planned for last season, with two wingers opening up the play in his preferred 4-4-2 formation.

"I had this thought last season when I signed Matt Jarvis and Michael Kightly," McCarthy said, "that this was how I wanted to play and then Jarvo got injured and Kightly got injured.

"We were bereft of the two of them for a while and then one came back and the other but never both of them on the pitch at the same time."

Even though he now has the personnel to create the desired shape of play, the Wolves manager had not expected this game to be so one-sided. "The game started fairly evenly," McCarthy explained. "They looked at us on Tuesday night and maybe wondered about our left side and perhaps thought we haven't got a left-back, but we have – Stephen Ward was brilliant.

"Forest play attractive football, but in doing so they leave themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack and we can do that. Jarvis was brilliant."

Kightly received plenty of attention from the visiting defenders and was picking himself up off the floor all afternoon. "I'd kick him if I was playing against him," McCarthy added.

David Jones opened the scoring after 14 minutes and an own goal from Wes Morgan just before the half-hour made it two. With Forest hoping for the half-time whistle, Kightly and Chris Iwelumo piled in with two goals in as many minutes.

A Richard Stearman own goal gave Forest a lifeline after the restart, but Kightly crowned a brilliant individual display with his second goal and Wolves' fifth.

Colin Calderwood, the Nottingham Forest manager, was disgusted by his side's performance. "We started well but gave away a cheap goal. After that we just couldn't compete," he said. "We lost our imagination in terms of how to play and stay in the game.

"If we had not let in a fourth goal before half-time we might have had a chance, but four is an incredibly hard position to come back from. We lost the desire to get the ball and we need to defend better as a back four."

Goals: D Jones (14) 1-0; Morgan og (29) 2-0; Kightly (43) 3-0; Iwelumo (45) 4-0; Stearman og (55) 4-1; Kightly (62) 5-1.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hennessey, Foley, Collins, Stearman, S Ward, Kightly (Gray, 77), D Jones, Henry, Jarvis (Edwards, 66), Iwelumo, Ebanks-Blake (Keogh, 65). Substitutes not used: D Ward, Ikeme.

Nottingham Forest: Smith, Chambers (Wilson, 71), Morgan, Breckin, Bennett, Perch (McCleary, 71), G Moussi, Cohen, Tyson (Cole, 71), Earnshaw, Martin. Substitutes not used: Thornhill, Roberts.

Referee: G Hegley (Hertfordshire).

Booked: Nottingham Forest Chambers, Bennett.

Man of the match: Kightly.

Attendance: 25,301.

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