Cort gives bite to hungry Wolves

Wolves 2 Fulham 1
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The Independent Football

Carl Cort sealed a priceless Molineux win as Wolves proved they were up for the Premiership survival fight.

Cort's first goal for his new club in the 50th minute sunk shoddy Fulham and proved enough to lift Dave Jones' men off the foot of the table.

Paul Ince's second goal of the season after 20 minutes had put the home side back on track after a five–game winless sequence which suggested they were heading back to the Nationwide League with a whimper.

But Wolves were still forced to cling on for their victory after Steed Malbranque's 82nd–minute strike set up a frantic last–gasp period of visiting attacks.

An equaliser would have been so tough on Wolves whose prospects had been enhanced considerably by the abject Cottagers who remain desperately short of front–line firepower since the sale of Louis Saha.

Europe will soon be a distant dream for Chris Coleman's men on this showing, with livelier and hungrier Wolves full value for their win despite never really getting out of second gear.

Indeed after Ince's well–worked opener Fulham took it upon themselves to gift their opponents the second with both Carlos Bocanegra and Ian Pearce guilty of defensive howlers to cue up the simplest of chances for Cort.

Wolves – boosted by the return of Henri Camara – started tenaciously with Alex Rae once again at the centre of everything.

His clever backheel enabled Kenny Miller to bring the game's first save out of Edwin van der Sar after five minutes.

Luis Boa Morte and Malbranque occasionally threatened to stretch the Wolves full–backs but such was the paucity of their threat in the centre that the home side were seldom put in danger.

Ince seized his chance to fire low to van der Sar's right after Rae cleverly headed on Mark Clyde's high ball to the edge of the box.

Camara excited the fans twice in the next five minutes but once again failed to add to his poor goalscoring tally. His first shot hit Bocanegra and squirted up over the bar, and his next rising effort was caught by the Fulham keeper.

Mark Kennedy almost caught the visitors napping with a quick free–kick before Fulham's first real chance on the half–hour.

Pearce was left unmarked at the far post for Sean Davis' free–kick but poked his shot into the side–netting.

At the other end Cort put Miller clean through but van der Sar reacted superbly to save his shot with an acrobatic save at close range.

Wolves continued to press with Paul Butler's goal–bound effort deflected out for a corner by Bocanegra in the 35th minute.

Brian McBride's fine volley six minutes from the break was saved well by Wolves keeper Paul Jones and Pearce headed over in first–half injury time suggesting a second half revival might be on the cards for the visitors. But five minutes after the interval Fulham's threatened comeback appeared to have ground to a halt in the most ridiculous manner.

Camara charged down a sloppy clearance from Bocanegra then Pearce nudged the ball straight into Cort's path. And the former Newcastle man kept his cool to prod the ball past van der Sar and out of reach of the frantically back–pedalling Pearce.

Wolves were almost home and dry in the 71st minute when an Ince rocket cannoned off the underside of the bar and down onto the goalline.

Ince's follow–up header was well saved by the Fulham keeper but at that moment Wolves' points seemed to be in the bag. Sylvain Legwinski shot wide and Sean Davis scooped a simple chance over the bar. But Wolves were still left to live on their nerves when Malbranque finally hit the target for Fulham eight minutes from time.

Boa Morte cut in from the right and hit a low shot which Jones could only parry into the path of the Londoners' inspirational midfielder. Jones was forced to save late from Davis during the visitors' dramatic late push.

Wolves 2
Ince 20, Cort 51

Fulham 1
Malbranque 84

Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 28,424

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