Date: 18th February 2018 at 6:14pm
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Wolves added another point to their collection at Deepdale and saw their lead at the top of the table trimmed to 11 points by Cardiff, but actually gained a point on Aston Villa who lost at Fulham.

It was an unchanged team that started the game although Bonatini and Saiss had both recovered from injuries and took a place on the bench;

Ruddy
Bennett, Coady, Boly
Doherty, Neves, N’Diaye, Douglas
Costa, Jota, Cavaleiro

It was an even first half hour with little in the way of goalmouth action. Preston often forcing Wolves on to the back foot but Wolves looking dangerous going forward with Jota especially lively. The first real opening came when Costa burst through in the inside left position but blazed his shot well over. Then Jota beat three Preston defenders before seeing his shot blocked. From the next attack the ball is cleared only as far as Neves 25 yards out and his dipping shot is only inches over the bar. Preston were close to breaking the deadlock when Davies outjumped Bennett on the back post to meet a corner, and headed just wide.

The hosts started the second half well and a shot from Browne came back off the far post. Then another shot was deflected over and from a corner Browne outjumped Douglas on the far post to power in a header to put Preston ahead. But Wolves were given a lifeline 7 minutes later when Welsh brought down Cavaleiro and received his second yellow card and his marching orders. Wolves lined up Afobe to come off the bench but before he could make his entrance Wolves were level. Cavaleiro made a break from midfield and played in Costa who blasted his shot low into the net.

Wolves dominated the last 20 minutes and Neves hit another long distance shot just over. Preston were packing their defence now and Wolves were struggling to find the way through but finally they made an opening when Doherty fed Afobe but his shot was straight at the keeper. Then another rocket from Neves sees a fine save by home keeper Rudd.

Ruddy 5 – dropped a couple of crosses and his handling has been far from secure in recent games
Bennett 7 – another steady game
Coady 8 – outstanding again at the centre of the defence
Boly 7 – stood up well to the aerial bombardment that included another game of long throws into the box from the opposition
Doherty 7 – had a good game on the right with some penetrating runs
Neves 7 – had three fine long distance shots and spread the ball to the wing backs in a way that we are in danger of taking for granted
N’Diaye 6 – not as effective today in a crowded midfield
Douglas 7 – better and more positive today
Costa 7 – had some good runs and took his goal well
Jota 8 – a constant threat to the home defence with his positive runs
Cavaleiro 8 – such an improved player compared to last season, becoming more consistent and using his ability more effectively
Afobe 5 – missed one opportunity and not been the return he and the fans were hoping for so far. What’s more Wolves adapt their game when he comes on with Jota and Costa dropping deeper and that makes them less effective.
Bonatini and Saiss both given short cameos late on.

A decent performance and a decent point against a difficult to beat Preston team. Not sure the substitutions helped Wolves momentum once Preston went down to ten as although Wolves dominated the last twenty minutes they didn’t look as threatening in the final third. Norwich come to Molineux on Wednesday evening for the next stage on the promotion mission.