ROVERS were the masters of their downfall as they went down to a deserved defeat at fortress Molineux.
All three goals that Kenny Jackett’s promoted side scored were completely avoidable with Nouha Dicko’s early opener a consequence of a shocking pass from recalled midfielder Lee Williamson and Bakary Sako’s double a result of lacklustre defending.
Rovers did have prolonged periods of possession and pressure – although never intense – and Jordan Rhodes’ coolly taken 59th-minute penalty gave them genuine hope of staging a fightback after they headed down the tunnel at the break two goals down.
But their hopes evaporated nine minutes later after man-of-the-match Sako netted his second of the afternoon.
The loss leaves Gary Bowyer’s team 14th in the early Championship standings going into the international break with seven points from a possible 15 whereas Wolves are flying high in third with four wins out of five.
Rovers were dealt a big blow before kick off when talismanic striker Rudy Gestede failed a late fitness test after hurting his ankle in training yesterday.
And with in-form Markus Olsson unavailable due to a family bereavement that meant Bowyer was forced to make two changes to the side which had started last Saturday’s 3-2 home win over Bournemouth.
That was the last thing the Rovers boss would have wanted to do against a Wolves team defending a 14-match unbeaten home league run stretching back to December.
And it was one the players he brought back into his line-up who gifted the hosts the game’s opening goal after a closely fought first 12 minutes.
Williamson, 25 yards from his own goal, attempted to play an unnecessarily ambitious pass out to the right flank.
To the surprise of no-one it was intercepted and from then on Rovers were in trouble.
After the ball was switched out wide former Burnley midfielder Kevin McDonald swung over an inviting cross which Dicko, with a deft flick of the head, guided beyond Paul Robinson and into the bottom corner.
Rovers responded strongly and only a reaction stop from Carl Ikeme prevented Ben Marshall from netting an instant equaliser after the winger had charged down a clearance.
And, while Rajiv van La Parra wasted a good opportunity to double his team’s advantage when he side-footed wide from 18 yards after Dave Edwards and Sako worked the ball into his path, the visitors were getting the upper hand and winning free kicks in dangerous positions.
But apart from a 25-yard effort from Marshall which Ikeme pushed around his right-hand post, they did not make the most of them and Sako showed them how to do it in the 33rd minute.
Moments earlier Robinson, who was making his 200th appearance for Rovers, gathered a fierce Lee Evans drive from distance at the second attempt.
But, after Grant Hanley gave away a needless free kick on the corner of the area, he could do little to prevent Sako from curling a powerfully struck free kick around a woefully weak wall and through a clutter of bodies in the box before and into the bottom corner.
With their tails up Wolves dominated the rest of the half and Dicko nearly added a third on the counter as he poked wide.
And the League One champions went closer still straight after the restart as Matt Doherty burst into the Rovers box and played a sharp one-two before seeing his shot saved by Robinson.
The ball rebounded kindly to the right back. However he was able only to stab the ball an inch past the post with the former England number one beaten.
Rovers had, though, shown signs of improvement and they forced their way back into the encounter after lone striker Rhodes nonchalantly tucked away a penalty he had won after he had been dragged down in the area by Danny Batth, who was fortunate to escape without a caution at least.
Wolves hit back with Robinson getting down low to his left to deny Edwards before Ikeme made a more routine stop from Marshall.
The next goal was always going to prove crucial and it was Wolves who got it as Dicko turned Rovers captain Hanley inside out before laying the ball on a plate for Sako whose first-time strike managed to beat Robinson.
Bowyer brought on David Dunn and Chris Taylor for Williamson and Marshall.
But it was Conway who nearly reduced the deficit in the 74th minute when he forced Ikeme into his best save of the contest.
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Batth, Stearman, Golbourne, McDonald, Evans (Saville 79), van La Parra (Henry 46), Edwards (Rowe 89), Sako, Dicko. Subs not used: McCarey, Clarke, Ricketts, Jacobs.
Booked: van La Parra, Saville.
Goals: Dicko 12, Sako 33, 68.
Rovers: Robinson, Lowe, Hanley, Baptiste, Henley, Conway (Varney 89), Williamson (Dunn 73), Evans, Marshall (Taylor 73), Cairney, Rhodes. Subs not used: Eastwood, Kilgallon, Brown, O’Connell.
Booked: Marshall, Evans, Hanley, Cairney, Varney.
Goal: Rhodes 59pen.
Referee: Keith Stroud.
Attendance: 21,260 (1,023 away).