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Wolves 2 Gillingham 0: Carabao Cup Fourth Round at Molineux settled with a Raul Jimenez penalty before a stoppage-time Rayan Ait-Nouri goal

Gillingham were finally ousted from the Carabao Cup as Premier League Wolves got the breakthrough from the penalty spot.

World Cup player Ruben Neves hit the woodwork at the end of a goalless opening half and it needed a 77th minute penalty from Raul Jimenez and Rayan Ait-Nouri’s stoppage-time effort to settle the fourth round tie.

Max Ehmer with the ball for Gillingham as Wolves look for a goal
Max Ehmer with the ball for Gillingham as Wolves look for a goal

Premier League Wolves had their Portuguese captain Neves back from Qatar, where he played in all five of his country’s matches. The challenge for the Gillingham defenders came from experienced forward Diego Costa. It was a first competitive game in charge for their new Spanish boss Julen Lopetegui.

League 2’s bottom side Gillingham, in contrast, had a threadbare squad to choose from, only naming five subs from a possible nine. Mikael Mandron was back upfront having scored the goal to take the third round tie against Brentford to penalties and eventual success for the Gills.

Manager Neil Harris wanted his men to enjoy the experience, regardless of the outcome and as expected they were having to defend in numbers from the off, lining up 4-5-1.

Hugo Bueno had an early effort saved routinely by Jake Turner, the Gills goalkeeper, but it wasn’t until late in the half that Wolves really began to look like scoring, despite the constant pressure.

Jake Turner makes a save for the Gills
Jake Turner makes a save for the Gills

Elkan Baggott made a goal-saving block with five minutes of the first half remaining from Daniel Podence and Joao Moutinho couldn’t quite control a backheel from Costa.

The best chance of the opening half fell to Joe Hodge, with a free header from Goncalo Guedes’ cross, but he nodded the chance wide. Then in stoppage-time a corner played out to the edge of the box found Neves and he smashed the effort off the upright with the last kick of the half.

Defiant Gillingham had enjoyed only a couple of moments in the Wolves box and hadn’t been able to trouble Portuguese keeper Jose Sa.

Wolves introduced their Spanish striker Adama Traore at the break, a player who cost them £18m a few years ago. The forward got plenty of the ball in the early stages. The Gills stuck with the same XI.

Set-pieces were the best hope for the Gills but they were unable to make them count. The home crowd were starting to get frustrated as the visitors were happy to slow things down when they got the chance.

Mikael Mandron charges forward in attack for Gillingham
Mikael Mandron charges forward in attack for Gillingham
Action between Wolves and Gillingham in the Carabao Cup
Action between Wolves and Gillingham in the Carabao Cup

Wolves gave the Gills more to think about with an hour gone as two more of their World Cup players were introduced, in Matheus Nunes and South Korea’s Hee Chan Hwang.

Costa went close after meeting a Traore cross before the last of the home side’s Qatar contingent - Mexico’s Raul Jimenez was introduced. The home manager was certainly throwing everything at his disposal at the Gills.

Harris turned to his own bench with a triple change as Olly Lee, Ben Reeves and Alex MacDonald were given a chance to make an impact.

It was from the penalty spot where Wolves finally got the breakthrough, with 13 minutes left. It wasn’t clear what the infringement was and from the spot Jimenez beat Turner. Cheye Alexander had been in a tussle with Hwang and Max Ehmer was also in a battle but it looked a harsh decision.

With stoppage-time under way Rayan Ait-Nouri added a second to seal the victory.

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Tutonda, Wright, Ehmer, Baggott, Williams (Lee 74mins), O’Keefe (Reeves 74mins), Jefferies (MacDonald 74mins), Adelakun, Mandron (Kashket 64mins). Sub not used: Holtam.

Wolves: Sa, Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno, Hodge (Traore 46mins), Neves, Moutinho (Hwang 61mins), Guedes (Nunes 61mins), Costa (Ait-Nouri 81mins), Podence (Jimenez 69mins). Subs not used: Sarkic, Toti, Ronan, Lembikisa.

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Attendance: 26,953

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