Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Swansea City 1
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake caused great consternation, particularly in Coventry, when he came from off the pitch to win Wolverhampton Wanderers the points in their previous home game.
But there was nothing wrong with the two goals he scored to send Wolves soaring back to the top of the Championship table at freezing Molineux.
A classic poacher’s goal in the dying seconds of the first-half was topped by another class finish 12 minutes into the second-half to put Wolves back in front after Darren Pratley’s equaliser.
And on a difficult night, when the snow-hit surface and freezing temperature made life tricky, Mick McCarthy’s men proved worthy winners in the end.
Swansea, who battered Wolves at their most injury-ravaged at the Liberty Stadium at the start of October, can point to two sumptuous long-range strikes from Mark Gower, one saved stunningly by Carl Ikeme and the other which shook the bar.
But Wolves had a perfectly good first-half strike by the luckless Chris Iwelumo disallowed before they had scored. And, although they again failed to find their best form, this was the sort of night when less committed Wolves teams than this one might have lost.
Wolves took until the final minute of the first-half to claim the lead after an opening period of immense frustration on the snow-clad surface.
Iwelumo three times went close, the closest of which was a powerful header from a cross by the recalled Carlos Edwards which almost ripped out the back of the net.
It was almost a carbon copy of his first league goal for Wolves back in August. Yet, rather worryingly for the future of football, the ref curiously chose to chalk this one off for the force of the big striker’s challenge on Garry Monk.
If refs are going to discourage old-fashioned centre-forwards from heading the ball like that, where on earth is the game heading?
David Jones was just wide with a free-kick, while Iwelumo went close again.
And there was action for Ikeme at the other end when Gower capitalised on a rare error by full-back Kevin Foley, cut in from the left and belted a 25-yard right-foot shot brilliantly tipped over by the young Wolves keeper.
But, just when it looked as if Swansea might hold out until half-time, Ebanks-Blake picked the lock, turning sharply inside the box and having the presence of mind to ignore the linesman was already flagging for offside against Iwelumo.
Instead, the flag went straight back down, Ebanks-Blake kept his nerve, continued his angled run and rolled his eighth goal of the season just inside Artur Krysiak’s right post.
Swansea were level within four minutes of the restart when Pratley was allowed far too much time to slot almost effortlessly home form the edge of the box. But the Swans’ parity was to last just eight minutes.
Carlos Edwards’ left-wing cross was met by a well-timed run from Ebanks-Blake who angled home a neat near-post header. And when Gower’s explosive 25-yard shot bounced back into play from the underside of the bar, cold and frost-bitten though they were, the Wolves fans knew it was their night.
Scorers: Ebanks-Blake (45) 1-0; Pratley (49) 1-1; Ebanks-Blake (57) 2-1
WOLVES (4-4-2): Ikeme; Foley, Shackell (Keogh 83), Collins, Ward; Kightly (D Edwards 65), Henry, David Jones, C Edwards (Mancienne 79); Ebanks-Blake, Iwelumo. Subs: Hennessey (gk), Keogh, Vokes
SWANSEA (4-5-1): Krsyiak; Rangel, Monk, Williams, Bessone; Gomez, Britton (Pintado 73), Bodde, Pratley, Gower (Butler 73); Scotland. Subs: Konstantopoulos (gk), Tate, Brandy
Referee: Richard Beeby (Northants)