Preston North End 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

Wolverhampton Wanderers' veteran owner Sir Jack Hayward has been back from his annual winter cruise for just two games and, judging by the hostile reception accorded his manager Glenn Hoddle, he has some serious thinking to do.

"They've got the free choice to support us how they want to support us," said Hoddle, after Wolves' fed-up fans again called loudly for his sacking. "They're frustrated, like everyone else in the club."

But, when Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey insists there will be no "rash decisions", it has to be wondered just how rash a decision it will prove in the long run to allow this rudderless ship to continue sailing under the banner of the unpopular Hoddle.

Of all the many bad days Sir Jack has suffered in his long Molineux stewardship, this abject afternoon's work must be near the top of the list. But which explanation of Wolves' failed season will he accept when Hoddle is finally called to account - the fans' or the manager's?

Hoddle blamed Wolves' 11th defeat of the season on a streaky first goal, which flew in off Joleon Lescott's leg.

"We've played better this season," admitted Hoddle. "But, while we weren't at our very best, their first goal changed it. It was a bitter blow to take. A freak goal. Very cruel.

"The ref got in Tomasz Frankowksi's way, they broke on us and a nothing shot ends up in our net with a wicked deflection. No way the ball's going in as Stefan Postma would have thrown his cap on it, but it changed the momentum. It turned the game upside down."

As for the rest of the 90 minutes, there was nobody else to blame but Hoddle's own defensive-minded, tactically confused team.

"We didn't create as many chances," said Hoddle, with classic understatement. "Some games this season we've had 28 shots at goal, but I don't think that was the case today."

In fact, Wolves had just one genuine effort, when stand-in right-back Rob Edwards finally tested Carlo Nash five minutes from time.

It really was not Hoddle's day, after being asked to move from his position behind the dug-out on the now condemned terracing in front of Deepdale's old main stand by an attention-seeking steward. But it did not prove pleasant viewing even from his new vantage point.

North End were almost as bad as Wolves before the interval. But they had both good timing and fortune when Lewis Neal's deflected shot wrong-footed Postma on the stroke of half-time.

That triggered an improved second half. But any hint of danger from the visitors was minimal, on the break, and largely through the unsupported efforts of the departing Kenny Miller.

And the inevitable killer second came when Simon Whaley's chipped cross caused confusion and brave Brett Ormerod sneaked in between Edwards and Postma to power home a diving header.

It was the finish of a hungry striker, but at a painful cost as Ormerod injured himself in the process, colliding with Postma, before being stretchered off and taken to hospital with concussion.