Championship: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Scunthorpe United 1
Wolverhampton Wanderers edged to within a point of the play-offs but they had to come from behind to beat relegation certainties Scunthorpe United at a nervy, tension-filled Molineux.
Manager Mick McCarthy had warned supporters not to expect an easy ride from the Iron but even he would not have expected his Wanderers side to make such heavy weather of this victory.
Second-half goals from Michael Gray and Neill Collins finally cancelled out Andy Butler's opener but for long spells it looked like being another frustrating night for Wanderers.
With six of their remaining nine games all at home, Wolves would certainly be fancied to reach the play-offs. However, their form at Molineux this season hasn't exactly been convincing and Wanderers fans must be wondering if the amount of games on home soil is a blessing at all. McCarthy's men have saved their best performances for their travels and Wolves fans who don't hit the motorways have yet to see the real potential of this side.
Big wins at Watford and Burnley have provided glimpses of McCarthy's masterplan but things haven't followed the same blueprint on home turf. McCarthy would certainly have tried his best to expel memories of their last home fixture when an added-time equaliser gave a ten-man Southampton side a point but the visions of that moment would have come flooding back as Scunthorpe took the lead with a carbon-copy goal after just five minutes.
Grant McCann's corner found Butler free inside the Wolves penalty area and he planted his header past the rooted Wayne Hennessey in the Wolves goal.
Only a great goal-saving tackle from George Elokobi prevented the visitors stretching their lead five minutes later when he slid in to deny Geoff Horsfield at the back post.
Wolves struggled to create any meaningful chances and McCarthy responded by making a tactical change, surrendering Darren Potter in midfield and opting for a 4-4-2 formation with the introduction of Matt Jarvis on the right wing.
The change had an immediate impact as Jarvis' first touch was a deep cross to the far post where former Scunthorpe man Andy Keogh headed back across goal and Gray looked certain to score his third goal in six games, after a previous goal drought of almost six years, but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake ran across his path and Gray's shot cannoned off his team-mate.
Jarvis was suddenly the hosts' best attacking threat and he threaded a superb pass through for Ebanks-Blake but his shot was saved by the legs of former West Bromwich Albion keeper, Joe Murphy.
In first-half injury time, Wolves were given a let-off as Jim Goodwin's cross found McCann and he slid the ball home from close range but the linesman's flag cut short his celebrations.
The Wolves fans started to vent their frustration at the start of the second half as Wolves had plenty of possession but failed to do anything with it. Moans and groans then turned to chants for fans' favourite Freddy Eastwood to be introduced from the bench.
But then, in the 58th minute, Gray swung his wand of a left foot to hammer a half-cleared Jarvis free kick into the roof of the net from 25 yards out. It was a stunning strike, although it did take a slight deflection off Sparrow.
From then on it seemed there would only be one winner.
McCarthy answered the call of the fans by sending on Eastwood and he had a shot deflected just wide in the 70th minute and then set up Ebanks-Blake up with a great pass but the latter's shot struck the bar. Then Elokobi had a header cleared off the line as pressure continued to mount.
Finally, with eight minutes remaining, Collins headed home Jarvis' cross and the collective sigh of relief was like a gale blowing through Molineux.
Scorers: Butler (5) 0-1; Gray (58) 1-1; Collins (83) 2-1.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Hennessey; Foley, Darren Ward, Collins, Elokobi, Potter (Jarvis, 31), Olofinjana, Henry, Gray (Eastwood 67), Keogh, Ebanks-Blake (Kyle, 88). Subs: Gibson, Stack.
SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Murphy; Cork, Crosby, Butler, Sparrow, Goodwin, McCann, Baraclough, Morris (Weston, 78), Horsfield, Paterson (May, 75). Subs: Lillis, Hobbs, Hayes.
Referee: Mark Haywood (W Yorkshire).
Bookings: Wolves - Gray (foul); Scunthorpe - Paterson (dissent), Sparrow (foul).