Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Norwich City 0

Anyone harbouring even the slightest ambiguity of how much this win meant to Wolverhampton Wanderers was left in no doubt whatsoever after Mick McCarthy engineered a celebratory post-match huddle.

The heart-on-sleeve fist-clenching and gesticulating was vintage McCarthy as he addressed his triumphant players.

As well it might be because the previous 90 minutes had been vintage Wolves under their current manager, as they recreated some of the high-tempo high-octane football of his first year at the helm.

McCarthy may have played down his public post-match display as merely the chance to transmit his message of victory with players still collectively focused, rather than with their minds drifting in the dressing room.

But there was also surely an element of sending out that same message of positive defiance to those wondering whether McCarthy and his team could deliver a fitting sequel to the exhilarating events of the last 12 months.

There was no getting carried away; this is just one performance and one result and McCarthy emerged from the post-match gathering to insist it meant little more than erasing the painful memory of back-to-back defeats at the hands of Sheffield United and Hull City.

Yet he will also hope it provides a timely shot of confidence to convince this pack of young and hungry Wolves that they can indeed threaten again over another long Championship season.

"I just wanted to tell the players afterwards how well they'd played and how well they'd worked," reflected McCarthy.

"Sometimes, you get in the dressing room and sit down and it's all a bit flat. I just wanted to say it out there, to make my point. Does this result start our season? No, but it gets shot of that horrible taste of how we played against Hull last Tuesday."

Norwich City proved welcome opponents for a Wolves side approaching an early-season mini-crisis as potentially serious as anything that has gone before during McCarthy's reign.

Initially knocked out of their stride by Wolves' rampant opening, the Canaries were poor and never even threatened any hint of revival after impressive first-half strikes from distance from Kevin Foley and Andy Keogh.

If Foley's run and shot provided a breakthrough from an unlikely if currently hugely impressive source, then Keogh's first in the league this season was a major relief to a player suddenly tackling the first seeds of doubts over his position, due to his goal output bearing no resemblance to his overall impact.

"I was delighted that Andy pulled the trigger and didn't pass it; he's been desperate for a goal and you could see that with his reaction," said McCarthy.

At the forefront of much of Wolves' excellent attacking throughout was Michael Kightly, suddenly looking back to his best marauding down the right flank, while Foley's full-back colleague Michael Gray deserves a mention for his forward bursts down the left and Jody Craddock made a typically unflustered return at centre back.

Norwich quite genuinely produced absolutely nothing, their first corner only arriving four minutes from time.

In fact, their only entries of any description in the notebooks of the press came when Jason Shackell was sent off for an over-the-top lunge at Karl Henry and Julian Brellier for two yellow cards in the space of seconds, thanks to kicking the ball away after conceding a foul.

So while Norwich boss Peter Grant admitted to feelings of "embarrassment", his old Celtic room-mate McCarthy was busy giving his players a more positive dressing-down amid hopes that this performance will end up proving the norm, rather than the exception.

Scorers: Foley (23) 1-0; Keogh (35) 2-0.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Hennessey; Foley, Craddock, Breen, Gray; Kightly, Olofinjana, Henry, S. Ward; Keogh, Elliott. Subs: Stack (gk), N. Collins, Potter, Eastwood, Bothroyd.
NORWICH CITY (4-4-2): Marshall; Otsemobor, Shackell, Doherty, Murray; Russell, Lappin, Brellier, Huckerby (Spillane 80); Strihavka (Martin 56), Cureton (Brown 68). Subs: Gilks (gk), Croft..
Referee: Steve Bennett (Orpington).
BOOKINGS: Wolves - Henry, S Ward (fouls); Norwich - Russell, Brellier (fouls).
Sendings off: Norwich - Shackell (foul), Brellier (two bookings).
Attendance: 22, 564.
Wolves' man of the match: A fair few candidates but when Michael Kightly is on song to this degree, Wolves take some stopping.