Che Adams marked his St. Andrew’s debut with a goal but it wasn’t enough to get anything from today’s local derby with Wolves.
Making his first start for the Club, Adams – the only change from the side that drew at Wigan on Tuesday - fired Blues into a first-half lead with an impressive controlled finish.
But the men from Molineux responded after the interval to lead by 61 minutes through goals from Joe Mason and Danny Batth.
Blues’ chances of grabbing a late equaliser disappeared when Jack Storer was dismissed just a few minutes after his introduction off the bench. And Jon Bodvarsson made the points safe with a third Wolves goal just before the end.
The visitors threatened early on when an unmarked Conor Coady drifted in at the far post but he chose to head back across goal and Jonathan Grounds, making his 100th Blues appearance, was in the right place to clear the danger.
Coady was in the action again moments later as he let fly with an effort from 25 yards that Tomasz Kuszczak parried away to safety.
Adams delighted the home fans with a neat piece of skill in the middle of the park that set Blues on a dangerous attack on 15 minutes. It ended with Grounds getting the ball into the feet of Donaldson but Wolves were able to clear.
The Blues new boy was in the thick of things again when he latched onto Donaldson’s pull-back but Adams feinted to shoot instead of pulling the trigger and sadly the ball just ran away from him.
The hosts survived a very scary moment when, with Blues pressing forward and only Stephen Gleeson in defence, Wolves broke quickly with no fewer than five men. But fortunately Jonathan Spector hurtled back and produced a brilliant last ditch tackle to dispossess Mason.
David Cotterill’s far-post cross could have caused problems to the Wolves defence but the ball bounced up in front of Jacques Maghoma and the winger wasn’t able to bring it under control.
But another ball in from the right did bring about the game’s opening goal on 24 minutes.
Gleeson’s cross somehow found its way through to Adams on the right of the area. The former Sheffield United front man still had a lot to do but kept his composure and delightfully directed a measured half-volley into the far corner of the net past Carl Ikeme.
Another loose ball was almost punished by Bodvarsson but the Icelandic striker’s low 20-yard shot was excellently turned around the post by Kuszczak.
It was Blues’ turn to attack when Donaldson connected to Cotterill’s cross. The striker’s looping header looked harmless enough but Ikeme was taking no chances and tipped the ball over from under his crossbar.
Mason then got on the end of two balls into the Blues box in the space of a few seconds; first getting his head onto a far-post cross but the ball bounced off Michael Morrison and away for a corner. From the resultant flag kick, Mason had a great shooting opportunity at the far post but he shanked his effort.
Blues came under some intense pressure during the closing stages of the first-half but the home defenders continued to put their bodies on the line. This time it was Morrison producing a crucial block to prevent Jed Wallace’s curling effort from finding the target.
Sadly Blues’ lead lasted less than two minutes of the restart as the visitors drew level. Jack Price played the ball into the feet of Mason, who checked inside David Davis before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the far corner past Kuszczak.
Wolves threatened to complete a double-quick turnaround of the game with Wallace’s shot that deflected off the back of Grounds, which was enough to send the ball spiralling over the bar.
Grounds rose highest in the Wolves area to meet Cotterill’s 57th minute corner but the ball bounced off Donaldson’s feet before the striker could do anything with it. A minute later Cotterill cut inside for a shooting chance but he failed to get any purchase on his effort and Ikeme easily claimed the ball.
Wolves did turn the game on its head just after the hour mark. Matt Doherty’s header produced a fantastic finger-tip save from Kuszczak but it broke kindly for visiting captain Danny Batth to poke the ball home.
Gary Rowett’s immediate response was to bring on Robert Tesche in place of Adams, although the change had been planned before the goal. But Wolves’ tails were up and they put more pressure on the Blues defence, Doherty again meeting a right-wing corner but this time the ball looped up and over the bar.
Cotterill tried his luck again from distance, a 30-yard free-kick but again Ikeme was equal to it.
Rowett’s side began to mount a spirited response, one attack seeing the ball bounce dangerously around the area before Grounds eventually swung a foot at it, but the defender’s shot was deflected away. Then Cotterill again fired in a shot from outside the area but it was always rising.
Blues made their final two changes with 14 minutes remaining, Greg Stewart introduced for his home debut in place of Maghoma and Jack Storer coming on for Spector, as the hosts went all out attack.
But Storer lasted just seven minutes on the pitch before being shown a straight red card for aiming his head towards the face of Kortney Hause. The Blues sub had done well to win his side a free-kick in a dangerous area after being pulled back by Hause, but immediately undid all his good work with his unnecessary hot-headed reaction.
Cotterill eventually took the free-kick but again Ikeme dealt with it comfortably.
Blues’ hopes of getting anything from the game were now seriously dented with their numerical disadvantage. And Walter Zenga’s side rubbed salt into the wounds by increasing their lead in the 89th minute, Bodvarsson crashing the ball beyond Kuszczak from the right side of the area.
It was a disappointing end to a game that had started promisingly enough. Rowett’s men get the chance to bounce back from this first league defeat of the season when they’re back at St. Andrew’s next Saturday for the visit of Norwich City.