Stoke dumped Wolves out of the Carabao Cup with Jacob Brown’s 86th-minute strike enough for a 1-0 win, as Wolves’ £35m man Fabio Silva failed to make an impact.
Stoke winger Brown cost £2m from Barnsley last week and showed Wolves’ record buy how to finish, coming off the bench to score his first goal for the Potters.
Silva, who joined from Porto this month, blew the chance for a debut goal when he fired a glorious opportunity wide in the second half. He was handed a start along with fellow debutant Vitinha, but the game failed to spark during a drab first half.
He had half-hearted claims for a penalty waved away after a challenge from Adam Davies but the 18-year-old forward was well marshalled and was left frustrated by the rough treatment received from Bruno Martins Indi.
Away from the Portuguese youngster, Leander Dendoncker planted a header wide after 20 minutes as Wolves failed to recreate their blistering start from Monday.
At Sheffield United they were 2-0 up in six minutes but they lacked incisiveness on Thursday with boss Nuno Espirito Santo visibly frustrated with their laboured attacking build-up.
Organised Stoke deserved credit for limiting Adama Traore, Vitinha and Silva and keeping their focus while Wolves made the running.
Michael O’Neill’s side had drawn a blank in their opening two games – going through 5-4 on penalties against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup first round – and never looked like opening their account in the first half.
Sam Vokes glanced well over against his former club before the break but it was slim pickings for the Potters.
However, they improved and Harry Souttar went close when he headed Jordan Thompson’s corner at the underworked John Ruddy seven minutes after the restart.
They began to find openings and Conor Coady needed to block well from Steven Fletcher after James McClean’s cutback in the 64th minute.
In response to Stoke’s improvement Nuno introduced Raul Jimenez and the striker added extra impetus into Wolves’ attack.
He teed up Silva, whose shot was deflected wide and the record buy should have put Wolves ahead with 15 minutes left.
Ruben Neves’ freekick was headed across and Silva could only side-foot wide of the post from six yards.
It was a bad miss and he was left to pay for it with three minutes left when Stoke pounced.
Brown collected Fletcher’s pass on the left and while his shot was straight at Ruddy the goalkeeper failed to keep it out at his near post.
Wolves will welcome Manchester City in the Premier League on Monday Night Football (kick-off 8.15pm). Stoke will host Bristol City on Sunday (kick-off 2pm) before facing Gillingham in the Carabao Cup third round next week.