Everton 1 (Bilyaletdinov 88)
Wolves 1 (Doyle 76)
It was so near and yet so far for Wolves who took a point from the trip to Goodison Park with only a late strike from Everton's £9 million Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov denying the Molineux men a victory few would have expected.
The game ended in controversy after substitute Stefen Maierhofer was given a second yellow card after a clash with home keeper Tim Howard who was lucky only to be booked after he struck the Austrian on the back of the head right in front of the referee.
Mick McCarthy made four changes to the starting line-up. Ronald Zubar came in for Kevin Foley at right-back, Jody Craddock returned to central defence for Michael Mancienne, Michael Kightly made his first start of the campaign in place of Matt Jarvis and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was up front in the place of Andy Keogh.
After some initial sparring the first corner of the game went Wolves' way but Kightly's kick was cleared.
Moments later, a long throw from Greg Halford had the home defence in trouble. Christophe Berra got a head to the ball and when Ebanks-Blake touched it back to him he hooked a shot goalwards only for Slyvain Distin to block.
Another Halford throw was headed out only as far as Dave Edwards whose shot was deflected behind for the first of two consecutive corners which were both taken by Kightly.
From the second Craddock and Joseph Yobo collided and the Molineux club captain had to leave the field for attention to a cut head.
In his absence a long ball from defence broke off Louis Saha into the path of Tim Cahill who fired over the bar from the edge of the area.
With 18 minutes gone George Elokobi headed a Distin centre behind in a nick of time as Leon Osman ran in unchecked. From Blyaletdinov's corner Saha was inches over the bar with a powerful near post header.
Craddock returned to the fray after seven minutes treatment with his head heavily bandaged. And it was Craddock that pumped a long ball to the edge of the home area where Ebanks-Blake nodded down for Kevin Doyle who quickly turned and delivered a shot that Howard saved at full stretch.
Kightly went into the book after he used his hands to trip Leighton Baines on the left of the halfway line.
Wolves almost broke through six minutes before the break when Halford headed Craddock's free-kick into the box to Doyle whose shot hit Ebanks-Blake and bounced wide.
Then Everton had a chance when Saha beat the offside trap and raced through on goal. But Craddock and Berra race but to orchestrate a fine piece of recovery work.
In the 42nd minute Zubar fired in a low cross that Doyle allowed to run through to Ebanks-Blake who was a foot wide with a first time shot.
Half-Time: Everton 0 Wolves 0
Yakubu replaced Tony Hibbert for Everton at the start of the second-half.
Just 26 seconds after the resumption Wayne Hennessey had to palm over a Saha header following a short cross from Baines.
In the 56th minute Hennessey did well to block from Bilyaletdinov and Karl Henry then threw himself in the way of John Heitinga's follow up with Zubar heading behind to ease the pressure.
Some neat interplay between Edwards and Doyle opened up the chance for Jarvis - a 58th minute substitute for Kightly - to cross, but Baines' cleared the winger's low centre.
Hennessey got both hands to a curling effort from Saha, and then Howard got his fingertips to Ebanks-Blake's shot on the turn after Henry had headed on Halford's throw.
Yakubu shot wide of the far post from a good position shortly before Segundo Castillo was sent on in place of Halford.
Edwards was booked for a foul on Baines similar to the one committed by Kightly on the Everton defender before the break, before David Moyes made a second change replacing Saha with Jo.
With 76 minutes gone Wolves shocked the home fans into silence when they took the lead through Doyle. The Irish striker found himself in oceans of space as he controlled a Hennessey clearance and he kept his cool before slotting the ball past Howard.
Marouane Fellaini became the third Everton change when he replaced Osman and then, after Craddock had blocked a Yakubu shot, Maierhofer was sent on for Ebanks-Blake.
Maierhofer was soon shown the yellow card after an untidy challenge on Cahill.
Everton's late pressure paid off when Bilyaletdinov met Jo's low cross and finished with a clinical shot into the corner of the net.
In the four minutes of stoppage time Howard made a point blank one handed save to deny Doyle a second goal before the American keeper cuffed Maierhofer on the back of the head after the Wolves man had attempted to stop him making a quick clearance.
Maierhofer was shown a second yellow and then the red and with everyone expecting the same punishment for Howard, the keeper was only booked. Though it wouldn't have changed the result as only seconds remained, it was a bizarre decision given the rules of the game.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert (Yakubu 45), Baines, Yobo (capt), Heitinga, Bilyaletdinov, Saha (Jo 73), Distin, Cahill, Osman (Fellaini 77), Rodwell.
Unused subs: Nash, Gosling, Neill, Coleman.
Booking: Howard (90 - ungentlemanly conduct)
Wolves: Hennessey, Zubar, Elokobi, Edwards, Craddock, Berra, Kightly (Jarvis 58), Henry (capt), Doyle, Ebanks-Blake (Maierhofer 79), Halford.
Unused subs: Hahnemann, Stearman, Keogh, Milijaš.
Bookings: Kightly (29 - foul), Edwards (69 - foul), Maierhofer (85 - foul and 90 - ungentlemanly conduct).
Sending-Off: Maierhofer (90 - second bookable offence).
Referee: S. Attwell.