Middlesbrough 1 (Bamford 90+4') Wolves 2 (Costa 32', Cavaleiro 37')
Despite having two men sent off, Nine-man Wolves battled to a 2-1 win away against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
Wolves looked to be cruising as goals from Helder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro saw Wolves into a two-goal lead at the break.
It all changed in the second half as Wolves had Ruben Neves and Matt Doherty sent off, both for picking up two yellow cards.
Wolves stood firm and although Patick Bamford did pull a goal back for the hosts, it was the visitors who held on to take the three points and restore the six point margin at the top of the Sky Bet Championship.
Nuno Espirito Santo selected the same team which had beaten Burton Albion 3-1 at Molineux prior to the international break.
The only absentee from the squad was Diogo Jota who was still recovering from the injury he sustained against Reading.
Wolves’ first chance came in the ninth minute, when Barry Douglas was fouled in the left channel of the pitch. The wing back whipped the free kick across the face of goal, Benik Afobe rose highest but he was unable to find the target with his header.
Middlesbrough’s intent was clear from the off as following Barry Douglas being fouled by Adama Traore, Ivan Cavaleiro was wiped out by Grant Leadbitter who received the first yellow card of the game.
Ruben Neves found himself in space 30 yards from goal. The Portuguese midfielder hit a shot which, swerving, was tipped round the post by Darren Randolph who was diving at full stretch.
Middlesbrough applied pressure throughout the first half with long throws from Friend on the left and Shotton on the right, being their main form of threat.
Muhamed Besic cut in from the left hand side for Boro before driving the ball towards goal. Ryan Bennett heroically threw himself in front of the effort to clear any danger for Wolves.
It was in the 32nd minute that Wolves took the lead. In a flowing move, Matt Doherty slid the ball to Helder Costa - the Wolves winger cut back on to his left before drilling the ball towards Darren Randolph’s goal. The Boro ‘keeper parried the effort as far as Ivan Cavaleiro who did well to hold off a number of defenders before setting the ball to Barry Douglas. Douglas then dinked the ball to the back post where Helder Costa was waiting to fire emphatically beyond Randolph.
Wolves almost made it two just minutes later with a strike from long range, and who else but Ruben Neves. The midfielder audaciously let fly from all of 35 yards and, but for a stunning save to palm the ball over the bar from Randolph, it would have been 2-0.
From the resulting corner, Wolves doubled their lead. Willy Boly’s powerful header was, once again, superbly saved by Randolph but the ball lobbed to Ivan Cavaleiro who headed the ball into an empty net to send the travelling Wolves support into raptures.
Half Time: Middlesbrough 0 Wolves 2
The game seemed to turn on an incident five minutes into the second half. Helder Costa was played in by Ruben Neves, the chasing defender George Friend seemed to clip the Wolves winger but the officials waved for play to continue.
Straight up the other end, and within minutes Ruben Neves was sent off for receiving two yellow cards in the space of a minute. First, he was booked for what looked like an innocuous challenge on Adama Traore - the foul looked to have been committed by Matt Doherty but Stuart Atwell produced the card in the direction of Neves. And in the next moment, Neves slide into George Friend, and the referee dismissed the Wolves midfielder.
The ten men of Wolves were forced to defend for the following stages of the game, snuffing out a number of Boro chances.
Wolves had a half-chance of their own as N'diaye played in Costa. The Senegalese midfielder continued his run but Costa's cross was too heavy and the home side cleared.
It was backs-against-the-wall time for Wolves and it was compounded in the 71st minute as Matt Doherty received a second booking for a late challenge, reducing Wolves to nine men.
John Ruddy made a superb save with ten minutes remaining as he stuck out a strong right hand to keep out a driven effort from Traore.
Wolves were up against it but defending strongly as Willy Boly was the next person to block a goalbound Boro effort. The rebound fell to Stuart Downing who skied his effort over the crossbar.
There were six minutes off added time at the end of the second half and Middlesbrough did manage to pull a goal back through Patrick Bamford but the valiant Wolves held on for a stunning 2-1 win.
Full-Time: Middlesbrough 1 Wolves 2
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Friend, Ayala, Shotton, Gibson, Leadbitter © (Howson 64), Clayton (Assombalonga 70), Bamford, Downing, Besic, Traore.
Unused Subs: Dimi, Cranie, Fry, Harrison, Baker.
Booked: Leadbitter 11, Shotton 61, Cranie 90+6.
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Douglas, Bennett, Cavaleiro (N'Diaye 56), Neves, Bony, Coady ©, Costa (Gibbs-White 83), Afobe (Bonatini 63), Saiss.
Unused Subs: Norris, Batth, Vinagre, Hause.
Bookings: Ruddy 41, Neves 55, Doherty 55, Saiss 65, Bennett 73.
Red Cards: Neves 56, Doherty 71.
Referee: Stuart Atwell
Attendance: 27,658 (Away: 1,708)