Wolves 2 (Dendoncker 44, Silva 68) West Ham United 3 (Lingard 6, Fornals 14, Bowen 39)
Wolves left themselves too much to do in their fightback against West Ham United as the Hammers took the spoils in their latest Premier League battle at Molineux.
Falling behind by three goals in the opening 40 minutes after Jesse Lingard, Pablo Fornals and Jarod Bowen scored for the visitors, Wolves found a way back into the tie when Leander Dendoncke fired a bullet header into the net just before half-time.
Although the majority of the chances fell the way of those in a gold and black shirt in the second stage of the match, Fabio Silva’s third goal of the season with a clever finish with just over 20 minutes to go was all Nuno Espirito Santo’s men had to show for their efforts.
Having been enforced to make three changes from the side which fell to a narrow defeat to Liverpool ahead of the international break, with Jonny, Willy Boly and Joao Moutinho missing out through injury and illness, Wolves had an early chance to take the lead through Willian Jose, as the Brazilian turned on the edge of the West Ham box before firing a low shot which missed just wide of the left upright.
But the visitors responded almost immediately. Firstly, Michail Antonio struck the post from the edge of the penalty area, having forced a good stop from Rui Patricio, and then the opener came from Lingard, as the on loan midfielder ran past several men in gold and black before lifting the ball over the Wolves keeper and into the back of the net.
Wolves quickly attempted to get back into the game through Rayan Ait-Nouri, with the full-back using his trickery to get inside the box and hitting a low shot towards the far corner, but his effort was narrowly wide.
After Lingard tested Patricio once again, West Ham got their second of the evening as Nelson Semedo was beaten down the Wolves right by Arthur Masuaku, and with a ball being played across the box, Fornals was in the right place to sidefoot a first-time shot into the bottom corner of Patricio’s goal.
Ruben Neves flashed a header wide and Daniel Podence jumped high to land a header of his own against the crossbar either side of a penalty claim for the hosts. Adama Traore went down under a challenge in the box, but referee Michael Oliver was unmoved. The decision by VAR was to not overturn the ref’s call.
Another run through the Wolves core created West Ham’s third goal. Lingard again easily glided past three or four gold and black shirts and played the ball to Bowen – fresh after coming off the bench to replace Antonio, who fired past Patricio at the near post.
Wolves should have immediately got their first of the evening, but Jose brought a save from Lucasz Fabianski from six yards out having been found in the box, but the rebound fell straight to Pedro Neto, who hit the ball wide from a matter of yards.
It didn’t take long after that spurned opportunity for Wolves to get the goal their attacking play deserved, closing the gap to just two goals just before half-time. Traore made a positive run down the left and lifted a cross into the centre of the West Ham box, and Dedoncker was quickest to the ball as he hammered a header past Fabianski.
Half-time: Wolves 1 West Ham 3
As with the first 45 minutes, the second-half began with chances for both sides, but neither troubled their opposite goalkeepers, as Bowen headed an Aaron Cresswell cross wide for West Ham before Dendoncker flashed a shot from 20 yards just the wrong side of the post.
The visitors thought they had regained their three-goal advantage ten minutes after the break, as Tomas Soucek bundled the ball over the line after Patricio had palmed the ball into the Czech Republic international’s path, but the West Ham midfielder was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up.
Instead, it was Wolves who were next on the scoresheet, as substitute Silva, a half-time replacement for Podence, was played over the top of the West Ham defence by a sumptuous Neto ball, before taking a touch and finishing low past Fabianski into the far corner.
Wolves continued to push for an equaliser but were unable to keep their shots from flying high into the South Bank. Dendoncker blast over Fabianski’s crossbar after great work from Ait-Nouri down the left, before Neto snapped his shot from the edge of the box, which also missed high over the bar, as West Ham hung on for the three points.
Full-time: Wolves 2 West Ham 3
Wolves: Patricio, Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri (Hoever 90), Neves, Dendoncker, Traore, Podence (Silva 46), Neto, Jose (Vitinha 72).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Marques, Kilman, Richards, Otasowie, Gibbs-White.
West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Masuaku (Johnson 67), Soucek, Noble, Fornals (Benrahma 78), Lingard, Antonio (Bowen 36).
Unused subs: Martin, Trott, Fredericks, Balbuena, Alves, Odubeko.
Referee: Michael Oliver