Wolves 1 (Jose 60) Sheffield United 0
Willian Jose’s goal earned Wolves successive Premier League wins for the first time since February while also consigning Sheffield United to relegation into the Championship during a game of few chances at Molineux.
Jose became the first Brazilian to find the net for Wolves in a Premier League season when he found the net just after half-time – making up for his goal which was chalked off by VAR a week ago against Fulham – as he turned the ball home from just six yards out, in the only clinical piece of attacking by both sides, who pushed for goals which did not come.
Making two changes to the side which started at Craven Cottage last weekend, with Willy Boly and Joao Moutinho coming back into the team, Nuno reverted to a back-five against the Blades, and it was the hosts who made a cutting move almost stick in the opening stages.
Moments after Nelson Semedo had made a stunning run through the heart of Sheffield United’s midfield which ultimately come to nothing, Jose played a ball into the path of Adama Traore, who found space down the right, but after using his pace to create room and get a chance on goal, the forward saw his powerful effort blocked by Kean Bryan.
Wolves came close once again to opening the scoring through an unlikely – but incredibly – source as Boly attempted an audacious flicked backheel from inside the penalty area, after a Rayan Ait-Nouri corner found its way to the Ivory Coast international, but as it looked to be looping into the net, Oliver Norwood was able to head the ball clear off his goalline.
The visitors were being limited to pot shots from distance by the Wolves defence, as John Fleck and then Rhian Brewster let fly from more than 20 yards out, but neither effort troubled Rui Patricio. Not to be outdone by, Wolves were trying long-range efforts of their own, as Daniel Podence smashed his shot into the North Bank, while Ait-Nouri brought a comfortable save out of Aaron Rasmdale.
A lacklustre first-half came to an end with the game goalless, although that would not have been a surprise to many, with both Sheffield United and Wolves being the two sides who have failed to score in the opening halves of more different Premier League games than any other this season.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Sheff United 0
The intensity was increased in the second period as both sides looked to take the initiative in the game, with Podence finding the run of Semedo inside the Blades’ box, and although the defender looked the flash a low drive across the penalty area to the onrushing Jose, United keeper Ramsdale was able to get down and smoother the cross.
Moments after the visitors arguably should have taken the lead when Romain Saiss blocked a Enda Stevens shot from heading in after the Blades’ full-back was found with acres of space inside the Wolves penalty area, the hosts quickly countered to take the lead.
Leander Dendoncker played a well-timed through-ball into the run of Traore, who was able to put the afterburners on for the first time in the half, and his low driven cross was hammered into the net from close range by Jose, for his first goal in gold and black.
Knowing a defeat would relegate them from the top-flight, the Blades tried their best to get back into the contest, and if not for the fingertips of Patricio, Stevens might have brought his side level after hitting a powerful effort from the edge of the box, which the Wolves keeper was just able to divert over his crossbar.
Wolves were clinging on to the three points by their fingernails as United threatened their goal once again, but Patricio was standing tall to anything the visitors could throw at him, to first deny Norwood, before the rebound fell to Oliver Burke, but the substitute could only fire wide.
But Wolves continued to produce attacks of their own, and Saiss came close to doubling his side’s advantage when the ball fell to him inside the Sheffield United penalty area from a set-piece, but the Moroccan captain forced a point blank save from Ramsdale. The Blades keeper then saved well from Fabio Silva who lost his footing as he let fly from inside the box after being found by Traore.
Another chance fell Wolves’ way as the game ticked towards four minutes of added time, as Semedo set Traore into acres of space down the right. Having attempted to shrug of John Egan, the Spaniard struck an effort from just inside the box, but unlike at Craven Cottage where his shot nestled inside the post, his shot went straight into the South Bank fan mosaic, as the host claimed all three points and the visitors dropped into the Championship.
Full-time: Wolves 1 Sheff United 0
Wolves: Patricio, Semedo, Saiss, Coady, Boly, Ait-Nouri, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Traore, Podence (Vitinha 72), Jose (Silva 77).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Kilman, Richards, Otasowie, Gibbs-White, Corbeanu.
Sheff United: Ramsdale, Baldock, Ampadu (Bogle 83), Egan, Bryan, Stevens, Osborn (Mousset 75), Norwood, Fleck, McGoldrick, Brewster (Burke 75).
Unused subs: Foderingham, Jagielka, Bogle, Lowe, Lundstram, Gordon, Brunt.
Referee: Robert Jones