Southampton 0 Wolves 1 (Jimenez 61)
Raul Jimenez’s first Premier League goal since his horrific head injury earned Wolves a second top-flight win of the season after a hard-fought clash with Southampton on the south coast.
The Mexican looked back to his best at St Mary’s Stadium as he chased every loose ball and pressed the red and white shirts high up the pitch all afternoon before getting his rewards when he was picked out by the excellent Jose Sa just after the hour mark, who played a long ball up the pitch and having held off one defender, turned another before slotting the ball into the back of the net, sending the 3,000 travelling Wolves supporters wild.
The first-half was one of few chances for either side, with both Wolves and Southampton looking like teams who were low on confidence and needing a win – although the defences were largely left untroubled.
Wolves’ best effort of the opening 45 minutes came within the first 45 seconds, as Nelson Semedo was played into space down the right, following good work from Daniel Podence and Jimenez, and having ran in on goal, the Portuguese wing-back tested Alex McCarthy in the Southampton goal, but the keeper was able to palm the ball out for a corner.
Both sides were guilty of giving possession back cheaply to their opposition, with the game going from one end of the pitch to the other, but both goalkeepers enjoyed a relatively quiet game. McCarthy was called into action to deny several Wolves crosses when put under pressure by the black shirts of the visitors, who tried their best to open the scoring, however, they fell short in the final third when the play would break down.
Hee Chan Hwang did strike the crossbar on his first Premier League start for Wolves, but the referee had already blown for a free-kick against the South Korean for a foul on Oriol Romeu, who moments later fired a shot from 25 yards out high into the stands.
Che Adams was the brightest attacking spark in a Southampton shirt, but having got into good positions, the forward was unable to trouble Jose Sa, who comfortably gathered the tame shots aimed at him.
With five minutes of the half remaining, Southampton thought they had taken the lead, when Nathan Redmond was picked out behind the Wolves defence, but having fired a shot high into the net and past Sa, the assistant referee’s flag was up for offside against the winger.
Half-time | Southampton 0-0 Wolves
Southampton came out of the blocks the stronger in the second period, but as Wolves found very much in the opening stages, their play was breaking down in the final third, as Redmond and Adamas linked well, before James Ward-Prowse’s shot was blocked on the edge of the penalty area.
The visitors were not having luck in front of goal either, with Hwang and Leander Dendoncker seeing efforts blocked from inside the Southampton penalty area, before the deadlock was finally broken on the hour mark.
Moments after Sa had made a good block with his legs to deny Valentino Livramento, and then a great double block to stop Adams, the goalkeeper was instrumental in the opening goal. His long ball up the pitch found Jimenez, who turned one player, before leaving a second Southampton man on the floor, and calmly slotted a shot beneath McCarthy to open his account for the season.
Sa continued to be a block wall in front of the Wolves goal as his side hung on in the closing stages as Southampton pilled cross after cross into the old gold penalty area.
Yet it was Wolves who had the best chance to make it two, in almost identical scenes to their first. Another pass up field from Sa landed at the feet of Jimenez who turned one defender and bared down on McCarthy’s goal, but this time, the Southampton keeper got the block in, to deny the Mexican adding a second to his tally.
Full-time | Southampton 0-1 Wolves
Southampton | McCarthy, Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters (Long 74), Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi, Redmond (Djenepo 64), Armstrong, Adams (Broja 64).
Unused subs | Forster, Perraud, Valery, Lyanco, Diallo, Tella.
Wolves | Sa, Semedo (Hoever 87), Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Marcal, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Podence (Traore 69), Hwang (Neves 87), Jimenez.
Unused subs | Ruddy, Moulden, Boly, Cundle, Trincao, Silva.
Referee | Andy Madley