Wolves 1 (Jimenez 58) West Ham United 0
Raul Jimenez’s brilliant strike capped a well-crafted team move and earned Wolves three big points against in-form West Ham United at Molineux. Daniel Podence was the creator and Jimenez the deadly finisher, stroking home in front of the South Bank to ensure a much improved performance was fully rewarded in the West Midlands.
That goal had been coming too. Wolves had edged proceedings before half-time and dominated after it, with Podence twice forcing Lukasz Fabianski into stunning saves. However, Jimenez eventually found the decisive touch and Wolves impressively held the Hammers at bay from that point, returning to winning ways in style.
Fitting tributes to the late Ron Flowers MBE preceded kick-off at Molineux, before Wolves and West Ham went hammer and tongs in an entertaining first-half. Jarrod Bowen glanced an early warning sign wide for the Hammers, while Nelson Semedo was denied a certain opener when Aaron Cresswell threw himself in the way to block.
That chance got Wolves tails up however, and when Ruben Neves played a delightful ball, Raul Jimenez looked to have produced a carbon copy of his Everton goal, dinking over Fabianski, but this time the ball fell the wrong side of the post. Minutes later Joao Moutinho got closer, letting fly from range and forcing Fabianski to tip over at full stretch.
Mike Dean wasn’t without attention in the middle either. First, the referee turned away penalty appeals after Hee Chan Hwang’s cross connected with the arm of Ben Johnson but evened out his decisions by ruling out Kurt Zouma’s header for a foul on Romain Saiss in the build-up.
Half-time | Wolves 0-0 West Ham
After the interval, Wolves were hungry and Podence’s daisy cutter was pushed around the post by Fabianski, which sparked a mini siege on the Pole’s goal. A Neves special on the half-volley had the South Bank holding its breath, but flew just over the bar, before Fabianski spectacularly tipped over Podence’s clipped effort.
Eventually the Portuguese’s involvement did tell, however. Not for the first time, Podence found the ball in dangerous territory, on the right-hand side, and on this occasion had the vision to pick out Jimenez lurking on the edge of the box and the Mexican produced a stunning finish, stroking into the far corner.
That goal was just reward for what had gone before, but the Hammers, naturally, had their chances after that. Michail Antonio and Bowen both fired over from the edge of the box, but the best of the chances in the closing stages fell to Maximilian Kilman, who latched onto Moutinho’s free-kick, but on his unfavoured right foot, and lashed over the bar.
However, it mattered not and Wolves held on fairly comfortably, dealing with all West Ham’s long balls and keeping the three points here in the West Midlands.
Full-time | Wolves 1 West Ham 0
Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri, Moutinho, Neves, Hwang (Dendoncker 87), Podence (Traore 76), Jimenez.
Unused subs | Ruddy, Hoever, Marcal, Boly, Cundle, Trincao, Silva.
West Ham | Fabianski, Johnson, Zouma, Dawson, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Bowen (Vlasic 70), Fornals (59), Benrahma (Yarmolenko 70), Antonio.
Unused subs | Areola, Coufal, Masuaku, Diop, Noble, Kral.