Wolves 3 (Jimenez 37, Coady 59, Traore 90) Southampton 1 (Ward-Prowse 84)
Goals from Raul Jimenez, Conor Coady, and Adama Traore sealed all three points as Wolves avoided a late scare to move into eighth place in the Premier League.
Jimenez opened the scoring with a composed penalty as the first-half came to a close, after Rayan Ait-Nouri was taken out by Jan Bednarek inside the area. Referee Michael Salibsury initially waved away any shouts for a penalty, but upon a VAR review, he changed his decision, which allowed the Mexican international to sweep home his fourth Premier League goal of the season.
Wolves were dominant for much of the clash, and Coady deservedly doubled the lead in the second-half. A deep free-kick was headed off the post by Maximilian Kilman, but Coady was the first to pounce on the rebound.
With Wolves not tasting defeat since mid-December, James Ward-Prowse scored an incredible long-range free-kick to cause some nerves in the Molineux crowd, but those were eased when substitute Traore struck in stoppage time to put the victory beyond doubt.
While the old gold were certainly the better side as the game progressed, it was Southampton who began on top. The Saints had a flurry of early corners, with six in the first eight minutes, and the third of these calling Jose Sa into action right from the off. Ward-Prowse’s deep corner was kept alive by midfielder Oriol Romeu, but Sa jumped on it before Armando Broja could pounce.
Early Southampton pressure continued, with Wolves unable to break out of their defensive third in the opening 10 minutes. However, a moment of extreme composure from Sa settled any early nerves. With Broja closing in, the Portuguese goalkeeper pulled out a Cruyff turn to evade the Albanian’s press, and from then on, Wolves grew into the game, and found their stride.
A flowing counter-attack involving Francisco Trincao, Jimenez and Ait-Nouri ended with Saints defender Lyanco slicing over the latter’s cross, but it signalled Wolves beginning to turn the screw.
Nelson Semedo and Trincao were largely absent from proceedings, but a neat exchange down the right between the pair eventually saw the right-back go down in the penalty area following contact from Romeu. The claims for a penalty were waved away by the referee, but Wolves weren’t to be denied 10 minutes later.
After a high Trincao press won possession back for the old gold, Daniel Podence’s delicate chipped through-ball found Jimenez through-on goal, and although his effort was expertly blocked by Lyanco, it bounced straight into the path of the onrushing Ait-Nouri.
With the goal gaping, the left-wing-back was taken out by Saints defender Bednarek inside the area, but referee Salisbury pointed for a corner instead. VAR then intervened, and after a fairly lengthy delay, a penalty was awarded.
Up stepped Jimenez to send Fraser Forster the wrong way and he calmly slotted home to open the scoring with his fourth league goal of the season.
The goal seemed to wake Southampton up, and a late flurry of activity from the visitors, including a Mohammed Salisu header which was stopped at point-blank range by Sa, brought the half to a close.
Half-time | Wolves 1-0 Southampton
With Southampton needing a goal, Ralph Hassenhuttl turned to Che Adams at half-time, and they began the second-half proceedings on top, with Bruno Lage’s side forced to soak up pressure, and look to hit their opponents on the break.
An early penalty shout for the visitors was waved away, and Wolves then began to re-assert their dominance on the affair, with a succession of Joao Moutinho free-kick’s an avenue of promise.
The first was floated in behind the Southampton defence, and headed across goal by Dendoncker for Coady to tuck home from a matter of yards out. But, it was immediately ruled out by the linesman, with the Belgian offside in the build-up.
However, the captain wasn’t to be denied just minutes later. This time it was Kilman who was picked out by Ait-Nouri, and the Englishman’s header looped over Forster before hitting the base of the post. Coady was the first on the scene and headed home with the goal empty to send the home fans into raptures.
Wolves continued to push on, looking for a third, and threatened on the counter-attack on multiple occasions, although created nothing of note.
An ambitious long-range effort from Ward-Prowse and a tame Adams attempt from a tight angle were as good as Southampton could muster for the majority of the second period, with Wolves’ deep-block shuffling from side-to-side to prevent Sa from being called into serious action.
Kilman continued his immense form on the right side of the back three, as he thwarted multiple openings for the visitors with consummate ease. In fact, Wolves looked comfortable until Ward-Prowse produced a moment of magic with less than 10 minutes to play.
The England international struck a sweet free-kick which dipped and swerved away from Sa, leaving him helpless and rooted to his goal-line.
As the visitors went in search of a leveller, a deep cross found Romain Perraud unmarked at the back post, but his header cannoned off the woodwork with Sa left stranded once more.
Southampton continued to push for a second, but a rare counter-attack allowed Fabio Silva to break free inside the box, and his outside-the-boot effort was parried straight into Traore's path by Forster. On his left foot, the Spaniard couldn't keep his effort down, and he blazed over from point-blank range.
But, the winger finally got his goal as the game went into stoppage time. After remaining onside, he squared up Mohammed Salisu, beat the Southampton defender down the line, and slotted the ball underneath Forster to score his first league goal of the season.
Full-time | Wolves 3-1 Southampton
Wolves | Sa; Kilman, Coady, Gomes; Semedo, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Ait-Nouri; Trincao (Traore 78), Podence (Cundle 90), Jimenez (Silva 80).
Unused subs | Moulden, Ruddy, Sanderson, Jordao, Giles, Campbell.
Southampton | Forster; Bednarek, Lyanco, Sailsu; Tella (S. Armstrong 71), Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Diallo (Adams 46), Perraud; Redmond, Broja (A. Armstrong 78).
Unused subs | Caballero, Stephens, Walker-Peters, Valery, Small, Long.
Referee | Michael Salisbury.
By Cameron Smith