Wolves 2 (Silva 38, Boly 43) West Brom 3 (Pereira PEN 8 & PEN 56, Ajayi 52)
Wolves suffered defeat in first Black Country derby since 2012, as two penalties helped West Bromwich Albion to victory at Molineux. The old gold had led 2-1 at the break, but two goals in the space of four second-half minutes gave the Baggies something to hold on to, and they did just that by repelling all Wolves questions.
The hosts had recovered from another early set back, when Matheus Pereira’s penalty put the visitors in front, as Fabio Silva’s first goal on home soil and Willy Boly’s opening strike of the campaign completed the first-half turnaround.
However, Semi Ajayi’s looping header beat Rui Patricio for Albion’s equaliser, before another spot kick, following a foul on Callum Robinson, gave Pereira the opportunity to win the game from 12 yards, which is took gratefully.
In an atmosphere not fitting of the occasion, a derby without supporters, Wolves and West Bromwich Albion entered battle for the first time in nine years, with the hosts keen to prove form counts for little when it comes to local rivalries. However, like against Everton on Tuesday, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side suffered a disastrous start, which made their afternoon more difficult from the off.
After much excitement in the build-up, Wolves started slowly, as Adama Traore lost possession in a dangerous area and Robinson felt the challenge of the returning Boly too firmly. The striker went down, Michael Oliver pointed to the spot and, after a VAR check, Pereira sent Patricio the wrong way from 12 yards out.
Boly, featuring for the first time in seven matches, had already tested David Button in the Albion goal by that point, and the stopper was called into action to deny Traore too, after Leander Dendoncker had lashed another good opening over the bar.
Despite the emptiness of Molineux, both sides were exchanging chances throughout the opening half. Boly was again in the thick of the action, turning Pedro Neto’s cross wide of the near post after a clever dummy by Dendoncker, while Patricio made himself big to keep out Robinson, following a flick on by Kamil Grosicki.
However, in the space of seven crazy minutes before the break, the mood transformed inside Molineux as Wolves flipped the game on its head. When Pedro Neto’s free-kick wasn’t properly cleared by the Baggies and Romain Saiss returned with interest, then came Wolves’ opportunity, as Boly’s clever backheel created space for Silva, who showed supreme composure to set himself and roll beyond Button.
That equaliser sparked home belief and they had the lead before the break. A set piece was once again the source of Albion’s problems, this time courtesy of Joao Mioutinho, as Jake Livermore thrashed at his clearance and Boly took advantage devastatingly, stabbing into the net to mark a rollercoster half for the defender.
Half-time: Wolves 2 West Brom 1
However, as quickly as that lead arrived, it had disappeared after the restart, as the pendulum swung back Albion’s way. When a long throw was flicked on by Kyle Bartley, Ajayi’s flick lacked significant power, but looped out of Patricio’s reach and into the corner.
It was to get worse for the hosts, however. When Grosicki found Robinson, the stirker’s smart turn took him away from Conor Coady, whose clip caused a tumble and another Baggies penalty. Pereira once again stepped up and opted for the opposite way, to Patricio’s left, and enjoyed the same result – 3-2 to the visitors.
Staring down the barrel of defeat, Wolves had to rally, and they got their chances. First, after a fine tackle by Moutinho, Silva carried the ball forward, but dragged his effort wide from the edge of the box. Then, after Neto raced to the byline, his stood-up cross was headed over by Traore.
The best opening fell to Patrick Cutrone, who’d earlier replaced Joao Moutinho, but after fellow substitute Morgan Gibbs-White had nudged the ball goalwards, the Italian lashed his effort first time into the ground and over.
No better chances would follow for Wolves, who suffered another their second defeat in the space of five days and the hunt for a Premier League victory continues.
Full-time: Wolves 2 West Brom 3
Wolves: Patricio, Semedo, Coady (Ait-Nouri 64), Boly, Saiss, Neves (Gibbs-White 60), Dendoncker, Moutinho (Cutrone 79), Traore, Neto, Silva.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Hoever, Vitinha, Shabani, Corbeanu.
West Brom: Button, O’Shea, Bartley, Ajayi, Gibbs, Sawyers, Livermore, Snodgrass, Pereira (Furlong 82), Grosicki (Robson-Kanu 69), Robinson.
Unused subs: Lonergan, Krovinovic, Ivanovic, Edwards, Peltier, Kipre, Field.