Fulham 0 Wolves 1 (Traore 90+2)
A stunning Adama Traore strike in stoppage time earned Wolves a dramatic victory at Craven Cottage on Friday evening. With the contest looking destined to end in stalemate, the Spaniard latched onto Fabio Silva’s through ball and lashed home at Alphonse Areola’s near post to claim a crucial first win in six matches for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
Until that point, VAR had taken central stage, after Willian Jose was denied a first goal in Wolves colours following a controversial offside call on Daniel Podence. They were the two moments of quality during an otherwise cagey affair in the capital, but the joy on Wolves faces were evident as Traore bagged his first Premier League goal of the campaign.
Before that, the search for a first Wolves goal for Jose had entered its 12th game on the Thames, but his deft header from Nelson Semedo’s first minute free-kick, which drifted just wide, suggested the end was in sight. That chance was replicated by the visitors too, as Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s guided header from an Antonee Robinson centre had Rui Patricio scrambling, but caused no damage, as it dropped wide.
Midway through the half Wolves suffered a blow when Pedro Neto went down injured. The Portuguese had been struggling from the moment Robinson clattered into the back of him on the right-hand side. Neto attempted to shake off the problem, but succumbed soon after, to be replaced by the returning Joao Moutinho.
With Neto departed, greater emphasis was placed on Traore to create, but the wide man dragged his first effort of the game, with his unfavoured left foot, well wide on 35 minutes. As for the hosts, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s header, which again missed the target, was the best they could muster from a good spell at the end of the opening half.
In fact, they would have been punished, had it not been for the latest controversial VAR call to go against Wolves. This time Podence had made a clever run down the right and clipped in a delicious cross which was met by a thumping header from Jose, who thought he’d ended his drought, but only for VAR to decide Podence was in an offside position in the build-up.
Half-time | Fulham 0-0 Wolves
After the interval, which gave Wolves an opportunity to regain their composure, the tight nature of the contest continued, as Mitrovic headed straight at Patricio. That opportunity came from a free-kick and once Wolves one of their own in dangerous territory, Romain Saiss whipped an effort towards the top corner, but couldn’t keep his strike on target, with Areola flying through the air.
Neither side were regularly calling the opposition goalkeepers into action, with Bobby Decordova-Reid firing wide for the Cottagers and Leander Dendoncker’s header falling on the roof of the net for Nuno’s side.
As the game entered the final five minutes, Joao Moutinho’s header was comfortably caught by Areola between the Fulham sticks, while the stopper made a similarly simple save to keep out Saiss soon after. Those headers appeared to be the final action of the game, but Traore had the final say.
Substitute Silva was the creator, threading a clever pass through to the Spaniard, but nothing will be taken away from Traore, who outpaced his man, looked up and smashed a fierce drive high into the net to spark joyous scenes for those in maroon, as Wolves claimed three massive points.
Full-time | Fulham 0-1 Wolves
Fulham | Areola, Tete, Anderson, Kongolo, Aina, Robinson, Reed (Maja 74), Lemina, Loftus-Cheek (Anguissa 63), Decordova-Reid, Mitrovic.
Unused subs | Fabri, Hector, Ream, Adarabioyo, Cavaleiro, Bryan, Onomah.
Wolves | Patricio, Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri, Dendoncker, Neves, Podence (Gibbs-White 74), Neto (Moutinho 33), Traore, Jose (Silva 78).
Unused subs | Ruddy, Hoever, Richards, Kilman, Otasowie, Vitinha.