Everton 1 (Richarlison 48) Wolves 0
Despite a positive performance in their final away match of the Premier League season, Wolves fell to defeat against Everton who were buoyed on by Goodison Park supporters for the first time this year.
Although Nuno Espirito Santo’s men dominated much of the first-half, as well as creating opportunities following the break, it was Richarlison’s header from a corner just minutes into the second-half which proved the difference between the two sides.
Having made five changes to the side which fell to defeat at Tottenham Hotspur three days previously, Wolves started brightly in front of more than 6,000 excited fans inside Goodison Park, as Adama Traore and Nelson Semedo used their pace to cause issues for the Everton defence.
It was the hosts who had the first real opportunity of the game with ten minutes gone, as Allan’s cross found the head of Richarlison inside the Wolves penalty area, but the Brazilian’s header was straight at former Toffees’ goalkeeper John Ruddy, who was making his first Wolves start of the 2020/21 Premier League season in place of regular stopper Rui Patricio.
Ruddy’s opposite number Jordan Pickford was brought into action moments later as a Wolves corner was only cleared as far as Morgan Gibbs-White on the edge of the penalty area, and the Academt graduate fired an effort on the volley towards goal, which was palmed behind at full stretch by the England keeper.
Wolves continued to push the Everton defence as they looked for the opening goal, with several crosses and corners being lifted into the hosts’ penalty area but to limited success.
With half an hour on the clock, it was the visitors who had the best of the opportunities, with Fabio Silva’s clever turn and shot in the box was narrowly deflected over the crossbar with Pickford scrambling, while Traore’s powerfully driven effort from the edge of the box also needed a deflection to take it on its way over the bar.
Despite their dominance, Wolves almost found themselves behind just before the half-time whistle, as the gold and black shirts failed to clear a corner, and the ball fell to Richarlison inside the penalty area, but Willy Boly, returning to the side having suffered from the Covid-19 for the past few weeks, was able to make a last-ditch block to send the ball behind.
Half-time: Everton 0 Wolves 0
Having produced a positive opening 45 minutes, Wolves were behind with just two minutes gone in the second-half. A corner whipped into the penalty area by Gylfi Sigurdsson found the head of Richarlison and the Brazilian directed the ball past Ruddy and into the top left corner of the net.
Traore was doing his best to try and get Wolves back into the contest, riding challenges of two Everton players to bare down on goal, but his shot from just inside the box was comfortable for Pickford.
The end-to-end flow of the second-half saw Everton have an opportunity to extend their lead, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin was played in behind Conor Coady, and after wriggling free from the Wolves captain, the striker let fly at goal, but Ruddy was able to make a good block to keep his side in the match.
The Toffees had two chances to double their advantage through Sigurdsson, who firstly hit a driven effort from long-range which flashed just inches past the post, before curling an effort towards the far post, which deflected behind off Maximilian Kilman.
In between Sigurdsson’s efforts, VAR was called on to make a decision after Abdoulaye Doucoure appeared to handle the ball inside the Everton penalty area, but it was adjudged that no clear error was made by referee Andy Madley so the game continued without a spot kick awarded to the visitors.
As they searched for an equaliser, Wolves saw their shape changed by Nuno as the head coach switched to a back four late on, but in spite of the extra attacking bodies on the field, those in old gold came up short, with Everton hanging on to the three points which could prove vital in their push for European football.
Full-time: Everton 1 Wolves 0
Everton: Pickford, Coleman (Davies 82), Keane, Mina, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Doucoure (Holgate 90), Sigurdsson (Gomes 85), Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Unused subs: Olsen, Nkounkou, Delph, Bernard, Iwobi, King.
Wolves: Ruddy, Semedo, Boly (Dendoncker 80), Coady, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Moutinho (Vitinha 80), Gibbs-White (Jose 68), Traore, Silva.
Unused subs: Patricio, Sondergaard, Hoever, Saiss, Marcal.
Referee: Andy Madley