Wolves began their Molineux campaign for the season with a goalless draw, but will have felt they deserved more for their efforts, despite Jose Sa’s late penalty save to preserve the point against Fulham.
Bruno Lage’s side played some entertaining, attacking football at times, but spurned big chances in each half to make their dominance pay. They were nearly punished when Rayan Ait-Nouri fouled Bobby De Cordova-Reid in the area too, but Sa saved the day by denying Aleksandar Mitrovic from the penalty spot.
The point gets Wolves off the mark for the season, and although it could have been more when Hee Chan Hwang was denied by Marek Rodak and Morgan Gibbs-White turned over at the back post on the stretch, it’s something to build on for the old gold
Back on home soil, but Wolves looked a very different outfit from back in May. Attack was the order of the game, and they started exactly how Bruno Lage has asked them to in pre-season and twice got in behind the Fulham defence, only to be denied by Rodak on both occasions.
In truth, a very late offside flag would have denied Pedro Neto the opening goal regardless, but the way he ran through and forced the issue in the opening minute would have pleased his manager. There was no flag when Hwang did the same thing moments later, but like against Neto, Rodak stood tall to deny the South Korean.
Such was Wolves’ dominance in the opening 20 minutes, the Cottagers seldom ventured forward, but from a rare opening at a set piece, Bobby De Cordova-Reid was left unattended to head towards goal, and Wolves were grateful to have Ruben Neves well-placed to clear before Jose Sa.
However, the chance of the half belonged to the hosts. When Ait-Nouri clipped a ball over the top, it sparked a foot race between Neto and Rodak, and although the goalkeeper got there first, he collided with Tosin Adarabioyo, and the chance was on, but Neto couldn’t get his shot away and when it fell to Daniel Podence, he scuffed into the ground and wide.
Half-time | Wolves 0 Fulham 0
After the interval, the trend continued – Wolves were on top. Ait-Nouri continued to offer plenty in the attacking third, and when he got to the byline and fired across goal, neither Hwang, nor Morgan Gibbs-White could convert, with the latter shooting over on the stretch at the back post.
The debut of Goncalo Guedes was a bid from Lage to inject new life into his team, but in the baking sun, chances were few and far between for both sides as the game wore on. Wolves’ desire for a win appeared greater and the South Bank’s appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears when a ball appeared to strike a hand.
Instead, it was the Cottagers who were given a golden opportunity to take the lead from 12 yards. When De Cordova-Reid got a run at Ait-Nouri, the Wolves youngster stuck in a foot and took down his man. Jon Brooks pointed to the spot and up stepped Mitrovic, but Sa guessed correct to his right and palmed away the spot kick – a big moment.
From there, Wolves went in search for the win, but were repeatedly frustrated by the Cottagers and the referee, and no further opportunities would materialise, as the points were shared.
Full-time | Wolves 0-0 Fulham
Wolves | Sa, Jonny (Semedo 79), Collins, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Dendoncker, Neves, Gibbs-White, Podence, Neto (Traore 79), Hwang (Guedes 57).
Unused subs | Sarkic, Boly, Toti, Ronan, Cundle, Campbell.
Fulham | Rodak, Tete, Adarabioyo, Reed, Kebano (Stansfield 83), Mitrovic, Ream, De Cordova-Reid (Mbabu 90), Pereira (Cairney 86), Palhinha, Robinson.
Unused subs | Leno, Duffy, Chalobah, Muniz, Diop, Francois.