Report | Wolves 1-0 Forest

Wolves 1 (Neves pen 56) Nottingham Forest 0

A second half Ruben Neves penalty earned Wolves all three points over Nottingham Forest following a hard-fought victory at Molineux.

It was a second win of the season for the old gold and a first under interim head coach Steve Davis, who was taking charge of his second game alongside James Collins in the dugout. It wasn’t straightforward, however, as Wolves had goalkeeper Jose Sa to thank after a crucial penalty save from Brennan Johnson 11 minutes from time preserved the points in a tight encounter.

Davis made two changes from the side that were beaten at Chelsea last weekend, with skipper Neves returning from suspension in place of Goncalo Guedes and Rayan Ait-Nouri coming in for Nelson Semedo – Boubacar Traore was fit enough for a spot on the bench after illness ruled him out at Stamford Bridge. Nathan Collins was still unavailable as he served the third and final match of his three-game ban.

The hosts were quick out of the blocks in front of their home faithful for the first time since last month, and conjured up a couple of early openings, primarily through the runs of Matheus Nunes who was a threat from the off.

Inside 10 minutes, Forest defender Scott McKenna headed over the bar from a corner, which was delivered in by former Wolves attacker Morgan Gibbs-White, now in red and white following his summer move to the City Ground.

Adama Traore’s deep cross to the back post was met by Ait-Nouri who made a firm connection with his head but couldn’t quite keep it underneath the crossbar. The same man then found himself in an advanced area of the pitch after driving forward down the left and whistling an attempt just past the post.

Davis’ side were a lick of paint away from taking the lead six minutes before the half-time interval as Traore’s dinked cross into the area was met by the head of Maximilian Kilman who was denied by the inside of the post. The ball bounced agonisingly back into the grateful gloves of Dean Henderson who was back on his line to claim.

Half-time | Wolves 0-0 Nottingham Forest

The turning point came 56 minutes into the game as Wolves were awarded a penalty following a VAR decision, which penalised Harry Toffolo for blocking Traore’s shot with his hand. Patience was required as referee Thomas Bramall was advised to head to the pitchside monitor, before he duly pointed to the spot. Neves took charge of the situation and made no mistake from 12 yards, firing into the bottom left corner despite the best efforts of Henderson who had guessed the right way.

Forest had to respond if they were to take anything from the game, which felt an important one even at this early stage of the season. Gibbs-White fired a free-kick into the South Bank after the visitors were awarded the set-piece in a dangerous position 25 yards from goal.

Those in old gold had to think again if they thought the three points were safe heading into the final exchanges. Once again, VAR took centre stage to award Forest a penalty on 79 minutes after Nunes was judged to have fouled Ryan Yates and the review deemed a second penalty of the game.

In a critical moment of need, Sa rose to the occasion by producing a vital save to his left to prevent Johnson from levelling from the spot, as Molineux rose to their feet to applaud the Portuguese stopper.

However, there was still time for a late twist and after eight minutes of additional time had been indicated, Wolves had to stand firm and remain resolute. Joe Hodge came on for his home debut, replacing Nunes in stoppage time, while there was also a Premier League bow for Hugo Bueno, another rising star to have recently made the step into the first team from Wolves Academy.

There was a long and anxious wait for the full-time whistle with eight minutes seemingly up as one or two more clearances were required, before the game was finally drawn to a close with Wolves holding on for the victory their fighting spirit truly deserved.

Full-time | Wolves 1-0 Nottingham Forest

Wolves | Sa, Ait-Nouri (Bueno 90+2), Neves, Podence, Jonny, Kilman, Toti, Nunes (Hodge 90+2), Moutinho (B. Traore 82), Costa (Hwang 82), A. Traore (Semedo 85).

Unused subs | Sarkic, Mosquera, Guedes, Campbell.

Forest | Henderson, Cook, Williams, Gibbs-White, Toffolo (Surridge 89), Johnson, Kouyate (Mangala 70), Yates, Freuler (Awoniyi 84), Dennis (Lingard 70), McKenna.

Unused subs | Hennessey, Biancone, Worrall, Bade, Boly.

Referee | Thomas Bramall