Report | Wolves 2-0 Crystal Palace

Wolves 2 (Andersen OG 3, Neves pen 90) Crystal Palace 0

Goals at the opposite ends of the 90 saw Wolves create further breathing space on the Premier League drop zone, earning an important 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

Joachim Andersen’s own goal three minutes into the final midweek fixture of the season set Julen Lopetegui’s side on their way, and after 90 minutes of battling and commitment, the points were wrapped up in injury time when Sam Johnstone took out Pedro Neto in the area and Ruben Neves tucked away the spot kick, securing a third Molineux victory on the spin for the old gold.  

Life at Molineux has been good for Wolves at just the right time of the season and the West Midlands momentum from wins over Chelsea and Brentford were added to just three minutes into the contest. It was from a corner won by Diego Costa where Wolves took the lead, as the Spaniard’s effort from Hugo Bueno’s cross was turned behind by Johnstone.

Neves took corner kick responsibility and his delivery caused confusion inside the Palace box, so much so that Andersen stuck out a knee, after Matheus Cunha had attempted the flick, and the defender diverted the ball off the underside of the crossbar and in, before Craig Dawson forced the ball over the line a second time for complete assurance.

Nelson Semedo’s attacking flurries were plenty in the opening 25 minutes, as Wolves looked for a second. Quickly after the opening goal, the right-back’s cross was inches away from the foot of Cunha, before Bueno recycled a later cross which Hee Chan Hwang connected with but couldn’t find the required power from.

Wolves were on top, but Palace remained a threat and Jose Sa had to watch Eberechi Eze’s shot from distance. As expected at the other end, Costa was making a nuisance of himself, and after he carried the ball into the box, Mario Lemina curled an effort over Johnstone's bar.

His opposite number Sa was just about to produce a stunning save at the other end, however. Luka Milivojevic’s drilled effort fell to Albert Sambi Lokonga, who diverted the ball goalwards from eight yards out but was denied by a fine, reflex save by the Portuguese. The final chance of the half was an old gold one, however, and saw Maximilian Kilman head another Neves corner over the bar.

Half-time | Wolves 1-0 Crystal Palace

The Eagles improved after the break, but while they couldn’t turn possession into chances, Neves had a low shot saved by Johnstone after good work by Costa. The hosts kept knocking on the door and Dawson powered Bueno’s corner over the bar just after the hour mark.

Free-flowing football and clear chances weren’t the theme of the second half, but battling and commitment were, epitomised by the industrial Lemina in the middle and Dawson, who threw himself in the way to deny Jeffrey Schlupp, before Eze hit a dipping effort which was heading for the top corner, only for Sa to brilliantly fly through the air and tip over for a corner.

As the Eagles enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball in the closing stages, Wolves were attempting to feed off counter attacks, but after picking their hosts off, neither substitute Adama, nor Costa could make the decision pass to find the crucial second.

In the closing stages, it was still the visitors asking questions and when Michael Olise swung in a cross, Jean-Philippe Mateta couldn’t keep his header down. It wasn’t to be for the visitors however, and their defeat was put beyond doubt in injury time.

Former West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Johnstone’s touch put him in trouble, and once Neto pounced the goalkeeper had committed to a high and dangerous tackle on the winger. Penalty was the decision and captain Neves stood up to slot into the bottom corner, to the joy of the South Bank. The points were sealed.

Full-time | Wolves 2-0 Crystal Palace

Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Bueno (Toti 79), Lemina, Neves, Nunes (Neto 89), Hwang (Adama 79), Cunha (Gomes 68), Costa (Collins 89).

Unused subs | Bentley, Podence, Sarabia, Moutinho.

Palace | Johnstone, Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen (Ward 46), Richards, Milivojevic (Schlupp 65), Lokonga (Edouard 64), Hughes (Mateta 89), Eze, Olise, Ayew.

Unused subs | Guaita, Tomkins, McArthur, Doucoure, Riedewald.