Report | Wolves 1-4 Brighton

Wolves 1 (Hwang 61) Brighton 4 (Mitoma 15, Estupinan 46, March 51 & 55)

Gary O’Neil’s Molineux bow didn’t go according to plan, as Wolves were well beaten by Brighton & Hove Albion in their home opener to the 2023/24 campaign.

Despite falling behind to Karou Mitoma’s individual goal, Wolves enjoyed the better chances and both Fabio Silva and Rayan Ait-Nouri should have had their side level at the break, however quickly after half-time Pervis Estupinan had the Seagulls in control.

Brighton were comfortable at that point, but blew Wolves out of the park as a Solly March brace ended the contest. Substitute Hee Chan Hwang did at least get Wolves off the mark with a headed consolation, but home frustrations were compounded by Matheus Nunes’ late record on an afternoon to forget.

Buoyed by the positive showing at Old Trafford initially, Molineux gave O’Neil a warm welcome for his home bow and the decibel levels were raised when Silva fired home Mario Lemina’s ball in the opening stages, only for the offside flag to correctly deny him.

However, through Mitoma, Brighton were always going to be a threat and it was the Japan international who opened the scoring. After shrugging off Nelson Semedo, Mitoma was afforded a clean run at the Wolves box after Craig Dawson was pulled out of position and confidently stroked home into the bottom corner for 1-0.

Knocked momentarily by that goal, it took Wolves a while to regroup, but with the contest approaching the half-hour mark, they carved out their best chance yet as Matheus Cunha carried the ball forward and slipped Silva clean through, but the forward attempted to squeeze home at the near post and was denied by the feet of Jason Steele.

Like on Monday night, Cunha was Wolves’ threat and a brilliant outside of the foot ball set Nunes in, but once the Portuguese took the ball on to his right foot, he got his effort all wrong and failed to hit the target.

It was proving a familiar tale for Wolves, who kept carving out the clear chances, but were missing the finishing touch. Ait-Nouri was the next guilty of spurning a big opportunity, lifting over the crossbar when clean through after being sent clear by Silva, summing up another promising half, which featured frustrations in front of goal again.

Half-time | Wolves 0-1 Brighton

Wolves had the better of the chances before the break, but within ten of the restart it was over as a contest. Caught short at the back again, the Old Gold were punished seconds after the restart as Jose Sa parried Danny Welbeck’s shot to Mitoma, who found Esupinan to stroke home the second.

Then, within a flash, the Seagulls had doubled their lead. First, Julio Enciso was clipped over the top and had the freedom of the Wolves half to run in on goal and square for March to fire into the roof of the net. The Albion number seven than had his second soon after as he was hungriest to a low ball into the Wolves box to prod home at the back post.

Wolves did at least get themselves on the scoresheet, however. When Lemina and Cunha both hit the woodwork from close range, it looked like that goal would never arrive, but eventually, from a Pablo Sarabia corner, Hwang was lurking at the back post to head home.

Despite the game being beyond them, the Old Gold kept plugging away and Pedro Neto had a shot deflected wide, before Sarabia fired straight at Steele. Then, deep into the game, Hwang set up Ait-Nouri, who couldn’t sort his feet in the Brighton danger area. A tough afternoon, made worse by Nunes’ late red card for getting involved in late altercation, summing up Molineux’s frustration.

Full-time | Wolves 1-4 Brighton

Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Dawson (Toti 71), Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Lemina, Gomes (Sarabia 57), Nunes, Neto, Cunha, Silva (Hwang 57).

Unused subs | Bentley, Doherty, Traore, Bueno, Kalajdzic, Hodge.

Brighton | Steele, Milner (Veltman 57), Webster, Dunk, Esupinan, Gilmour, Gross (Dahoud 81), March, Enciso (Ferguson 67), Mitoma (Lallana 81), Welbeck (Pedro 57).

Unused subs | Verbruggen, Julio, Adingra, van Hecke.