Report | Wolves 1-1 Aston Villa

Wolves 1 (Hwang 53) Aston Villa 1 (Torres 55)

Hee Chan Hwang earned Wolves a deserved point as a lively second half to the West Midlands derby with Aston Villa saw the points shared, despite the Old Gold finishing with ten men.

After a poor opening half, the second had everything, and the latest barnstorming Pedro Neto run set up Hwang for his sixth goal of the season eight minutes after the restart. However, two minutes later Pau Torres turned home an Aston Vila equaliser to bring things back level.

That’s how it stayed, remarkably, with both sides passing up huge chances to win it. Mario Lemina’s dismissal with eight additional minutes remaining made Molineux a nervy place, and Ollie Watkins struck the post with the last kick, meaning it was honours even at Molineux.

Same again was Gary O’Neil’s approach, following the success against Manchester City, but it was Villa who started the West Midlands clash better at Molineux. Matty Cash tested Jose Sa with a back post volley, while the goalkeeper watched on as John McGinn’s swerving effort from the resulting corner had Wolves hearts in mouths momentarily.

However, the hosts settled down and began to play their football and when Lemina robbed Douglas Luiz on the edge of the box, Hwang set up Rayan Ait-Nouri, who guided a shot narrowly wide.

That was as good as it got on the chances front, however. Neither side were able to enjoy a spell of possession or create a clear-cut chance, with disruptions to the flow of the game aplenty. Hwang did get in in first half stoppage time, but his ball for Matheus Cunha ricocheted away from the striker, as the two sides went in level after an uneventful house.

Half-time | Wolves 0-0 Aston Villa

The second half was only a matter of seconds old when Sa was called into action and he excelled to turn over Watkins’ effort on the stretch, after he’d connected with McGinn’s centre. Then, after a break in play as Hwang was threated, Sa watched Luiz’s header loop over his bar.

In the past two games against Luton Town and Manchester City, it was Neto who kicked Wolves into life with lung-bursting charges down the right and history repeated itself as the wide man showed Torres a clean pair of heels and got to the byline, and his low cross took a nick off Lucas Digne, allowing Hwang to turn home from close range for his sixth goal of the season.

However, that lead was very much short lived. When Watkins clipped in a cross to the back post, Semedo was caught out, allowing Torres to arrive late and steer into the opposite corner and bring the visitors back level almost instantly.  

From there it was anybody’s game and was proving a much better spectacle on the eye. Hwang was at the heart of a lot of Wolves’ good work and he sent Sasa Kalajdzic through down the net, and the Austrian’s low cross was perfectly weighted for Neto, but the in-form Portuguese got his finish wrong, firing over, via his right shin.

Roles were reversed as Wolves went in search of a late winner. Another Neto burst down the right had Villa scampering back and he picked out Kalajdzic in space, but the striker didn’t connect fully and dragged his effort away from goal, however the game turned four minutes into the 12 added on.

With Wolves on the attack, Semedo couldn’t thread Neto down the right, sending Villa on the break and forcing Lemina to halt Nicolo Zaniolo in his tracks, but already booked, the midfielder collected his second yellow card, changing the momentum back in Villa’s favour.

And they almost made that momentum count in the 100th minute as Leon Bailey’s cross found Zaniolo at the back post, but his low effort flashed across goal and wide. If Wolves were nervous then, it only intensified with a minute left as Digne found Konsa in space and the defender fired straight at Sa.

Remarkably, with the game into the 114th minute, referee Rob Jones played on and Wolves were almost punished as Watkins thumped a header against the foot of the post. Villa couldn’t believe it and Wolves were incensed, but the final whistle then blew and Wolves had a point, which was the least they deserved.

Full-time | Wolves 1-1 Aston Villa

Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Dawson, Toti, Ait-Nouri (Doherty 45), Lemina, Gomes (Traore 69), Neto, Hwang (Silva 86), Cunha (Kalajdzic 76).

Unused subs | Bentley, Jonny, S Bueno, Doyle, Sarabia.

Villa | Martinez, Cash (Bailey 82), Carlos, Konsa, Torres, Digne, Kamara (Tielemans 82), McGinn, McGinn, Diaby (Zaniolo 62), Watkins.

Unused subs | Olsen, Traore, Chambers, Lenglet, Duran, Dendoncker.