Report | Wolves 2-1 Chelsea

Wolves 2 (Lemina 51, Doherty 90+3) Chelsea 1 (Nkunku 90+6)

Wolves served up the perfect Christmas present for their supporters with three points on Christmas Eve, as Mario Lemina and Matt Doherty sank Chelsea at Molineux.

After a quiet opening half, the Old Gold turned up the heat after the break and when Lemina headed in Pablo Sarabia’s corner the lead was richly deserved. Doherty then came off the bench to stroke home the second after good work by Hugo Bueno.

Christopher Nkunku headed home a late consolation for the visitors, but Wolves were good value for their win, starting the busy Christmas period on a good note.

Wolves’ first Christmas Eve fixture in 57 years took a while to get going, with neither side able to show the desired quality during a scrappy opening half. The Old Gold had Jose Sa to thank for being level at the break, with the goalkeeper producing at the key moment of the half.

Sarabia and Raheem Sterling had both passed up opportunities from free-kicks, but it was on 32 minutes when Chelsea should have took the lead. Sa played out from the back to Joao Gomes, who was robbed by Sterling and Chelsea were in, three against Sa, but rather than pass, Sterling went for goal himself and the Wolves goalkeeper denied him.

In a way, that woke Wolves up and the hosts ended the half better. Sarabia had an effort deflected behind, while Hee Chan Hwang wasted the home side’s best chance, getting on the end of Maximilian Kilman’s fine pass, but snatched at the chance and fired over, despite time being on his side.

Half-time | Wolves 0-0 Chelsea

Whatever Gary O’Neil said to his players at the break had the desired effect, as his side started the second half bang up for it. After Levi Colwill gave the ball away in a dangerous area, Joao Gomes had a shot deflected behind, while Toti will have been disappointed to head a cross from the midfielder straight at Djordje Petrovic.

However, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to stop Wolves taking the lead on 51 minutes. From one of many Sarabia corners, Wolves finally got their reward, as Lemina rose highest to nod into the far corner.

That goal livened up Chelsea, however. And they twice could have levelled when Toti cleared an effort from Christopher Nkunku off the line, before bravely Craig Dawson threw himself in the way of Sterling’s effort to keep his side ahead.

Wolves had to recover from losing Dawson to injury, which led to a Molineux debut for Santiago Bueno, and another substitute Tommy Doyle had a stinging drive parried by Petrovic, as Wolves soaked up Chelsea’s pressure and remained a threat on the break.

And as the game entered stoppage time Wolves sealed the deal. Hugo Bueno regained possession on the left, exchanged passes with Hwang and drilled in a cross which Axel Disasi didn’t clear properly and the ball fell inviting for Doherty, who showed composure to roll into the corner.

The final moments – 11 minutes added on – were to be nervy however, as Nkunku was left free inside the Wolves box and nodded home Sterling’s cross. But Wolves did enough to spark scenes of celebration come full-time. Another brilliant Molineux afternoon under O’Neil.

Full-time | Wolves 2-1 Chelsea

Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Dawson (S Bueno 70), Toti, Ait-Nouri (H Bueno 87), Lemina, Gomes, Sarabia (Doyle 75), Hwang, Cunha (Doherty 86).

Unused subs | Bentley, Hesketh, Barnett, Chirewa, Kalajdzic.

Chelsea | Petrovic, Gusto (Badiashile 80), Disasi, Silva, Colwill (Maatsen 79), Ugochukwu (Nkunku 58), Gallagher, Palmer, Sterling, Broja (Mudryk 59), Jackson (Madueke 80).

Unused subs | Bettinelli, Bergstrom, Lavia, Matos.